Tag: nature

Photography Challenge Day 126: Spotting a large turtle at the lake

So today’s photography challenge winner is the very large female turtle that I spotted on my walk yesterday. I think it is a red-ear slider, but it could be a painted turtle–the only thing I’m positive about, is that it isn’t a snapping turtle.

Large turtle heading back to the water

I noticed this turtle towards the end of my walk, and it was heading back towards the water. I’m going to assume that she just laid her eggs and is heading back to the lake.

The back end of the turtle as it heads back to the water.

It can take about two to four months before the eggs hatch–and the turtle could possibly lay another set of eggs in another nest. The area that it picked was perfect–it is away from at least human interference (I was looking down the hill at it, and I’m not going to go playing around in that area), so the only possible dangers are the normal predators that are in the area.

I had been told that there was a very large turtle living in the area, and I think this is probably the one that the fisherman was talking about. I’d wager a guess that it’s probably at least fifteen to twenty years old (mainly due to the size).

Though this could very well be a male turtle, that was just out wandering trying to find a sunny spot to sun itself–I’m still going to go with my first guess it’s a female that was laying it’s first round of eggs for the year.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptiles

Photography Challenge Day 118: The Dragonfly collection

So on my walk this morning, I actually managed to get some good pictures of three different dragonflies.

Dragonfly on a stick

I managed to capture the picture of this dragonfly just after it landed on the stick. I was happy it turned out as nice as it did–since it originally looked to blend in well with the ground. It definitely blends in when the background is brown and green.

Then spotted this blue one a little further down the path.

Then I saw one that was blue but had the black patches on it’s wings. It also has bright blue eyes as well–and did you know that the head of an dragonfly is made up almost entirely of it’s eyes?

Then another bronze dragonfly flew through.

Then another bronze dragonfly landed on the branch behind the blue one (which is extremely fuzzy in the picture). I know it’s different from the first–based mainly on the patterns on the wings. This one just has dark edging, where the first had dark patches. Also the body of the first one was probably double the size of this one.

I enjoy seeing both these and the smaller damselflies–that means they’re eating all the mosquitoes they can. Considering how wet of a year we’re having–I’d really be happy if I was seeing swarms of the dragonflies and damselflies.

No Comments insectsnaturePhotography

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 112: Fungi Sunday

I know it should be Fungi Friday, but I did Fishy Friday last week, and feel like showcasing a couple of fungi pictures today.

Small fungi growing at the lake.

So we are still wet enough, that there are some mushrooms still popping up here and there. I almost walked pass this small group of mushrooms.

I particularly like how I also managed to get the spiderweb with the morning dew in the photograph as well.

Some of the mushrooms looked like they’ve had better days

Since these guys are so small, it looks like they’ve been walked upon a few times. These could be fairy inkcap mushrooms (though that’s only a guess and trying to compare them to other images on the internet). In theory if they are fairy inkcap, they’d be edible–but the only wild mushrooms so far that I’ve eated are oyster mushrooms (those I know how to id).

Then there is the more traditional death-cap mushroom (or toadstool)

Then I saw a single toadstool mushroom in the middle of one area–which makes me think that within a couple of days (possibly by the weekend) there should be at least another three or four popping up as well. I’ve hardly seen just one toadstool mushroom before.

I think that another mini-goal for this year is going to be trying to see how many other fungi pictures I can throughout the rest of the year.

No Comments naturePhotographyScience

Photography Challenge Day 106: The (not so) elusive killdeer

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). I’d have missed seeing this guy if I hadn’t stopped to take the lens cap off the camera and wonder what race I was going to be dodging on my walk.

 This plump plover is one of the few shorebirds that doesn’t need to be near a beach (though I’ve always noticed them around Boomer Lake).

Killdeer in the park
Killdeer in the park

Their diet is mainly insects (beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers), but will also eat spiders, earthworms, centipedes, snails, and will even “fish” for crayfish.  They can be found in fields (which may or may not be near water), and will follow the farmers plowing the fields to eat the grubs that unearthed.

They usually have one brood a year (though in the south, it can be possibly two broods a year) that ranges from three to five young (average is four). Both parents will incubate the eggs, and this ranges almost a month (24 to 28 days). Depending on location, parents may soak in water before returning to the nest in order to help keep the eggs cool.

The young leave the nest within a day of hatching. While they stay with their parents, they are able to feed themselves. They are able to fly roughly three and a half weeks after hatching.

Some cool facts about killdeers include:

They got their name from their call, which is a shrill, wailing kill-deer. They are also known as the Chattering Plover & the Noisy Plover.

They use the broken-wing act to lead predators away from the nest. Though since they nest on the ground, they have to be weary of other animals potentially stepping on the nest—so they try to charge the larger animals to get them to change directions.

They are actually proficient swimmers (both adults and young).

Their nests are quite small and bare to begin with, but are added to after eggs are laid. There was one nest somewhere within Oklahoma, where people found over 1,500 pebbles adorning the nest.

They can live quite a long time—the oldest recorded Killdeer was at least 10 years & 11 months, when it was recaptured & then re-released in Kansas.

