We had tentative plans to go to Colorado and Utah this month to visit Arches National Park but that trip was put on hold due to coronavirus concerns. Arches was closed to the public due to the public health crisis in late March.

It has been a quiet month here in Pennsylvania and it will probably be a pretty quiet summer as well since we do not expect to be traveling much. The cheap flights are tempting but at the moment it seems too hard to predict when things will be open and safe. We have been taking walks around the neighborhood as well enjoying the world from our front porch instead.

The spring flowers were a welcome change of pace as we emerged and explored. The tulips were beautiful and a sign that winter was on its way out. We managed to escape this year with only minimal snow – I can only think of a few times when I put down salt and only one minor snowfall required shoveling. Since we acquired a snowblower last year, that was to be expected.

One of our local national wildlife refuges (John Heinz NWR) has closed the parking lot and building but the trails are open so we will probably be venturing there soon again as it looks like Philadelphia is going to begin a phased reopening shortly.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of birds that we took in our front yard and around town:

We have been keeping the bird feeder and suet holder in our front yard stocked. I have been trying to practice my birds in flight photos but I have not managed to take a great photo yet. I am sure it will come with time. I did manage to capture this bird when it landed on the suet feeder.

This bird landed on the fence in our front yard while trying to plan its next move. It decided not to go to the feeder since we were on the front porch and instead flew off shortly after.

We just bought a bird feeder for our backyard as well. It took a few days to get here due to coronavirus shipping delays and has been quiet since we set it up – the birds have not found it.

This is an American robin that we saw while on a walk a few blocks from our house. As I grew up in Michigan and it is the state bird, their appearance is always a welcome sign that spring is here.

The above starling was also seen on a walk. Jayne loves the iridescent plumage of starlings and grackles.

After months of research and internal debate over what camera to buy, I have settled on a used Nikon D800 camera. The D800 was released in 2012 and has been replaced in the Nikon lineup with newer models since then. Nevertheless, the 36 MP sensor will be great for travel photography at the national parks and I have seen photos online of some magnificent wildlife photos that have been taken with this camera model. So I am excited.

Our camera for the past few years has been a Canon SX60, which is in a class of cameras frequently referred to as either a bridge camera or superzoom camera. It was bought several years ago during a black friday deal, and we have taken some amazing photos with it over the past few years. We have passed it back and forth in parks around the country but it is time for us to stop sharing and each have a camera around our neck. I am sure I will miss the amazing telephoto lens on the SX60 while I am using the D800.

I will post more about the Nikon D800 soon once I have had more time to explore it. We just got it and I was only able to start taking pictures with it last night.

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