Welcome to my world!

Backyard Birding in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas:
Surrounded by great birding destinations, our favorite patch is still the backyard (or the front), where we've seen more than 270 species of birds. Sit awhile, and watch the river and yard with us!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Here's Lookin' at You

I'm really fascinated by birds' eyes.  The intense red eye of a Bronzed Cowbird, the pale white eye of a White-eyed Vireo, the black-button eye of a Black-crested Titmouse:  these features are the first I envision when I think of these birds.  

Yes, the eyes have it.  Here are some of my favorites:

A Black-crowned Night Heron hides in the back-yard Live Oak tree.

A Green Heron freezes on her nest, as though thinking she's invisible.

A White Ibis's pale iris accents the bright red face.

But it's not birds alone whose eyes fascinate me.  Just look at the eye of this American Snout butterfly!  Its compound eyes must give it an advantage in finding flowers to feed on. This one is upside-down on a bloom of the fiddlewood beside the front deck. Here's a closeup in case you can't see the eye. 
Now that I think about it, the snout's snout and antennae are every bit as fascinating as that eye!  Not to mention its proboscis.  
I have looked at this photo of the snout butterfly many times since I took it last autumn--but I've always been focused on the eyes and never before noticed the proboscis, or long black feeding tube through which it gets nectar from the flowers.

Which reminds me of one last photograph I want to post:  Look at how this female Golden-fronted Woodpecker gets its nectar from the hummingbird feeder.  What a tongue!  (Click to enlarge the photo if you can't see it.) Though the long tongue is usually used for probing for insects, here it is just as effective at getting nectar. 

My camera  has helped me see so many details,  opening my eyes to nature in ways that not even my binoculars had. 


denapple said...

I love finding things in a photo that I did not see through the viewfinder! It's a bonus to notice these details, and keeps us going back and back and back for more.

KaHolly said...

Bravo! Great post today, Kay. When I was gifted with my camera, I was amazed at how it opened up my eyes!! Your photography is astounding. ~karen

Jules and Ken said...

I'm just catching up on your blog, I'm envious of all the birds in your yard and then having so many build nests. We too, were disappointed when they closed the SPI convention gate to the boardwalk we will just have to buy a winter Texan pass this winter if they still offer it.

Jain said...

The eyes really pop in these photos - neat series!
I'm often delighted to find things in my photos that I never saw in the field. Technology isn't all bad, I'm forced to admit!

Wanda said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a nice comment, Kay. I look forward to exploring yours. I notice my friend Jain is a follower here too!

The Early Birder said...

Super post Kay. We think our eyes are our best asset but surprising what technology can help us to appreciate even more. FAB.

ramblingwoods said...

When I started reading, I was thinking..I love the green heron's eyes the best..and there you had one. I have never gotten that good a macro of a butterfly...amazing.... I love the ingenuity of the woodpecker.. there is always something to see at this time of year.. Love it....Michelle