From "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



Monday, July 28, 2014

Birds from Wyoming-Part Two

After learning that good numbers of Dusky Grouse had been seen on Signal Mountain, we made several attempts to locate them before we were successful.  Dusky Grouse were once called Blue Grouse but the rulers of ornithological classification have changed their minds...hence, they are now Dusky, at least for the time being.

Here a male is displaying, trying to attract a female...


 


The object of his desire, of course, is the female of the species.  The one seen here was ignoring the best efforts of the male to attract her attention...


While looking for photographic subjects on Pacific Creek Road we came across this Lazuli Bunting. Similar in some regards to the Indigo Bunting found in the East, but with interesting color variations...




A Great Blue Heron surveys a beaver pond along the Moose-Wilson Road...


Magpies were common sights at picnic areas and traffic turn outs as they searched for food left by visitors...


 
Ravens could be found in the same places, competing with the magpies for leftovers...
 

We found this Tree Swallow resting on a stop sign...


A Downy Woodpecker was busy feeding a chick on the Moose-Wilson Road...




Some exploring in national forest land led us to a Ruffed Grouse and her chicks...




Ruffed Grouse used to be common in this part of Maryland.  I think it has been 20 years since I have seen one here.  No one can offer a conclusive explanation for their disappearance.

Thanks for visiting.  Look for more photos from Wyoming in the coming days.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birds From Wyoming-Part One

Yesterday we returned from a month long trip to Great Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming.  It was an interesting adventure to spend 29 nights in a motor home, and each day in search of wildlife to photograph.  This post will feature a few of the birds that we encountered.

First is a pair of Sandhill Cranes with a single chick.  These birds were about two hundred yards away and did not appear willing to let me get closer...


Next is a Yellow-headed Blackbird.  These are fairly common in the west but rarely seen here in the east...



In the next photo, three Killdeer are having an animated discussion on the edge of a geyser...


I will conclude this post with juvenile Northern Flicker on the verge of fledgling.  It called for food constantly but I never did see the adult arrive to feed it.  Finally it too matters into its own hands, er, I mean tongue...






Finally, it spots an insect crawling almost in range it it's tongue...


With a little more effort, it manages to reach the intended victim...


Thanks for visiting.  I am looking forward to sharing more photos from our trip soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Beaver Family

For several years I have watched a beaver family with interest and enjoyment.  Their industrious nature and interesting family dynamics make them among my favorite subjects.

In the next photos a beaver gnaws the bark from a fallen tree, while another eats small branches gathered from the submerged portion of the tree...

 
 
Beavers don't actually eat the wood of trees. Instead, they eat the cellulose, or inner bark, twigs, leaves, tender young branches, ferns, aquatic roots and crops, including corn and beans.
 
 
 
 
A young beaver follows an adult and learns to bring food to the den...

 
It enjoys a small snack along the way...
 

Beaver families interact through play and cooperative work...

 
This one strikes a pose that reminds me of a statue of a mediating Buddha...
 
 
Next it poses like the "Thinker" by Auguste Rodin...
 
 
If you are lucky enough to be able to observe these interesting animals, take a moment out of your day to connect with one of the most fascinating creatures in the natural world.
 
 

Lilypons and Monocacy National Battlefield

Usually I visit a few areas on a daily basis hoping to find something of interest to photograph.  Two of my favorites are the Lilypons Water Gardens and the Monocacy National Battlefield.

Countless snapping turtles call Lilypons home.  Each Spring they can be seen searching for a spot to lay their eggs...



Osprey's frequently fly overhead, hoping to pluck a fish from one of the ponds...


 
The many bushes and shrubs hold a variety of small birds like this Song Sparrow...
 


 
Not too far from Lilypons is the Monocacy National Battlefield, usually a reliable place to see Whitetail Deer, birds and small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs and sometimes even a coyote...









If one arrives early enough, the chance to see a spider web laden with dew drops is good...



I hope you have a chance to visit one of these local treasures and enjoy them as much as I do.