Tag: afternoonwalk

Photography Challenge Day 201 (a few days late, and slightly short): The cottonwood borer

So I realized that I’m a few days behind on the photography challenge–there were internet connection issues on Thursday, and last night I was just too tired to log in and try to do a double post. Therefore I’m going to post Thursday’s winner today, and then I’ll do a couple of double posts over the next few days to play catch up yet again.

The winner of Thursday’s photography challenge is the cottonwood borer. I realized that it was a beetle that probably fed off of trees, and with a good guess, managed to figure out which “beetle pest” I was looking at.

Cottonwood borer crawling on grass.

What I find interesting—it wasn’t around any trees. It was crawling on the tall grass along the bank of Boomer Lake. I’m assuming it was trying to make its way to the closest cottonwood, poplar, or willow tree it could find.

Side view of the cottonwood borer climbing on the grass.

It is one of the largest insects in North America, and is found in the United States (east of the Rocky Mountains).

Look at those antennae

These are pests—though the larvae do the most damage when they hatch, by ingesting the inner portion of the tree, turning it into sawdust and pulp. I’ve seen numerous paths on cottonwood trees that we’ve taken down and the outer bark was removed, that the larvae took throughout the tree. Depending on how close the larvae hatch to the roots, they can also damage the root systems, killing the trees from the bottom as well as from the inside.

No Comments insectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 185: Back on track, and a soft-shelled turtle

Well, it’s time to try to get back into a picture sharing mood. The weather is slowly starting to cool, so that means hopefully I will be able to do a walk on the weekends (hopefully both mornings). I may also try to do some architecture/building photography as well this fall/winter (something to switch things up a little).

I realized this weekend, I do enjoy photography—it is both calming, and exciting (as one doesn’t know what type of wildlife they’ll be seeing on a walk). As much as I would love to walk in the woods—the ones closest to the house are on private property, and it is still tick season—so currently it’s a no go (but there is always trips in the future to different parks).

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the soft-shelled turtle. The shells of these turtles are mostly leathery and semi-pliable and this allows them to move quicker than other turtles. I had managed to get a couple of pictures of the soft-shelled turtle earlier this summer, but none of them got all the characteristics of the turtle in one shot—the pointed nose, the smooth shell, and the webbed feet.

Soft-shelled turtle sunning itself at Boomer Lake

I have no idea of this is a male or female soft-shelled turtle, because when I moved slightly closer to get another picture it slid off the log and into the water. Though since it does look like a large turtle—it could very well be a female, as that is one of the main ways of differentiating between the sexes—the female is larger than the male.

As we start heading into the fall and winter months, the turtles are going to be going dormant until late winter/early spring, but hopefully I will still be able to get a few more pictures of various turtles at the lake sunning themselves. I would still like to get a picture of some of the larger red-eared sliders that I know are living up around the lake.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilesTurtles

Photography Challenge Day 145: White and Purple wildflowers

So I’m doing a dual flashback Friday post for the color/flower challenge. These flowers were some of the wildflowers that bloomed earlier this year up at Boomer Lake. I managed to spot both of these white and purple flowers, and I’m pretty certain they’re from the same family (if not the same flower species–just different color genes were activated during germination).

White Carolina anemone

So this plant goes by two different names, and depending on what name you call it—it can change it’s scientific name.

One name is the Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana), and that places it within the genus Anemone and the family Ranunculacae. It is also native to the central and south eastern parts of the United States.

Purple Carolina anemone

The plants flower in early to mid spring, with coloring of white, soft rose, and occasionally purple flowers, with one flower per stem.

The other name that they can go by is windflower. Now windflowers can refer to anemones in general (so that is fine)—but the main anemone that goes by that common name is Anemone nemorosa (or the wood anemone), and it found mainly in Europe.

So if one is referring to them as windflowers—we also need to add in the other common name of Carolina anemone.

I’ve always loved anemones, as they’re some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring time. We have some of the smaller purple anemones planted in the front yard, but they’re slowly dying off (since it’s been about twenty years since I originally planted the seeds). I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to get some more seeds and start a new batch of anemones in the front yards.

