Ridgway, Colorado
May 15
A sometimes artist and photographer, sometimes I write too.  


Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 8, 2009 8:11PM

for some friends, here on OS and elsewhere

Rate: 60 Flag

For Susan

Racket-tailed roller Coracias spatulatus


I've posted images of birds before on OS, with a short explanation of how difficult it is along with some other thoughts. You can find that post here. It received a lot of attention from around the world, to the point where I've found some of the images purloined, without regard to copyright or fair use as some were without attribution. But that's a post for another day.


I've been feeling kind of puny for more than a week, no need to go into the details, but I was to the point of being sick of being the self imposed house bound invalid. Nothing major, just a symptom that indicated that something else was going on. So, last Friday, I ventured out after taking care of some other neglected chores. And I went to the zoo. I've posted before on my mixed feelings about the zoo, and there is another blog in the works about a particular issue that has garnered some national attention, but that will come anon. However, even with those mixed feelings, I can't get past being delighted to see up-close some remarkably beautiful creatures. 


And feathered dinosaurs are just amazing animals. There is a spot in the zoo, over in the children's area where you can go inside a small aviary and get some close ups without having to deal with fence in the photograph issues.


And now without further ado, this post is dedicated to our own Susan Mitchell. She's recently had a loss in her family, and I hope this brightens her day a bit. I know there are many bird lovers here on OS, and you're invited too to enjoy with us these extraordinary little holdovers from the Jurassic. 


These Racket-tailed rollers, denizens of eastern Africa, are dedicated to Susan.












Some other images now follow, mostly taken last Friday.


Golden-breasted starling

Golden-breasted starling Cosmopsaurus regius


bathing v. 2

Brown pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 


Probably a California brown, but could be an Eastern brown. The bright spot next to his eye is sunlight coming obliquely through his cornea. If you click on the image, you should be able to see a larger size—as with some, but not all, of the other images. Susan calls these the official Louisiana State Dinosaur.


Green wood hoopoe

Green wood hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus 


I love his name. He's a sub-Saharan near-passarine tropical. 



He lowers his head when he's about to pounce on his prey.


ok, last one for today

Green-cheeked conure Pyrrhura molinae


little gem 1

Sun conure Aratinga solstitialis solstitialis


little gem 2


You can see the screen in this pic that becomes nicely bokeh in the first pic. The screen is about 18" behind the perch in the first one.


"No. 19" American flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber


For Deven

Guira cuckoo Guira guira 


A non-parasitical cukoo, and one you've seen before in my post to all the birds I've loved…" I referenced above.




This is a favorite of one of my favorites—Tequilaanddonuts—because she loves this guy's punk hair-do.


and finally, a drive-by shooting:


drive by shooting

mockingbird Mimus polyglottos


because I was stuck at a traffic light


My son was sitting next to me, I had to pick him up late from school. He said "What a geek, Dad!" I didn't disagree, and thanked him.


Thanks for visiting, and again, my best to Susan and her family.


Au revoir.


all images copyright © 2009 by barry b. doyle • all rights reserved 




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Love our feathered friends. Beautiful.
Wow bbd, these are wonderful. If I didn't have dumplings on the stove for Dan, I would stay and do a bird meditation.
A dazzling and most beautiful post and change of pace Barry.
Absolutely wonderful.

Just gorgeous and just what I needed right now.
Just wonderful, Barry. Thanks.
Amazing photographs! Thank you for sharing these.
I'm so sorry to hear that Susan has had a loss. I wish her the best.

Thank you, Barry, for allowing all of us to peek at these lovely images. Birds can always brighten a mood.
Awesome Photos. I want to paint some of them, I think I will. What inspiration. I love nature, so much to see. One of the reasons I love the internet. I get to see beauty Like your pictures. Thanks.
Thanks guys for stopping by and leaving comments. It does my heart good. If you have a moment, and an inclination, stop by Susan's blog and deliver a hug.

High Lonesome and voicegal, I know you are bird lovers too...thanks for your words.

Thanks Susanne, I agree the dumplings have priority right now, but contemplate later.

I agree Greg...nice to do a non meta, non controversial post, an oasis for friends.

I'm so delighted Lainey, that this was here for you.

Rob, as always, you make my day when you come to my posts.

Thanks New...glad you emphasized the capital.

It's my pleasure Juli.

I agree Lisa, they have a calming effect.

