Category: nature

Photography challenge–Day 24: Squirrels like bird feeders too.

Well the week is half way over, its hump day, and also chore day. One of those chores was filling up all three bird feeders again (I do at times try to do it daily, since the gold finches really like the back feeders and they are usually empty by the early afternoon the next day). So while I was filling one of the feeders, I look down to the other one and what do I see?

Well–guess who I caught eating the seeds?

I see one of the many neighborhood squirrels hanging upside down from the grape arbor trying to eat the last of the sunflower seeds from the feeder. Now these guys have been so crafty, that I’ve actually had to try to tape the clasps for the top down so that they couldn’t open it.

Usually we can have one of the dogs chase the squirrels off, but then they usually just sit in the crab apple tree (or up on the wire) and wait for the dogs to go back into the house.

I’m just glad that the critters (either squirrels or the occasional raccoon and family) didn’t knock it down and try to run off with it. There was one time when I found it a good thirty or so feet away from where it was suppose to be hanging.

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It’s still cold outside….Winter is today’s winner of the photography challenge

Well the little Arctic wind push has dropped the temperatures yet again today. I don’t think the temperatures broke twenty, when our high was suppose to be twenty-one. This morning, the temperature as I was waiting for the bus was a freezing five degrees above zero, with a windchill of five or six below zero. Luckily it was only a five or six minute wait for the bus this morning……… And I’m just noticing the play of the numbers from this morning with five being predominant over six.

The pond is slowly freezing over, and the bubbler is slowly bubbling

I noticed the freezing pond this evening as I was outside filling up all the bird feeders again, with the temperatures it is almost a daily occurrence of having to re-fill the back two feeders (I only refill the feeder on the side every other day or every two days–mainly because it takes a good eight pounds of bird seed, where the other two only take about half a pound to a pound each).

We enjoy watching the birds, so filling the feeders are necessary to be able to view all the different sparrows, finches, the cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, and the mourning doves.  I’m going to try to get some pictures of the birds this winter, but usually when the door opens they fly away and wait in the trees until the feeders are filled and the humans are back indoors.

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Throw back Thursday–Day 11 of Photography Challenge

Well decided that today’s photograph was going to be in the style of the #TBT or throwback Thursday mode. The cold Arctic air has pushed down into the southern plains again, and it was frigid today. It was a little sad that the nicest temperature we had today was the early morning temperatures–it fell steadily throughout the day.

Gulls in Flight

This photo was taken several years ago on vacation with my parents down at South Padre Island, Texas. It was a nice warm day, perfect for being on the beach and watching the waves, birds, and other people. I enjoy going to the beach, mainly because its being out in nature (even though there are numerous other people around you) and it can be calm or it can be quite wavy.

I was actually quite happy with myself when I saw how well this photograph turned out–I clicked it just as the three gulls launched themselves into the air.  You can see the shadow of one of them on the beach and then a little sandpiper slightly up on the beach looking for the small crustaceans that it enjoys eating.

South Padre Island was a cool place to vacation–though I wouldn’t want to go on spring break–the end of July was perfect. Yes it was hot, but there was water to both sides of the small island, therefore you sit on a beach at almost any point on the island.

Double Crested caracara at the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge

We took one afternoon and drove through the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge and saw several double crested caracaras sitting on top of very tall yuccas.

Brown Pelicans flying over the bay

I actually got up early in the mornings to go down to the beach and try to catch the sunrise. This particular morning, I got the surprise of the flock of brown pelicans flying over the bay. No sunrise due to the fog that was rolling through, but it gave a great backdrop to the birds.

Hermit crab on the move

I was fascinated by all the different mulluscs that I was seeing. I even managed to capture a picture of a nautilus, which will probably getting posted at a latter date, in a page dedicated to the trip to South Padre Island.

Heron at sunset

One night we drove to the cove that faced the Texas shore to catch the sunset, and I managed to get this picture of a lone heron fishing on the sand barge.

Goes to show that life is rough for everyone–even if you fly, you can still be prey.

While I felt sorry for this little guy (unless he does yoga), but was also impressed that (s)he’d made it to adulthood having lost a leg (and I’m betting it was to a shark further out in the ocean or wherever he winters).

We took an afternoon to go the Padre Island Birding center to see what type  of birds and other wildlife we could see there. I spotted:

Ibis on the boardwalk at the Padre Island birding center
American alligator looking around in the lagoon at the birding center.

It was cool seeing the alligator–the people behind us missed seeing him by like less than a minute. One second he was up and the next second I had no idea where he went. For all I know he was just laying at the bottom of the lagoon waiting for us to continue walking away so he could pop back up and look around.

Heron at the birding center

There were several herons scattered throughout the area around the birding center.

