So the next couple of winners are some butterflies and a spider that I saw on my walk on Sunday.
The first is of a pale yellow-brown butterfly with eyespots on it’s upper wings. I haven’t quite figured out what butterfly it is—one possibility is the common buckeye butterfly, but this one doesn’t have eyespots on the lower portion of the wings.
I managed to get two pictures of this butterfly before it flew off.
Well, it might have some pale eyespots on the bottom portion of it’s wings. That might help a little more in narrowing down the identification. I’m going to continue trying to figure out what butterfly it is, even if I have to go ask someone in entomology for help in the identification of the butterfly.
The second winner is a spider—again I have no idea what type of spider it is. While I managed to get a couple of decent pictures, I didn’t get any good ones with identification marks to compare to pictures to get an identification of it—I just know that I’m very careful in walking around trees and bushes at the lake in the morning so that I hopefully don’t walk through any spider webs.
This spider had made it’s web in between branches on a tree that close to the water. Nice place to catch evening bugs. And then the final winner is….
The third winner is another viceroy butterfly that was flying around one of the points at the lake. The way to tell the difference between the viceroy and the monarch butterfly is that the viceroy butterfly has the black stripe on the bottom part of it’s wings (monarchs lack that stripe).
Hopefully the weather will behave and I will be able to walk around Boomer Lake again this coming weekend and see what birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects are round this coming weekend.
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 the walks this weekend were polar opposites of each other—Saturday was totally foggy, and Sunday was sunny without a cloud in sight. Therefore the pictures for the weekend are going to somewhat showcase the difference between a sunny day and a totally foggy day.
So the above picture was taken on Saturday, and I was actually surprised that I managed to see the heron through the fog sitting in the tree. Luckily I’ve been watching them enough that I knew where to look.
Then basically the same location on Sunday, and either the same blue heron or another one was sitting in the tree deciding on when to go hunt for breakfast.
Then I managed to get a picture of an egret back in the creek area of the lake. This is one area that I want to explore a little more–but I need to get some hiking boots first, plus some decent pants as well (summer isn’t the time to be in the woods with shorts on).
So there is this one egret that I always see under this tree on the creek side, come fog or sunny weather.
So even slightly unpleasant weather can lead to interesting pictures, especially when you can do an comparison shot within a few days afterwards. I probably could have tried to go back out Saturday afternoon and see what photographs I could have gotten–but these are roughly the same time but one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.
Something new to aim for–getting certain photographs in certain areas at roughly the same time each day (or each week) and then compare them to each other………..
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.
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.
It is one of the largest insects in North America, and is found in the United States (east of the Rocky Mountains).
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.
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 winners of today’s photography challenge are the birds. Since today was a holiday (no work, :-)) that meant I had the time to go for another zen walk around Boomer Lake this morning. I managed to get several pictures that I will be sharing this week (in addition to other pictures I managed to get over the weekend).
But today’s picture is of a couple of egrets, some ducks, and a heron (it almost makes me want to think of a bad, corny joke—but I’m currently too tired to do so). Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the two in the background (the second egret and great blue heron), as I was focused more on the egret and ducks in the foreground.
As migration season kicks off, the limbs of the different submerged trees become prime spots to both fish from, and just generally sit on—so they’re usually always have something sitting on them—be it egret, heron, or cormorant (and sometimes the terns and gulls).
Currently the cormorants haven’t started migrating though (they should be here within probably two months or so—just as the egrets move further south), so the limbs will be having either egrets or herons sitting on them.
I’m going to have to start keeping a tally record and see who sits on the various branches and logs the most during my walks–the great blue herons or the common egret.
For today–I’d have the say the egrets were on four branches/logs and the herons were on two branches/logs.
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.