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 113: Following the leader, and other odd notes

So I did a mini walk up at Boomer Lake yesterday after the storms moved through the area. That meant that the humidity and temperatures were climbing, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and hardly a breeze.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that there seems to be some large carnivore (fox or coyote) that is stalking the geese and ducks at Boomer Lake. The reason why I think this is that there are a lot of feathers laying around that should probably be on a bird (namely a goose), but aren’t.

An one-legged mallard.

So I’m wondering what type of shape the other animal is in–I’m assuming other ducks, and possibly geese came to the aid of this mallard (which is why it’s only missing a leg and isn’t dead).

Following the leader, the leader….

So I’d noticed that while there are a decent number of both goslings and ducklings—there isn’t an overabundance of them (especially goslings). But I have noticed that the geese (and ducks) without young have been gathering together during the days now.

A rather large grouping of Canada Geese

I’d say that I would try to get to the lake at night to get a glimpse or a photograph of the carnivore–but that isn’t going to happen. For one thing–I have no idea of the type of carnivore (and I don’t want to possibly be facing a coyote), and the other reason–I have no idea of the time (and I’m not going to be camping out at the lake trying to get a glimpse of it). So I’ll just have to make do with knowing that something is going through, and maybe catch a glimpse in the early morning (if I get back up there to get some sunrise pictures).

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 107: The growing goslings and ducklings at the lake.

I’m going to more or less let the pictures speak for themselves today.

Young mallards with their parents

So the ducklings aren’t usually as visible during my walks as the young goslings are–probably because there aren’t nearly as many mallards as Canada geese at the lake. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this group swimming around the other morning.

Canada goose stands guard as the goslings bask in the morning sun.

This was about as close as I was willing to get to goslings (and parents) the other morning. I was able to walk down to the edge of the lake to see if turtles were out–but I wasn’t able to actually walk on the sidewalk. The geese had taken it over.

Another parent and young out swimming on the lake.

Well I know that these are ducklings and a parent. The only thing I’m not sure of is the exact species of duck. But it looked to have a good start at raising a good number of ducklings.

Goslings and parent grazing in the grass

It will be interesting to see how many more broods the geese and ducks have since it seems that they started a little early this year.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 100: More Boomer Lake reptiles.

Since it’s been super wet, and I’ve been doing late morning/early afternoon walks lately I haven’t been seeing as many birds. Though the low bird sighting is also due to me not walking around the upper parts of the park (where there are more trees). Therefore I’ve been trying to see if I can spot more turtles, potentially more snakes, and then other wildlife as well.

Sliders found a new sunning spot and some company.

So I noticed on my walks that since the water levels are still elevated, some of the trees and logs have been submerged, while others have been brought to the top of the lake.

This log is usually a little more submerged, but due to the rains it was brought closer to the shore and the turtles have decided to take advantage of it. Then I noticed that they had company on the other end of the log.

Nice size water snake sunning itself on the other end of the dead tree.

When I looked towards the other end of the tree, I noticed the nice size water snake sunning itself. I did try to get a closer picture, but it slid off the log and swam into the submerged bushes at the shore line.

As I’ve told a couple of people, as long as the snake doesn’t rattle (and if it does–I back away very quickly), or have a white inner mouth (luckily I’ve never seen a water moccasin up close before), and I notice it’s there–I’m fine with snakes.

I know that when they startle me, I’ve startled it–and it is actually more scared of me than I am of it. I’m trying to work on small little phobias like this–I doubt I’ll have one as a pet, but at least I can see one and not freak out. I can almost say the same for spiders–but I do freak a little when I see a poisonous one in the house.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilesScience

Photography Challenge Day 99: Boomer Lake is still a little high

So today’s photographs are actually some comparison photos of the same area (before we got basically a foot of rain in a week; and then a more recent photo).

Turtles sunning themselves on an semi-submerged tree stump

So there is a semi-submerged tree stump that is floating in the one cove that turtles have been flocking to this year for sunning themselves. Usually there are a good half a dozen adult turtles sharing the space.

Same log–but quite a bit more is currently underwater.

So the lake is still up quite a bit as one can tell from the pictures. There is only enough dry space for two or three turtles (and one of them actually climbed up to the V), instead of the usual six to nine turtles.