Dolores, I hope you do paint...and share the results.
Thank you for offering the beauty of these creatures and the beauty of your friendship. Both inspire.
Lea, you exemplify grace and's you who inspires.
Birds can be so show offy. I bet I'm part bird.
exquisite. you have a wonderful eye for beauty. i'm with tequila, the punked out one rocks. but they are all gorgeous in their own ways. thank you for sharing and love to susan. i struggle with houseboundness because of illness and agoraphobia. i post about it so please come on over if y0u're feeling alone with this.

love love love and extreme gratitude for this inspiration of nature.
rated as always
Spectacular photos! I love birds and you capture them so well.

It was very kind of you to post this for Susan. I hope all is well with her, too. She is always watched over by little birds, in the trees, in the skies, and here on OS.
Thanks Theo, I'm ok now, was just getting antsy for a while being stuck in the house.

Scruffus, thanks for your comments. I put you in the tags, but I'd like to put more friends in there who are dedicated bird lovers. Let me know if you think of any, or add some if you like.
This was a highlight of my day. Thanks Barry.
May I use one of these for a haiku post?
Absolutely Elizabeth, I would be honored.

Thanks Roger, glad to have this here for you friend.
Dan and I feed the birds, I guess that counts for something.
Barry, beautiful colors in the birds and wonderful examples of depth of field really enhancing the photos!
Oh I love Sun Conures - they have so much personality

Exquisite photos and very timely for winter - warmth and beauty welcome here. I'm ready for spring.
Thanks Barrry!...........They are such wonderful little creatures.....
thanks to Rupie, I have found some understanding of them......
Hey Barry - was that mockingbird on Mockingbird Lane? hahaha. I'm so hysterical!

Love the flamingo! You keep reminding me of all these places that I haven't been to in forever. I'm making a list!
ha Julie! you crack me up too. No, it was down near the boy scouts headquarters on Harry Hines near where all the 'hos hang out...not that I was looking, I was just trying to avoid the Stemmons parking lot.

e, beautiful haiku, thanks for using the image as an tie in for that.

Thanks John, I love the things you notice, and mostly they are conscious decisions on my part

You're right Cherie, the conures have a lot of personality.

Thanks Gary, yes, we learn so many lessons from still small voices, we just need to listen.
Breathtaking. Breathless. Barry, I had said you were "the best photographer on Open Salon by most accounts." I'd say strike the by most accounts if artsfish weren't here. Hey, I may be a dog, but I'm a dog diplomatique and I don't wanna lose my human friends ;-). And screw the humongous equipment. It's your eye, my friend; or l'oeil, mon frère, as we say in dog diplomatiquese. (Please forgive me, Monsieur, just going with the flow here.)

Btw, I don't know if you've seen fingerlakes' post about a Birthday surprise for Karen Novak. I hope you will dedicate one of your pictures to her come Feb. 10.

More woofs than can fit into one of these comment boxes.

Incredibly vivid. great work.
Barry didn't say anything about me being part bird.
Birds are simply other worldly. You captured their essence in these spectacular photos. Your tribute to Susan is so caring and reflective of your heart. You are not, no way, no how, anything resembling "puny." You are one of the really good guys.
Saffron puppy, your praise is too high, I think, it seems every day we see some photo art on OS that leaves me gobsmacked...I love your thoughts and sentiments, but it leaves me wondering about the other artists here. I would mention a host here, but I would leave someone out and be devastated by that. You're noting Cherie/artfish is a perfect example of exquisite art here.

Thank you so much for your reminder about FLW and Karen. I have something I'm working on.
See? Still no acknowledgment that I must be part bird. It makes one wonder, doesn't it? I think it's because he doesn't want to be touched to do a Freaky Photo Shoot. He's probably all nervous about that. Poor dear.
thanks for your comments Jimmy, I appreciate you stopping by and saying that.

Thanks Cathy...I love your enthusiasm, in your posts, in your comments.

Freaky you are my freebird, my soaring partner, you take me to pure heights.
Now he's just making a pity comment to me. This is so depressing. The bird pictures are pretty - I'll scroll back up and look at them. You should too.

gorgeous. needed. rated.

thank you!
Stunning photos. Thank you so much.
not a pity comment at all Freaky...if you weren't already betrothed to Joan...well, let's just say I have to learn to live with a broken heart. I think I'll put on my Yes album and sniffle through that tune.
gorgeous, vivid, beautiful, fixating.
Freaky has some nerve. After commenting on my post (January 09, 2009 11:59 PM -- the Internet remembers EVERYTHING) "Barry and I are dating secretly. Don't tell Lonnie," now s/he's (what the hell gender is a troll?) upgraded to Sloan, leaving two community members with broken hearts. Zerry might not care about community, but some of us do. SHALL WE BOYCOTT THE WEDDING? We'll take our lead from you, maestro, Lonnie's out in his neural network somewhere.