A flock of birds at the birding center

 

One place that people need to go to is Sea Turtles Inc. which is the sea turtle rehabilitation center that helps to rehabilitate sea turtles and release them back to the ocean. They also keep an eye on all nesting sea turtles to ensure that the nests aren’t destroyed and the baby turtles can hatch and make their way to the ocean. That is one thing I would love to go and see–is the release of the young sea turtles as they race to the ocean.

Sea turtle at the rehabilitation center

I think that there will be another page being created under travels, dedicated to this past trip to South Padre Island. I have other picture of birds, waves, turtles, sunsets, and flowers. It will also be nice to bask in the warm memories during the winter.

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Sunrise–Day 10 of photography challenge

Today was I was waiting for the bus, I noticed the gorgeous sunrise and decided that it would be the picture of the day. It is nice that the days are slowly getting longer, it isn’t totally pitch black when I head to catch the bus to work, and it isn’t getting dark when I head home from work–I can actually enjoy a little bit of the day around my work schedule (even if it is in very brisk temperatures).

Waiting for the bus.

I love both sunsets and sunrises mainly because of the stunning colors that the clouds turn as the sun comes up and goes down. I love the radiant purples, deep pinks, and sharp reds and yellows before it either becomes a blue, cloudy sky for the day or a dark carpet of stars with a few clouds at night.

I’d love to be doing more night photography of the moon–especially full moon, with an occasional cloud passing over it, but that will require a slightly better camera than the one I currently have, and even a little bit better than the camera on the iPhone. I’d also like to maybe be able to capture a good picture of an owl at night, or even bats in flight over an lake during the summer. I’m thinking that these types of photography challenges will be going on a photography bucket list or wish list, that I may start creating to help determine vacation plans for the coming years, and things like that.

 

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Late entry–Day six of the photo challenge

Oops–forgot to post these pictures and movie yesterday. So for the sixth day of the photography challenge, I took some pictures of the frozen aquatic landscape around the house. The temperatures for the past week have been so cold, that really anything that has water, that isn’t moving at a fairly decent clip is frozen (though I’m sure as I’m typing this, its all thawed out).

The frozen Stillwater creek that flows next to the house.

There is a small runoff creek that runs next to the house (and usually is dry majority of the time), but the little bit of rain and other types of condensation have allowed for a small amount of water to pool and flow through the creek. It is just such a mellow flowing creek, that it froze over during the past week.

Still photo of the little bubbler that could

Our little pond had basically frozen over, though the bubbler was still trying to get water out and up, but it looks like it is in a little protective coat with the way that the water would be freezing. It was nice that it didn’t totally freeze over, as this is the main spot that our collie mix goes to get water when she is thirsty.

Below is a video that I took of the bubbler working as hard as it could–hence the name of the video–the bubbler that could (a spin on the little engine that could).

 

The bubbler that could

I know that ice and low temperatures go hand in hand with winter, and that I shouldn’t be surprised if this happens a couple more times this winter and I won’t be if it does. I’m just hoping that there really won’t be any type of snow or ice days–because if you live in the south, you know that most of these states have no idea how to deal with those issues, and I don’t need those types of headaches this year.

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Day three of photo challenge

Day three of the photo challenge, and it is a nature(ish) shot. The weather has been crazy the past week or so in the United States, parts of the lower 48 states are colder than parts of Alaska (and that just isn’t right), and there is snow in Florida and all along the east coast. I’m going to have to remind myself later this year that winter is only a few months out of the year, and large snowstorms on the east coast, usually equals a day off of work.

We have a very small pond in our backyard, that we put in shortly after we bought the house as a mother’s day gift for my mom. I still remember going with her to pick it out at Wal-Mart and then having to take it out of the box because the box was too big for the car. I also remember having to help dig the hole for it as well–and there is nothing worse than digging in Oklahoma red clay.

The bubbler is trying to keep the pond going.

Over the years we tried to have fish in it–but since we live next to a creek, there were numerous animals that saw the goldfish as an easy meal (raccoons and snakes primarily). So now it usually just was water irises and occasionally water lilies. It is also the only place that our bearded collie mix will drink from.

As you can see the bubbler is still going, though it does have a nice ice coat surrounding it. We will have a small warm up window where all the ice will melt, before we get back to the cold snap that is suppose to be pushing through the country again this weekend into next week.

I don’t mind winter, as long as I can bundle up and I really don’t have to be out in the weather too long, and that if there is snow it stays around just long enough for pictures and then disappears (unless its Christmas time, and then it can stay for a few days).

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Nothing says fall like turkeys….

Well it looks like it is that time of the year—the turkeys are back!

Well it looks like there are seven turkey hens this year.

We were going to get the bagels for dinner when I noticed that there were seven turkey hens in the neighbor’s front yard. I only managed to get six of them in the picture though.

You know what this means?

It means that within a few weeks we will probably have the tom back escorting vehicles throughout the neighborhoods.

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