So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the great blue heron. Usually these birds are wading in the lake, or perched on logs waiting for their prey—occasionally though, you can get a picture of one perched in a tree.
Now I almost missed seeing this one—if I hadn’t been looking for the songbird that flew into the upper branches of the tree on the other side, I would never have noticed the heron perched on the branch.
I managed to also see another couple of herons on the short walk, and as I was heading back home—this guy/gal was still sitting in the tree, obviously waiting for a fish or something to swim around so it could have a morning snack.
These guys are year round residents in the area, and they actually nest in trees, though I have yet to find the area where I would be seeing the nests—I think I know the area, but I’m not up to going that far back into slightly swampy areas just to try to get a picture or two.
They are considered to be symbols of wisdom, good luck, and patience in numerous different cultures. I like to think that when I see them on the walk—they’re reminding me to be patient working towards my transition into either industry or freelancing. I have strengths to lean into, and in terms of my weaknesses—I can work to improve them, or I can find someone who has those as strengths and ask for a helping hand.
So today’s winner for the photography challenge were the two sparrows that I managed to get a picture of two weeks ago on an afternoon walk.
Unfortunately, I can’t really tell which type of sparrow these two are. I know that there are several different types that call Stillwater home during spring to fall months, but I’ve never really been good at telling them apart.
It is even more difficult to tell them apart when you’re looking at their back ends (as the most distinguished marking are usually on the front & head). I do know that the sparrows like to sit and fly through the tall grasses and bushes along the edge of the lake, so hopefully this summer I will be able to get some other pictures and maybe even determine which sparrow species I’ve been photographing lately.
So today’s picture is
of a female mallard that was just snoozing away in the sun the other day on my
walk. I’m pretty sure that her mate was around—and I also know that she had her
eye on me as well. I’m pretty sure that if I’d tried to get any closer she
would have made a mad dash to the water or flown off.
Mallards live in
wetland habitats—either natural or artificial; in other words they can be found
on lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, along the coasts, parks, and occasionally in
someone’s backyard. Depending on what maps you look at—Oklahoma is either in
the wintering zone of the mallards or the year-round zone of the mallard. I’m
pretty sure that there is at least one pair that stays around all year—that
means that come late summer, I hopefully can get some pictures of the parents
with some of the young swimming on the lake.
Their diet is majority
plant (as they can submerge their head & neck in the water to forge on
aquatic plants), but can also eat insects, tadpoles, earthworms, and other
small crustaceans. I have seen them “dabble”—where they stick their butts in
the air and feed off the lake floor—but I never get the picture.
The color pattern of
the mallard is as following: both sexes have the blue patch on the wing, with a
white border. The males have the green head, while the females are more of a
mottled brown color (makes sense as they are the ones usually incubating the
eggs—you don’t want to stand out).
The pair usually have
somewhere between 5-15 young (average is 7 to 10), and the young can feed
themselves within a day of hatching. The young are able to fly usually about
fifty to sixty days after hatching. The mallards raise one brood a year (and if
it’s an early brood, there might be a second one).
Today’s photograph is of a group of freshwater turtles that I spotted sunning themselves two weeks ago up at Boomer Lake. I know that there are a good number of freshwater turtles at the lake, it is just a matter of timing (making sure that I’m out when both the sun is out and the air temperature is fairly nice) and knowing where to look for them.
They like to collect on the limbs and fallen trees that allow them to crawl out of the water to warm themselves in the sun–but also allows them a fast getaway if they feel threatened. Though I think at times they notice people taking their pictures and they slid back into the water until the photographers have moved on. I’m hoping to see these guys a little more often, especially if I do my walks at Boomer a little later in the morning.
So I have been trying to do a walk up at Boomer Lake in the morning on the weekends (basically having my “zen” time when I don’t really have to deal with other people). One of the birds that I try to get pictures of is the great blue heron.
There are between four and six great blue herons living up at Boomer Lake (and I will be sharing more pictures over the next few weeks/months), and I try to see how many of them I can spot during my morning walk.
This one I spotted twice (at least I think it’s the same one), and in two different poses (and areas). Earlier it was hunting (or just waking up), and now I think it was hunkering down to get out of the wind for awhile. But if you look closely–you can’t see it’s legs–it has the low squat down to an art form. Which is why I’ve declared it the winner of the low squat.