Triple C, the "Open" in Open Salon means that we can date and mate and cake as many member as we want to. Go back and read the TOS.

22. Personal Messy Relationships

Personal Messy Relationships are encouraged on Open Salon. PMRs promote interesting posts. Salon will make reasonable efforts to provide a network from which you can hook up, repeatedly. Then blog about (use pictures).
Wondrous is right! How lovely, thanks for sharing.
all beautiful- my favorite's the sub-Saharan near-passarine tropical though- I love the blue black feathers with the read feet and bill and the shot you got- pre pounce- is amazing.
Freaky, you are the cleverest. You have provided the crucial bit of empirical evidence to bolster my statistically sampled conclusion: "there are no husbands, wives or even spouses on OS, only partners."

Voilà! STATISTICZ RULZ!! Sorry, Barr, you'll just hafta deal with your broken heart. We community members must abide by the TOS. No boycott.

beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous.
hahaha, oh man, crocus pooch, you are hilarious. I wonder if Freaky will get Thomas to stick that bit in the actual TOS until it's discovered by Kerry.
Barry, these are gorgeous! Many of them I've never seen before. Nature is amazing, creating such vibrant colors and complex patterns. Thank you!

There was a good-size colony of Brown Pelicans at La Jolla Cove, where I used to go between classes at SDSU (no, I'm not kidding--I had a 5 hour gap between classes T/TH!), and every time they flew overhead, I would think "Pterodactyl." They just look so prehistoric!
Christine, I used to ride my bike up the Torrey Pines hill and then down the other side from SDSU to Scripps, passing cars (on the downhill side) I still have dreams of doing that sometimes. And the pelicans have long been a favorite of mine too. I used to surf at Cardiff and Swamis and would love to see the phalanx of browns just inches above the swells gliding effortlessly. Such ease, such beauty. Thanks for your lovely words.
Thanks Stim for stopping by and for those comments.

Sandra, I love when you visit, thanks.

hyblaean, ha! he had his eye on a kid holding some mealworms...

Thanks Natalie
Oh. My. What a gloriously beautiful and colourful vision to end my day with. Hoping it will inspire creative dreams of my own.
Stunning, spectacular! You are truly one of the good men to do this for someone. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Barry...just beautiful.
They're so lovely, thank you!

Inspires me to go the Aviary this weekend.
When I came in last night weary, Ihad a PN from Merwoman who alerted me to birds.
She always seems to know when I need them.
Loved these very much, esp the other-worldly starling. Yeah, zoos but then I enjoy them too.
Especially loved your tribute to Susan and say again that we have the nicest and most sensitive men on OS. The whole tone of this post is loving and healing.
gorgeous. and yet, of all the birds, the mockingbird and the magpie are my favourite. the mockingbird because their crazy songs fill my heart with mirth, and the magpie because i, too, am distracted by shiny things.
You are without a doubt one of the dearest, kindest friends I will ever have. You have also given a remarkable dimension to photography that I had not really felt in my heart before--the image as gift, as tangible as a physical object, and ultimately more satisfying because it touches the heart, the mind, the soul.

I am grateful for that image of the little bird with his exquisite colors, his elegant tail tipped with rackets, soft fluff of down softening his outline. You could forgive him if he seemed to swell with pride--we'd all love to be so beautiful. But he has the sweetest expression. He makes me feel very sweet and soft :)

I thank you and I know my family will appreciate this. I will share it with my aunt when she is not reeling so much from the loss of her son.
Gorgeous bbd!!! I love that Susan calls that pelican the Louisiana State Dinosaur ... how funny!!!
The beauty in your photographs is matched by the goodness of your heart. The language has few superlatives to match them.
Great pics. Very colorful. Another window to the world. Rated.
Susan, first, I'm delighted to be a friend, to be called a friend. Generally, it is one of those wonderful things in our lives, to make the connection. This place is indeed a place for community, notwithstanding all the recent parsing. But specifically, you've invested yourself in our family with only the thin thread of 1s and 0s between us, and we both are better for it.

Next, I think you've captured the roller just perfectly with your words. Without anthropomorphizing too much, and I know that there is some self awareness among some animals, but I think he knows that he's especially beautiful, but has come to terms with it without regard to the prejudice it might engender--hence his lovely countenance. It's probably too much to impute, but I've allowed myself some leeway to think it so.

Last, I'm glad that you and the other friends and visitors here to look at this post have found some calming comfort and peace, in simply contemplating beauty and diversity.

Thank you, dear friend.
Well, I don't know about anyone else, but these sure brightened up MY morning. Louisiana State Dinosaur indeed.

