So the winner of the next double photography challenge is the green heron. This one (or these two) haven’t started their migration south yet, though they should be heading off within the next couple of weeks. Green herons migrate south anywhere from the end of August through October.
Well–we’re a little over halfway through September, so there is basically now six weeks until Halloween. I’m hoping to possibly get a few more pictures of them this fall before they head south, since I never seem to be able to get good pictures of them in the springtime.
I managed to see them both mornings that I walked at Boomer Lake, though I saw them on opposite sides of the lake. On Saturday, I startled this one, and it flew past me to head into the little cove. Due to the fog, I lost sight of it once I turned around to follow it.
These guys blend right in with the dreary landscape, and if it had sat still and ignored me–I would have completely missed seeing it.
Sunday morning, I saw one of them flying from the little island towards the tall grasses that I had just passed. I knew that there wasn’t going to be any closer pictures this morning. Though I have to wonder where the other one is at–I’ve seen them as a pair this year. Even with the one I startled yesterday–I soon startled it’s mate/friend a few minutes later. I just wasn’t able to get a picture of it.
Though this is one thing that has made me happy this fall–being able to get a couple of good pictures of the green herons.
So since I couldn’t just pick one or two pictures to share today, the theme is odds and ends. Basically a little bit of several things–namely insects, arthropods, and maybe either some fungi or a bird or two. In other words–it will be mainly pictures, with a few words here and there.
I did see a Viceroy butterfly on my morning walk the other day going around Boomer Lake. It was just sitting on the one edge of the bridge soaking up some morning sun before looking for food.
I’m also pretty certain that I got a picture of a green heron in flight. The body type is right for them, and they’re a dark color. It just didn’t help that they had the sun at their back, making it hard to see the actual green color of their feathers.
I managed to get a good picture of an red-spotted purple admiral this weekend as well. Luckily I spotted one on the street (and there weren’t any cars coming).
Our decorative grass is flowering, and that means I’m starting to see some bees in the backyard again this fall. It’s always nice to see them.
Then I noticed that there was this little spider spinning it’s web between the leaves of some of the plants.
So these are just a few of the other pictures that I took this weekend (and I still have others I can share). Most of the pictures are nature/wildlife, as that is what I’m currently most comfortable trying to photograph. Though this fall/winter I may start branching out and starting to do some architecture shots as well. But mainly I’m focusing on enjoying a hobby, and maybe figuring out how to fit in daily with everything else.
Since today is National hummingbird day—the winner of the photography challenge is the hummingbird.
There are currently over 300 species of hummingbirds in the western hemisphere with at 150 of them living within the equatorial belt (which is ranges from ten degrees north of the equator to ten degrees south of the equator).
Of the approximate 150 species living outside the equatorial belt, there are only twenty-three that venture north into North America: Mexico, the United States and Canada. This is also usually only during the spring and summer, then they make the return flight south to warmer climates for the winter.
Then of the twenty-three species that make it north, they spread out to where you may only see one species in one part of the country, but if you head towards another area, you may see three or four.
For Oklahoma, there are three species that can be found in some part of the state: the ruby-throated hummingbird, the black-chinned hummingbird, and the rufous hummingbird (though this one mostly just flies through).
Though since Stillwater is in the north central part of the state (and probably could be considered north-east central), we really don’t see the black-chinned hummingbird as it is more common western part of the state (particularly in the southwest corner and the panhandle). So until it moves further east due to climate changes, we might get the sporadic one coming through—but for the most part we will mainly have the ruby-throated hummingbirds.
One goal may be to see how many of the other hummingbirds I can spot when I travel—though if I do any traveling into forests (specifically rain forests)—they will be extremely hard to spot, as animals have a tendency to avoid humans at all costs.
So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the green heron. I actually was able to get a good picture of the green heron as it landed on a tree limb at Boomer Lake.
These birds are very easy to startle (compared to the great blue heron and great egret), so it was a surprise to see it on my walk—if it hadn’t flown from it’s original spot, I probably would have walked right past it.
Though as it flew past me, I did managed to get a picture–though with the sun coming up, and it being a dark colored bird, it does make for an interesting contrast.
Pretty soon, they’re going to start on their trip south to warmer winter areas (the gulf coast, Mexico, and possibly down into Central America). I’m going to have to try to keep an eye out for these guys, and move as slowly and quietly as possible as I’m doing it—so that I don’t scare them off before I’m able to get a good picture of them.
These are yet another species, that I’m going to have to be stealthy in terms of getting close to–or break out the tripod and larger lens for the camera.
The winner of today’s photography challenge is the hawk that flew off in mid-shot, but I still managed to get two decent pictures of it in flight.
I’m pretty sure that this is the red-shouldered hawk and not the red-tailed hawk, due to the red on the breast as it was flying past me.
I’m wondering if I interrupted this one while it was hunting—as I had noticed it sitting on top of a light post, but when I got close to get it’s picture—it flew off towards some trees. I followed, but I didn’t notice the exact limb that it had landed on, so I continued on my walk to see what other birds I could spot.
They are hunters, and their prey ranges from small mammals to reptiles and amphibians. Though they have been seen to also eat other birds (including young owlets, sparrows, and doves).
They’re year round residents of the area, so I will be keeping an eye out for them on my walks to see if I can spot them in trees, on light posts, or just flying through the area.
While the adult scissor-tailed flycatchers may have started their migrations back south—the younger generation is still present, at least for awhile.
