Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birding is Fun! welcomes Ricky L Jones!

My name is Ricky L Jones, I'm a photographer in the SE part of Wisconsin. I've been a photographer on and off since the early 1980's. I've done all sorts of photography, from weddings, to portrait work, to architecture. I feel like I've tried it all. I've always had a love for being outdoors in nature, ever since I was a Boy Scout back in the 1970's. I started birding roughly seven years ago. I wanted to find a way to be outdoors, and also to be challenged as a photographer.

A few years later my wife and I joined Hoy the local branch of the Audubon Society. There I found other birders who also enjoy photographing birds. We go out on a regular basis to different sites, and learn how to identify different birds in SE Wisconsin where we live.

Before I go any further I want to thank my wife Becky; without her patience and her understanding why I just spent $1,000 on one lens, I wouldn't be here today. As all of us bird photographers know, they always need the support of the family for understanding our passion.  I also want to thank the BirdingIsFun.com team for allowing me into this small but growing group of passionate bird photographers contributing here. I hope I don't disappoint. 

A little bit about the sites where I do some of my bird photography. The big one here in Wisconsin is the world renowned Horicon Marsh. 32,000 acres of National and State Wildlife Refuge, just begging to be photographed.

Over 300 species of all sorts of birds have been sighted here. From American White Pelicans to Great Horned Owls, from Eurasian Tree Sparrows to Bald Eagles, it's just one of the most amazing places to go visit and take photos.

Another one of my favorite sites is Richard Bong State Recreation Area. This site has some historical significance. "Bong" used to be a 12,500 foot runway, originally designed to train pilots during the Cold War, but it was abandoned before it was completed in the late 1950's. In 1963, it became a 4,515 acre state recreation area. Bong is one of the largest open undeveloped areas left in SW Wisconsin. Camping, biking, rocket launching, are all here at this park, but I like it for the birding.

There are also about 300 bird species that may pass through Bong throughout the year. I especially enjoy it here, because it's close to home and doesn't take a very long drive to go there. Bong right now is in the middle of a bit of a "recreation vs. ecology" issue. There are some of us at Hoy Audubon Society that think that the birds are suffering from too much "recreation" and being harassed by some of those recreating there. Bong's naturalist is working with us on this issue. I'm sure I will speak more about this as more information comes out.

One of our favorite "Winter spots" that we can go to photograph one of my favorite birds, the Bald Eagle, is Sauk City & Prairie du Sac, on the Wisconsin River. Each year, they have a Bald Eagle Watching Days festival. A two day festival all about Bald Eagles - How can you beat that, huh?!  If you're interested in going, click on the link above, and dress warm, because this is Wisconsin! They have live bird shows, exhibits, items for sale, tours and kids activities.

The best part is that they have eagles!!! Lots of eagles come down from Canada to this part of Wisconsin to find food. Sauk Prairie appears to be a perfect location for them. My wife and I counted as many as 20 eagles in one location! The Ferry Bluff Eagle Council will put on this festival on Jan 18th & 19th in 2013. Check it out!

The last place I want to talk about is in NE Wisconsin. The Green Bay/Door County area is home of the Green Bay Packers, but also an amazing amount of birding and birding activities. Green Bay has a amazing wildlife area called the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.  Bay Beach is a 700 acre "urban" wildlife refuge. 
Bay Beach has the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin, taking care of more than 4,500 injured and orphaned animals each year. First founded in 1936 as a site for waterfowl, now it's a great place for families to go to get closer to nature. They also have deer, wolves, and other small mammals, trails and events. If you're in the Green Bay area you need to stop in and check it out. 

While you're there, also head a bit farther north to Peninsula State Park. This state park is on the shoreline of Door County, and is the third largest of the state parks in Wisconsin at 3,776 acre. It has 468 campsites, 3 group camps and an 18 hole golf course, but again the birding is amazing. There is a 150 ft bluff that is an excellent spot for birds, especially eagles and hawks! There is a 76 ft tall observation tower on top of a 180 ft tall bluff! It's great! And what would a nice high bluff be without a lighthouse? The Eagle Bluff Lighthouse overlooks the 150 ft bluff! There are 20 miles of hiking trails for your birding enjoyment. 

Well, that's all for this month, I hope to have a lot more bird photography in the coming months!  If you want to see more of my work you can checkout my blog at  Ricky's Photography Blog and my Flickr, or you can find me on Google Plus and on Facebook.

27 comments:

  1. enjoyed your post Ricky and my favourite image is of the snowy owl; so very beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much I hope you enjoy Birding is Fun!

      Delete
  2. Estuopendas imagenes, un saludo desde Murcia...

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Right on Ricky!
    Sweet shots and a lovely, thorough narrative. I'm really looking forward to seeing all the great avifauna you'll be photographing in Wisconsin. These sites all sounds magnificent and your shots posted here confirm it!
    Welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Laurence, I really appreciate the comments!

      Delete
  5. Great shots! I especially love that Bald Eagle shot. Can't wait for them to get here to Iowa!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Moe!
      Birding really is fun! :)

      Delete
  6. Thank you Ricky, very informative. You sure have an abundance of good places to go birding. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Appreciate the comments Terry, for a Midwest state, Wisconsin really does have some great birding locations. I only named a few but there are dozens more. :)

      Ricky

      Delete
  7. Welcome to the team Ricky and congratulations on your first post! Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Robert, I really appreciate the chance to post here, thank you for that chance!

      Delete
  8. RICKY, THANKS FOR SHARING. I LOVED THE PICTURES BUT I LOVED THE WHITE OWL. I'D LOVED TO SEE ONE IN REAL LIFE. IF I WERE YOUNGER I THINK I'D GET INTO BIRD WATCHING FOR A HOBBY. I HAVE A BIRDBATH IN MY BACKYARD THAT I CAN WATCH THE BIRDS FROM MY LAZYBOY CHAIR. THE SAME BIRDS SHOW UP EVERYDAY.I WISH NEW ONES WOULD STOP BY. I SHOULD START FEEDING THEM BUT SS CHECK KEEPS GETTING SMALLER AND SMALLER. FLORIDA HAS SO MANY PRETTY BIRDS. GRANNY

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for the comments, one of my favorite things is Backyard birding, I will talk more about that in the future. I even run a #BackyardbirdingMonday theme on Google Plus. I love sitting in my chair looking out the back window of all the birds that come to my feeders.
    You hang in there, and keep enjoying them birds!

    Ricky

    ReplyDelete
  10. Trying again so I'm not just a number....

    Nice article! LOVE your pics! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Becky J, Wisconsin is a beautiful state, you would love it here. :)

      Ricky

      Delete
    2. I'm absolutely certain I would. ;-)

      Delete
  11. As a former 'Sconnie, I really enjoyed your post, Ricky. Looking forward to more!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved your post and your photographs. My kind of images. On an aside, Richard (Dick) Bong is the is the highest scoring ace in history. He shot down 40 Japanese aircraft in World War II.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great to see you here on Birding is Fun!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Welcome and great photos. Bird photography is my passion too!
    Lillian Stokes

    ReplyDelete
  15. Welcome to the Bestest Birderific BirdingIsFun team Ricky! Wonderful first post and i look forward to seeing many more from you!

    ReplyDelete