Might I ask for the usual tech data? (Camera, settings, lenses, etc.)
Cynarra, Pamela and Mary, thanks so much for your kind comments and for stopping by.

Lekkers, take pictures and share!

o'stephanie, I know you love birds and you were in my mind when composing this. Note that you're in the tags too.

Me too, FLW, I'm attracted to shiny things, and often don't get things done that need getting done.

1IM, thanks for coming's funny when you think how many attributes that birds share with the dinosaurs long gone, especially the predatory ones.

Thanks Stacey, you're always so very kind and gracious with your words...they mean a lot.

Thanks Bubba!

Boanerges1, yes, I have done exif data on other posts and will work on putting that up too. Thanks for your comments.
And may I add, Deven has excellent taste in birds. A punk cuckoo--that kinda says it all!
Boanerges1, here's the data you requested:

The camera is a Nikon D300, unless noted otherwise

Most of the images in this series, unless otherwise stated, were taken with the estimable AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8G IF-ED lens, one beautiful piece of glass, and one that makes me look better as a photographer than I really am.

Most of the images are 4,300+ pixels on the longer side

From the top:

First roller: 1/500sec, f/4.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

Second roller: 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 125mm

Third roller: 1/250sec, f/3.2, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

Fourth roller: 1/2000sec, f/3.2, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

GB Starling: 1/200sec, f/3.2, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

Pelican: 1/3200sec, f/2.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

First hoopoe: 1/250sec, f/4.5, ISO250, -1/3EV, 135mm

Second hoopoe: 1/1250sec, f/2.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

GC conure: 1/800sec, f/2.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 125mm

First Sun conure: 1/80sec, f/5, ISO100, 0EV, 160mm, Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens, D200 cam body

Second Sun conure: 1/200sec, f/5.3, ISO100, 0EV, 200mm, Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens, D200 cam body

Flamingo: 1/3200sec, f/2.8, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

First cuckoo: 1/320sec, f/3.2, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

Second cuckoo: 1/1250sec, f3.2, ISO250, -1/3EV, 200mm

Mockingbird: 1/3200sec, f/2.0 ISO250, -1/3EV 85mm, Nikkor 85mm AF f/1.4D IF (gorgeous portrait lens)
Terrific pictures. I admire anyone with the talent and patience to take such beautiful pictures of birds. I have tried even with a SLR 35mm camera and a zoom lens. I never get pics this good. I promise I'll come back and read the text instead of rudely just looking at the pictures.
Absolutely gorgeous! And then some!
Thanks for the info. I'm still adjusting from film days, and need all the info I can get.

And glad to meet another Nikon man. I loved my Fs, but the D70s is making a believer out of me....
I absolutely LOVE that second one of the racket tailed roller (in the series of three). Of course, I also absolutely love the rest of the photos, but that one just kind of walked up and smacked me in the face.
I would love to spend a couple of weeks with you and the cameras - there is an awful lot that you could teach me. :-D

Thumbed. Nice shootin', Tex. :-D
Bill, thanks so much. You know you're welcome anytime. It'd be so cool, just the two of us walking around and taking shots. Anytime, bro.
Love these beautiful birds, made more beautiful by your photos. The colors nature has granted these creatures is unreal! (or maybe hyper-real). Thank you for these and hope you're feeling better!
Thanks so much....beautiful!
Wow! And Which zoo? I'm living in Louisiana -- my mother is the birder here. I'll definitely show these to her.
Denese, I'm in Dallas, and this is the local zoo here. I've done a lot of traveling across the country though, on my brides ticket, and will always check out the local zoos, so I have shots from all over too. Thanks, let me know what your mom thinks.

Thanks CB, glad you stopped by

DCV, thanks for your kind words and for your well wishes. Hope all is well with you too.

Thanks for the compliment Sao.

I love it when you come by Lauren, thanks.
Wonderful, close-in shots of sometimes shy creatures. Thanks so much! Happy Birdy Monday!
Thanks for these beauties! You capture their dazzling colors so well. I was particularly taken with the Golden Breasted Starling, who in spite of the bright colors, looks like a formally dressed gentleman.

This was just what I needed today.
"Feathered dinosaurs" -- I love that, and it's so apt. When my husband and I lived in San Francisco, we had a flock of feral parrots that came regularly to our bird feeder. (The flock has since been immortalized in the award-winning film "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," for bird lovers, well worth checking out.) The parrots had such a reptilian quality, and I loved the fact that they'd busted loose from their cages and gone on the lam in the big city.