There is a turtle in the V.

The V only has room for one adult turtle, and this one managed to grab the spot first.

This has actually been a very wet month for us–we’ve gotten a little over 19 inches total (but almost 2/3 in the past week). So it will probably be another week or so before the log is back to it’s normal level in the lake and more than two or three turtles can fit on it.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptiles

Photography Challenge Day 98: The western kingbird

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the Western Kingbird.

Western Kingbird sitting in a tree…

The Western kingbird, is slightly smaller than the American Robin in size. The coloring of the Western Kingbird is a combination of gray (on the head and back), yellow (belly), white (chest and throat), and black (tail).

You can see the nice yellow belly of the kingbird.

They feed on a wide range of insects including bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, flies, and even spiders (to name a few of their culinary choices). Depending on where they are, they may even supplement their diets with fruits such as elderberries, mulberries, and other small fruits.

It’s looking over its shoulder at something.

They winter in southern Mexico and Central America, migrate through Mexico, and spend the late spring through early fall in the western parts of the United States (including Oklahoma).

Kingbird on the wire….

When it comes to nesting and raising the young—the female will build the nest, but both parents will defend the nest and the tree it is located in (which consists of their main territory by the middle of breeding season). The female will incubate the eggs (usually 2-7) for not quite three weeks, and then both parents handle the feeding of the young. The young are usually able to leave the nest about two weeks after hatching. The biggest threat for kingbirds in terms of nestlings reaching maturity is predation—and this includes other animals such as snakes, squirrels, wordiest, and other birds that are able to get into the nest and kill (and eat) the young.

Now it’s looking over it’s other shoulder….

I would love to be able to get some pictures of fledgling kingbirds this summer—but I don’t wander the park enough to even begin to guess where they could have their nests. I’m also not in the mood to possibly irritate a couple of birds that have no problem dive bombing larger birds to scare them off. I’ll just have to keep searching the sky to see if maybe I can spot one sitting on a branch somewhere later this summer.

References:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Kingbird/lifehistory
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/western-kingbird

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 92: The backside of a rodent

Well, today’s post is going to be slightly on the short side–only because it is difficult to try to determine what type of mouse (or possibly rat) I saw from the back end.

I think I spotted a mouse…..

So while I was on my walk yesterday, I heard something rustling in the grass off to the side. I decided that I would wait and peek through the grass to see if I could spot anything.

I managed to get the back end of a smallish rodent. I’m going to say some type of large mouse, as I’m not sure if rats have the brownish streaks to them that I saw. I know that there are field mice up at Boomer Lake–I’ve seen them, but the problem has always been that means they’ve seen me and run into the brush before I can get a picture of them.

So this is another mini-goal added to my summer photography plans: try to get a good picture of some of the rodents that call Boomer Lake home.

No Comments naturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 91: Random butterflies and moths

So today’s photographs are of some of the butterflies and moths that I was able to get today on my walk at Boomer Lake.

Well, you can tell it’s a butterfly……

So the first one I think is the state butterfly of Oklahoma: the black swallowtail butterfly. I think it is almost ironic, that both the state bird and state butterfly are only found in the state during a certain number of months. They’re both migratory species, that spend the spring through fall months in state.

I would have loved to get a closer picture–but it was flying through the trees and bushes a little too fast–and since it had just rained I didn’t want to be trudging through mud either. So hopefully sometime this summer I can get a good picture of one.

Yellow and black moth on the honeysuckle

Then as I was looking around to see if any of the rabbits were out and about, I noticed this little guy on the honeysuckle. I know its coloring–it was yellow and black, but I wasn’t able to get a closer picture (and by the time I pulled out my phone it flew off). It’s funny that when you google “yellow and black moths in Oklahoma”–over eighty percent of the pictures you get back are of butterflies. So it may take me all summer to try and figure out what species of moth this is.

Little blue butterfly

Then I saw this little light blue butterfly on the other side of the lake. This was about as close as I could get in terms of taking a picture and it having its wings open. I do know that it was a light blue in color, and there might have been a little black as well. I may actually spend a little longer time at the lake one day just trying to get some good butterfly and moth pictures.

No Comments butterfliesnaturePhotography