"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




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves”.....John Muir


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

JANUARY BIRDS

January has been, literally, for the birds but I am grateful for each one; how desolate the winter woods would seem without them...


A tufted titmouse is seen above and below...               

Next is a belted kingfisher that searches a local stream for minnows and crayfish...                             



The rusty chest band indicates that this bird is a female...                                                                      

After a long night of steady rain I found these five turkey gobblers (males) in a field behind our house...                                                                        

The sky was still heavily overcast and not favorable for photography, but one must take the photograph when the opportunity presents itself...                        



Activity was limited to searching for breakfast, preening and drying their feathers...                           


A lot of wing flapping goes into ridding the wings of water...                                                                                     





They also fluff up their feathers and shake the water off...                                                                             

Gobblers have a fleshy protuberance above their bill called a snood. The snood fills up with blood    and is very pronounced when a gobbler is strutting to impress a female. Studies show that longer-snooded turkeys tend to be more dominant. The next images show a longer-snooded gobbler intimidating a gobbler with a smaller snood - really, I am not making this up... 




Having five turkeys in camera range is not a regular occurrence for me; for them all to be gobblers is even more uncommon...


I watched them until they moved out of sight...         


This great blue heron was on the edge of a creek early one morning...                                                    


On a different day, and a different stream, I spotted another heron. This one was obscured by weeds and branches but I found a place where I could get a clear shot by using the vegetation to frame it...          

 Zooming in eliminated most of the distracting limbs...                                                                        


Eastern bluebirds are still plentiful in the thickets...   






Barred owls have excellent camouflage. This image was taken with my lens zoomed back to its shortest focal length and approximates how it appeared to the naked eye...                                                           

Zooming out to 600mm helps a great deal...              


Possibly the same owl, but on a different day, with different lighting conditions...                                    


This male pileated woodpecker hung around for an unusually long time...                                                  




The next image is of a female, giving me hope that there will be a nest to photograph soon...



Next is the male again, with better light...



These large birds also search for food on fallen trees...                                                                          









It is not hard to see why the cartoon character of Woody Woodpecker is believed to have been inspired by a pileated...                                               

 Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.




Friday, December 30, 2022

End of Year Blues


 Watching bluebirds is not a bad way to end the year...


For a long time I thought bluebirds migrated in winter. Gradually, I came to the realization that they just changed their behavior; gathering in flocks rather than the mated pairs I was familiar with...


While watching a hillside for whatever might present itself, I was visited by bluebirds arriving to drink from a small stream and feast on greenbrier berries...








They didn't stay very long but it was fun to see them...


Other visitors included a female cardinal...


The cold water did not discourage her...




In the next image she seemed t be checking out her feet...


Finally she gazed upon her reflection...


A Carolina wren inspected a fallen tree for insects...



A male downy woodpecker did the same on a standing tree...


This flicker was puffed up against the single digit temperatures...



A goldfinch displays beautiful winter plumage...


I saw this house finch enjoying some early buds...


I watched as this red-bellied woodpecker...


Made several trips to bring a kernel of corn to stash under bark...


When I left I came across a buck that had been wounded...


There is no joy in taking photos like these. I was able to make a call to ensure that he was humanely dispatched, and the venison salvaged...


On the way home I spotted this hawk watching for prey in an open field...


Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.