Gorgeous photos and fun commentary. Thanks for sharing them with us.
So lovely, Barry. Just what I needed in my addled, nervous state today. I fly through Dallas myself on Friday en route to Florida and, as always, the anticipatory anxiety is killing me. Thanks for letting me bathe in the color and glory of these beautiful birds for a few minutes!
Got to love bird shots!! Awesome pictures, thanks for sharing.
bbd, lovely shots, thanks; and also for the exposure info. I had a full F1 outfit for years (plus a Minolta 101 & 201 with all the Rokkor lenses) and finally got tired of lugging all the gear around in a backpack when I could put a 4 MP camera in my pocket for $300.

Now I'm seriously considering going forward/back to a digital SLR. I've looked at the D300 online due to your results, and it seems to be almost the same as the D3. (Sure wish I could use all my Nikkor lenses from the F1...)

Now that you've been shooting high end digital for a while and must have done some comparison shooting/shopping, is the D300 (you got a lotta lenses...) outfit your recommendation? And based upon all the outlets and ratings etc. where would you send me to buy it, if I can mortgage myself enough to pay for it...?

many thanks
Thanks bbd for the color and sunshine on a cloudy winter day here in Ohio. I needed it. Have to go with T&D -- the punk hairdo of the cuckoo is a sight to behold. Great images.
OK, I just delivered dinner to "mom" and utilized her very nice computer (that she only uses to access her credit union accounts) to view your bird pics. She LOVED them, and tells you thank you. She wants to come up to Dallas and go to your zoo!

Thanks for your comments guys, I really appreciate your kind words.

Dyno, I too had a Minolta SRT101, actually still have it and it's going strong from when I got it in 1968 in a Vietnam PX. Rokkor lenses were good glass.

As for what to do now, my D300 is cheaper than what I paid for's available from Amazon for about $1500 body only. The D3 is almost $5000 body only. There's a further, major difference. The D3 and D3x are FX (full frame) digital SLRs. The D300 has a crop factor typical of DX (digital format) cams of 1.5. In other words, the angle of view on a DX cam using a 100mm lens is equivalent to using a 150mm lens of a full frame cam. (btw, the D3x is about $8000 body only).

The thing about Nikon lenses is that it's very likely that you can use your old lenses on modern digital Nikon cameras. Not all, but lots and lots. Not so with old Canon lenses and modern digital bodies. You may not have auto focus, but if you're an old hand with film, manual focusing if fine anyway. Take a look at the charts here to see which lens will work, and at what capacity:

As for lenses, I have quite a few that cost more than my cam body by themselves. Amazon has outfits that include the 18-200mm VR lens, and that's a good walking around lens, but there are compromises. It's not particularly fast (meaning light coming into the cam), but it does a lot of things well. For my money a 50mm 1.8 prime at $120 is one of the best buys you can get, but there are some good values with other lenses too. I prefer to use primes, but I have several professional zooms that clock in at $1500 or more. If I had to settle on two lenses, I'd get that 50mm, and the 100mm 2.8 macro. Then work up from there with a longer piece of glass first, then something wider.

If you want a FX body, look at the D700, it's a mid step between the D300 and the D3. I think the D300 will last you a long time, and is a good value right now.

You're in CO, so I would suggest that you get your stuff from for a couple of reasons. They sell Nikon US products, which is important if you get the stuff that is sold by Amazon, and not one of their affiliates. You might get stuck with a gray market lens or body, and those have only a 1 year warranty in the US, the Nikon US stuff Amazon sells have a 5 year warranty. Also, Amazon is very, very good about doing returns if there is a problem. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled my hair out by getting a problem product from Adorama or one of the other NYC warehouses, though others have had better luck. They're also more likely to sell gray market lenses and bodies. Additionally, since your in CO, you'll save paying sales tax to amazon and they have minimal reasonable shipping costs.

hope this helps. and, as always, ymmv.

Wonderfully informative response, Barry thank you so much!
sorry, I got something backwards:

I said: "The D300 has a crop factor typical of DX (digital format) cams of 1.5. In other words, the angle of view on a DX cam using a 100mm lens is equivalent to using a 150mm lens of a full frame cam."

Actually, that should be reversed. If I use a 150mm lens on a DX body, it's like using a 100mm lens on an FX.
another note: with respect to the difference between primes (fixed focal lengths) and zooms—with primes you compose and frame with your feet, with zooms you compose and frame with your hands.

It surprises some people to discover, or rediscover that.
Or you could use a pin hole camera and paper towel tube like I do.
Love the shots!!
Hope you feel better soon.
These are absolutely gorgeous - both the birds and your photography of them. I'm stunned. Thank you sharing them!
Oh my! You have a gift for this.
I never get tired of your photographs. They inspire me. You inspire me.