"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold

"THE TABLES TURNED"

"COME FORTH INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS. LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER"....William Wordsworth


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Red-headed Woodpecker at Gettysburg Military Park

Red-headed woodpeckers have eluded me for years.  In late November I saw a pair in the campground at Cunningham Falls State Park, but the lighting was dismal and my photos equally so.

Recently I learned that a respectable number lived in Gettysburg Military Park.  We made the drive and began our search on Confederate Avenue.  Driving slowly, and viewing each forested area as we went along, we located three different adult birds.  It was satisfying to finally obtain photos of this beautiful species...





If you are a local reader and know about a population of these woodpeckers in Frederick County I would like to hear from you.
 
Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.



Friday, March 27, 2015

Aggressive Canada Goose Gander

Male geese, called "ganders" are very possessive of their mates at this time of year.  They are equipped with formidable beaks that can inflict painful bites...


When protecting their mates from other males they pursue their adversaries relentlessly until they move far enough away, or take flight, as this series of photos demonstrates...






 
 
 
If you are approached by a goose in an aggressive posture it is better to give way than to suffer the consequences of standing your ground.

Thanks for visiting, be well and come back soon.




Culler Lake Black Crowned Night Herons and Horned Grebe

After seeing reports of a horned grebe at Culler Lake in Frederick I began stopping by hoping to obtain a photograph of this migrating visitor...


 
The next photo is of a horned grebe taken last year...



For a number of years black crowned night herons have been using Culler Lake as a nesting area.  Nearby Carroll Creek is stocked with rainbow trout that provide easy pickings for the hungry birds...


 
Black crowned night herons build very flimsy nests, like the one shown in the next photo from 2014.  It is not uncommon to find eggs on the ground that have fallen through the holes in the nests constructed largely of twigs...
 
 
One can always count on finding mallard ducks at the lake.  So many people feed them everyday they have no reason to leave...
 
 
No matter where you live there may be opportunities to view and photograph wildlife.  You just have to seek them out.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sarahs View From Death Valley

Our daughter, Sarah, recently spent some time hiking and camping in Death Valley.  I am not familiar with the geography of the area but the places that she mentioned visiting included the sand dunes and Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. The Natural Bridge hike.  Darwin Falls,  Mosaic Canyon and a slot canyon. The following photos are from her visit...


















 
I hope you enjoyed Sarah's view of Death Valley and agree with me that
she has a great eye for photography.




Short Eared Owls From The Freedom Township Grasslands

As recently as this week at least six short eared owls were still present at the Freedom Township grasslands in nearby Pennsylvania.  All of the photos in this post were taken from my truck...


After seven visits to the area I was hoping to get a photograph that was a little different.  Capturing an owl carrying a vole in its talons was as close a I came...




In the next photo a northern harrier has just taken a vole from the short eared owl...


Sometimes the owls remain on the ground and devour their prey...


They must constantly be watching for other raptors wanting their prize...



The owls are most visible during the 60 - 90 minutes preceding sundown.  Remember to respect the landowners property and don't create ruts in the fields.  The ground is very soft due to recent rain and snow melt and there have been reports of police making visitors leave who park on private property or obstruct traffic.  I was there earlier this week and had no problems with slowly driving around the field, stopping only long enough take a photo and moving on.

After eating, this owl flew to a fence post to rest for a moment...



When we were leaving it had resumed the search for rodents...


Thanks for visiting and allowing me to share these
visitors from the North.





Pileated Woodpecker By The Potomac River

I was visiting the boat launch site off Lander Road recently hoping to find a woodcock to photograph.  Instead, I found this pileated woodpecker.  While not the subject of my search, at least it was cooperative...



All photos taken handheld from my vehicle with Tamron 150-600mm lens...


 
Thanks for visiting, stay well and come back soon.