I noticed this one sitting at the top of a tree, and probably wouldn’t have paid much attention, until it stretched and I saw it’s tail. It was then I realized that I’d probably been overlooking the younger generation of scissor-tailed flycatchers the past few weeks.
While the scissor-tailed flycatcher is common in Oklahoma (we’re in it’s breeding area, and it is the state bird), during migration they actually wander and therefore can almost be spotted anywhere throughout North America. They winter in the warmer regions of Central America and southern Mexico.
Since they feed predominately on insects, I don’t think that there is a good way of trying to lure them into the yard during the year—they seem to really like the open spaces around the lake, and we lack that around the house. So I will just have to keep an eye out for them again in the spring. I will be looking for the younger ones again on the weekends and I will see how long before they do decide to head south for the winter.
The winner of today’s photography challenge is the great egret that looked to be scratching it’s chin when I snapped the picture this morning.
The temperatures are starting to get to where I will hopefully be able to get a morning walk in at least once on the weekend. Today I noticed that there were at least six egrets (or three that managed to zip back and forth and made me think that there were more— 🙂 on the lake. They will be around for probably another month or so, and then the large number will migrate further south for the winter—basically to the Gulf of Mexico and Central America.
I noticed last year, that they will temperamentally share space with the great blue herons. I will have to see if I can find the pictures of the stand offs I got between the two in the spring, as they are both hunters that hunt via wading in the shallow waters—so there is competition for food and space between the two.
One interesting fact: when they fly they’re flapping their wings at just two wing beats per second, and they can achieve a cruising speed of around 25 miles per hour.
Since migration season has started, it will be interesting to see what other birds migrate through, and how many decent pictures can I get of them……..
The winner of today’s photography challenge is the green heron—who is playing hide and seek in the picture.
These guys are actually more the size of crows than herons or egrets. They’re short and stocky, and they look like they’re constantly walking hunched over. Since they were playing hide and seek in the branches, I’m not sure if they were adults or juveniles.
These two were probably trying to hunt this morning when I noticed them and tried to get their picture. They usually stand motionless close to the water’s edge (though they were actually perched a little above the edge of the water in the branches), waiting for prey (which are usually fish and amphibians).
Oklahoma is within it’s breeding range, which means that come late fall it will be migrating back down to warmer areas (such as Mexico and Central America).
They are capable of diving and swimming back to shore with their catch, though for the most part they hunt by wading in the shallow waters.
Hopefully I will be able to see these guys again before they head south for the winter, or in the spring when they come back. Unlike the other herons that are out in the open, these guys like to stay back in the foliage (probably due to sitting above the water), and out wait their prey. I’m just happy that I managed to get a couple of pictures of them that weren’t totally blurry.
The winners of today’s photography challenge are the birds. I managed to get candid pictures of several different birds over the weekend.
For starters—there is the nuthatch that was feeding on the suet feeder. While I managed to get several good pictures—the one I like the most is the one of it with a sunflower seed in it’s beak. It then quickly flew off to the trees to crack the seed and eat it.
The next one is a hummingbird that was sitting in the crepe myrtles by the feeder. I was calling it the “goth” hummingbird. The main reason, is it was so cloudy I couldn’t tell for certain if it was a male ruby-throated hummingbird or maybe a male black-chinned hummingbird migrating through. Though this is the first time I’ve seen one where the entire head looked black.
This one was around all weekend–I’m thinking that now anytime I see a male hummingbird that I can’t identify, I’m going to be calling them the “goth” hummingbirds.
Several egrets have landed in the area before heading further south. I think that they wait until they have a good number in the flock before they continue on their journey. I saw three of them this weekend in different parts of the lake. I know from my late-winter/early-spring walks there can be upwards of a good fifteen or twenty of them flocking together. So it will be interesting to see how many more show up before they all head south for the winter.
So there were numerous Mississippi kites up at the lake this weekend. Usually I would only see maybe one or two off in the distance hunting–but this weekend I would swear I saw a good two dozen kites throughout the area. There was this young one sitting in the tree, taking a break from hunting dragonflies and other insects.
Then I saw this one across the street, sitting and watching another portion of the lake for dragonflies and other flying insects. Since it is getting close to the time that they will start heading south–the youngsters are out hunting, instead of sitting near the nest waiting on mom and dad to bring back dead insects for them to eat.
Hopefully this coming weekend, I will be able to get a couple more pictures of them before they head south for the winter. It will also be interesting to see how many of them come back to the area in the spring.
Well the winner of yesterday’s photography challenge is the great blue heron (I thought I had posted it before shutting the computer down–my bad). These guys are regulars up at Boomer Lake, and I consider it a good day if I manage to see at least two of them on my walk (even if it is a short one).
This one seemed to be acting as king of the mountain yesterday morning (and wasn’t happy with the hawk flying past).
Usually when one thinks of great blue herons–it is where they’re wading through the water hunting their prey, not sitting on top of dead trees overlooking the little cove.
I’m not exactly sure what this one was either looking at or watching for, especially since it wasn’t looking down towards the water.
Then on my return walk, I noticed that it was still on it’s perch–but it was starting to groom it’s feathers….
This is one of the few pictures I’ve managed to get of blue herons grooming themselves where they’re looking upside at me.
Hopefully the temperatures and/or the humidity will slowly start dropping in the coming weeks and I can get back to doing a walk at Boomer Lake on the weekends in the morning. I’m interested to see what birds I might be able to see passing through on their migration to warmer climates in the south.
One other goal for the coming year(s) will be that during any travel, I have to try to get at least one picture of an animal (and preferably not counting visiting zoos or aquariums) on a walk or hike.