References:

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/killdeer

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Killdeer/overview

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

The different expressions of birds: Photography Challenge Day 45

So today’s post is probably going to be on the short side (text wise)–as pictures can at times speak for themselves. Looking through some of the pictures I took this weekend, and I realize that at times birds can have similar expressions as humans–or maybe I’m just projecting onto my photos.

An American robin looking irritated.

For example, the robin looked like it had woke up on the wrong side of a nest, or in the wrong shrub. Though I think it just didn’t like the music that the band students were playing at the time.

Just need to listen a little longer, and then I too can make that sound….

The mockingbird looked like it was trying to figure out how to make the sounds of the drums. Personally I think that it would be extremely interesting (and funny) to find a mockingbird that could make a call that sounds like a drum in a marching band.

Maybe it will be a little quieter on the other side of the lake…..

The heron was startled out of it’s hunting spot when the band started to play–it didn’t look happy giving up such a prime fishing spot.

There have been some other birds out and about the past few days in the yard–but I know that if I go to get my camera they will wait until I come back out and then fly off before I can even try to focus on them. One thing I’m going to try to do is have a camera around so that if I do see something of interest–I hopefully get a picture taken.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 44: Crab Apple Tree blossoms

The small crab apple tree is flowering

So today’s photograph is brought to you by the budding crab apple tree in our backyard.

Crab apple is actually the general name for all other apples other than the ones found in the store (which are all just a variety of eating apples). All apple trees require cross pollination in order for fruit to be produced. The presence of bees and other pollinating insects are essential for the production of fruit by these trees.

The uses of the crab apple tree are numerous—the fruits are small, and depending on the type of tree planted can range from sweet to sour. I’ve forget which crab apple trees we have planted, but I know that my father is wanting to get enough fruit from them to try to make jam. The wood is also used for grilling, smoking, and cooking—as it burns hot and slow. The tree is also popular for those that bonsai as well.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Fishy Friday: Another pick from the New England Aquarium & Photography Challenge Day 40

Well this is probably going to be a shortish post mainly because while I have more photos of fish from the New England Aquarium that I will be sharing–the identification of the fish is taking quite a while (it’s hard when you type in a color and hope to see your fish within the first twenty or thirty photos).

Anyway today’s photo winner(s) are the garden eels.

Garden Eels

Garden eels are members of the subfamily Heterocongrinae within the conger eel family Congridae. These eels are found in the warmer oceans (mostly in the Indo-Pacific area, but also in the Caribbean & eastern Pacific).

They are small eels that live burrowed in on the sea floor. Since they live in groups, when they all poke their heads out—they look like plants in a garden—hence the common name: Garden eels. Their coloring varies between species, and the average length is about two feet (twenty four inches). There are also about thirty five different species in two different genera.

Unfortunately it is difficult to tell from the picture what color the garden eels were—but I’m pretty sure that they are the yellow garden eel (Heteroconger luteolus). But when they’re all out and bobbing at the same time—they do look like a garden of eels.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterocongrinae

One goal is going to try to figure out what the different fish are in most of the photographs. This is for several reasons: 1–so that I can share them as more than just a pretty picture of a fish, and 2–so that I can also learn something new and share that as well.

No Comments naturePhotographytravel

Photography Challenge Day 36: Honeybee on Peach Flower

It’s officially spring

So today’s post is going to be on the short side–I’m fighting off some type of bug and my head feels like it’s in the clouds. But yesterday I managed to get several pictures of honeybees buzzing around the miniature peach tree’s flowers.

Hopefully this means that there will be some fruit that pops out–might not be the most edible fruit, but at least it will be fruit. I have a few ideas on the raised flower garden, and hopefully over the next few weeks (once I get over whatever the hell I have), I’ll be able to get it put together and flowers planted that will attract more birds, bees, and butterflies to the backyard. We haven’t had as many butterflies since we had the mulberry tree taken out (the butterflies did like the juice from the berries).

Now things are starting to green, leaf buds are popping out, flowers are opening (at least those that flower in early spring), and the day is starting to get longer again.

No Comments naturePhotography

Sparrows and finches: Photography Challenge Day 32

Sparrow in the bushes.

So one of the things I’ve been trying to do is get more pictures of different song birds–and not just at the feeders around the house. I’ve been trying to see if I can manage to get some decent pictures of them in the “wild”.

Currently my main area of practice is up at Boomer Lake in the early to mid mornings. Since spring is just starting, there actually aren’t that many out in the afternoons–or if they are out they have a sense of when someone is trying to photograph them and they stay nice and quiet so that I walk right past them.

There are a large number of different sparrows that reside in the area. I have never been great at telling them apart–especially when I’m trying to keep the camera steady enough to get a single picture. This one had been bouncing around the branches and sat still just long enough for me to get this picture.

Yellow finch (or is it a warbler?) at the lake.

Then a week or so later I saw this yellowish warbler (or small finch) bouncing around and managed to get it’s picture. Though it could also be a vireo, or another type of song bird–but I do know that it wasn’t a sparrow.

I’m hoping as the weather warms up to be able to be out more with the camera and working on my nature photography skills. Birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and whatever else I hopefully spot before it spots me.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography