Tag: naturephotography

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.

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Photography Challenge Day 89: Fishy Friday Edition. There are baby fish in the lake.

So today’s Fishy Friday post is going to be a short one. Mainly because I’m not one hundred percent certain on the type of fish that I saw in the lake on Sunday.

Some of the minnows swimming in the lake.

While I was on my walk Sunday, I go a certain way to see if I can spot any of the turtles sunbathing in the little cove next to the parking lot. In order to see them, you have to peek through the tall grass that is growing along the edge of the lake.

There is one little area that people have cleared, to where someone can stand and cast a fishing line out into the lake to fish. When I was standing there I looked down, and I saw probably about two dozen little fish swimming around. I’m calling the minnows, though they could be the young of some other fish in the lake.

It isn’t that often I see the little fish swimming around the lake–mainly because this is a muddy lake, and there are also numerous water snakes living in the lake (and I don’t want to cross the path of them–I don’t mind seeing them from a distance).

So it will be interesting to see how often I will be seeing small fish swimming in this area, or if they will move on and maybe I’ll start seeing some tadpoles swimming around soon.

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Photography challenge day 88: It’s either the orange sulfur or clouded sulfur butterfly.

So today’s post is going to be rather short, as I am not one hundred percent confident on the identification of the butterfly.

Pretty yellow butterfly.

Looking at pictures of butterflies that are found in Oklahoma at this time of the year, it is either the orange sulfur butterfly (also known as the alfalfa butterfly) or the clouded sulfur butterfly. Since I couldn’t get a picture of the butterfly with it’s wings out–I can’t say for certain which one it is.

So that is a goal for the summer–get more pictures of this pretty butterfly, but at the same time get a few pictures of it with it’s wings open so that I can hopefully determine which one it actually is.

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It’s a Monday–the heron was fishing for it’s meal. Photography Challenge Day 85

So today’s post is going to be on the short side–mainly due to the fact that it is a Monday, and it took me a little longer than I thought it would in choosing today’s picture series.

The heron was going for seconds

So on my walk yesterday I managed to get several pictures of this heron fishing for it’s lunch. I really liked the result of this picture, where you see the water actually splashing up as it goes under water to grab it’s meal. This was after it had already caught and eaten one fish.

The heron caught a snack.

So I was able to quickly snap a picture of the heron coming up with the fish caught in its beak.

And now it swallowed it.

Then I managed to snap the picture of it swallowing the fish–though it popped it in quicker than I could get the picture–but you can see it’s throat slightly bulging from where the fish is sliding down to it’s stomach.

By the time I got around to the other side, to where I could try to observe without scaring it off, that is when I managed to get the picture at the top. I was a little too far off to notice if it actually had caught the fish or not (and if it did–it quickly swallowed it).

Hopefully over the course of the summer, I may actually be able to get a photo series of it fishing from start to finish.

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Photography Challenge Day 78: Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in flight

So the winners of today’s photography drawing were two scissor-tailed flycatchers I spotted on my weekend walk around Boomer Lake. This is one place in town where you can almost be guaranteed to see at least one scissor-tailed flycatcher (depending on the time of day).

One of the scissor-tailed flycatchers sitting by the edge of the lake.

So there were two male scissor-tailed flycatchers trying to stake out some territory around one sheltered area (numerous small bushes) at the lake.

The second scissor-tailed flycatcher, sitting not that far from the first.

Both were sitting proudly on the branches of various bushes that were just starting to leaf out.

Then one decided that the other was too close……

But then they decided that the area may not be big enough for both of them, and they started fluttering around (I’m assuming to try to establish dominance in the area), and this was the best picture I could get of them both in flight–of course flying away from me at that point.

It will be interesting to try to keep count of how many I see on any given weekend (even though I know that I may or may not be counting the same bird several times) as we get into the summer months. I know that on Saturday I saw at least four, and then I saw two on Sunday–which means that there are at least four scissor-tailed flycatchers up at Boomer Lake right now.

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Sunday bird day: The Canada goose family. Photography Challenge Day 77

Today’s photos are brought to you by the family of Canada geese I saw walking this morning.

One of the parents and two of the goslings grazing on the grass seeds.

So this year there are quite a few geese pairs that are raising their first brood of the year.

The parents and the four little goslings.

This pair has hatched four for the first round of young this year.

Three of the young grazing in the water puddles in the street this morning.

They actually managed to slow the little bit of traffic down this morning as they were playing in the street, before deciding to go graze in the grass.

One of the goslings deciding to catch up with its siblings.

I love how cute and fuzzy the young gosling look, though I was smart and stayed a good distance away from them. I don’t need to tangle with overprotective geese parents–they’re technically mean enough as it is without them thinking I’m a threat. Though since they’ve already started having broods–my early morning walks may be curtailed due to just the normal number of geese at the lake.

Though I can always take the morning walk and try to see how many different song birds I can find (instead of looking for different waterfowl). Decisions, decisions, decisions—we’ll have to see how the summer goes.

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The turkey vultures were soaring today: photography challenge day 74

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the turkey vulture. While I was on my walk this weekend, there were quite a few that were soaring overhead and I actually managed to get a couple of decent pictures of at least two of them.

One of the turkey vultures just soaring in the afternoon sky.

Since turkey vultures are scavengers, they can be seen soaring overhead in the suburbs, out in the country over farm fields and even around different areas such as landfills, construction site and even trash heaps. They’re early risers, they will roost together in large numbers on telephone poles, towers, fence posts, and dead trees. I might have to try taking a walk near dusk and see if I can spot any roosting around the neighborhood (as we live close enough to some farm land) in the evenings.

You can actually make out the red head of the vulture…

One weird fact for the turkey vulture—it can be found in part of the state (Oklahoma) year-round, and then other part of the state only during the spring-fall months (basically the breeding season). We’re in the part of the state that only sees them from spring to fall.

I wonder what they’re smelling….

Another interesting little fact—they try to ensure that their nests are isolated and away from any potential human contact. They will nest in caves, abandoned bird nests (namely hawks and herons), and even abandoned buildings. They also only have partial nests (they never actually finish building the nest).

While they currently aren’t listed as an endangered species they do face some threats from humans that impact their numbers. At times they do fall victim to lead poisoning (due to eating carcasses of animals that were shot by hunters but got away from the hunters), also victim to poisoning (if they eat the carcass of an animal that had been poisoned by humans). Also they have been trapped and killed due to the misconception that they spread disease by eating rotting meat.

Reference:

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

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Turkey_Vulture/lifehistory

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Photography Challenge Day 73: The water snakes are waking up

So when I was on my walk this weekend, I decided to check on an area to see how many turtles were out sunning themselves–this has turned in an almost weekly occurrence–checking for turtles. Then I noticed that there was someone else on one of the logs along with the turtles.

Turtles and water snake sharing the log.

The winners of today’s photography challenge are the two water snakes that I saw on my weekend walk. While I’m not a herpetologist I’m only going to make an educated guess on the identification of the snakes—based on other pictures I’ve seen on different sites about Oklahoma water snakes. One looks like it could be a plain-bellied water snake. The main reason is that it does look to have a yellow belly.

I think this is the plain-bellied water snake.

Some interesting facts about the plain-bellied water snake include:

The female will give birth to 5 to 25 baby snakes in the late summer, and when they’re born the baby snakes are between half a foot and foot long already.

They can get between two and a half and four feet long.

They eat fish, frogs, tadpoles and salamanders.

They can be confused with the cottonmouth (due to similar coloring), but they are actually members of two different families. Also when swimming, the plain-bellied water snake has half its body above the surface & half it’s body below the surface; while the cottonmouth typically swims on the surface of the water.

Either a larger plain bellied water snake or a diamond back water snake.

The other snake is either a larger plain-bellied water snake or it is possibly a diamond-back water snake. Both snakes are found in Oklahoma, and they are both in the same immediate area (since I don’t know the specifics of the snakes—I don’t know if they defend a territory or not when it comes to the mating season).

I will admit that I’m not really a snake person—though if I know that it is harmless (like these water snakes), it is in an enclosed area (like looking at snakes at a zoo), or it is a very good distance away (looking at it through binoculars) I’m not really scared of snakes. I know that they are beneficial for the environment (eating rodents and such), and that they are better at pest control and if they’re around one wouldn’t have to use poison to get rid of mice and rats.

It will be interesting to see this year if we get enough rain if they start moving away from the lake area for hunting.

References:

http://www.oksnakes.org/plain-bellied-watersnake.html

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The painted lady butterfly: photography challenge day 72

The painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly is the winner of today’s photography challenge. This butterfly is also known as the cosmopolitan butterfly since it is almost global in distribution (with the exceptions of Australia and Antarctica).

Side view of a painted lady butterfly

Another name is also the thistle butterfly, as one of the plants it favors is the the thistle.

An almost overhead picture of the painted lady buttefly

I’ll admit that these aren’t the best picture I’ve gotten of a painted lady butterfly, as they always seem to know when I’ve got the camera focused on them and they will then close their wings.

This is another butterfly species that migrates in the fall to warmer climates (mainly northern Mexico) for the winter as it doesn’t hibernate or go dormant like some other butterfly species.

The butterfly feeds off the nectar of flowers from various plants including thistles, clover, and others.

The life cycle of the butterflies is up to about two months (from egg to adult), so butterflies that hatch in the warmer regions during the winter months will be the ones to migrate back to the cooler areas in the spring. The adults towards the end of summer and early fall will start the migration back south, so that they hopefully can avoid any cold temperatures that would be detrimental to the species.

One goal is going to be trying to maybe get a picture of the caterpillar stage of the painted lady.

References:

https://www.butterfliesathome.com/painted-lady-butterfly.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_lady
https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-painted-lady-butterflies-1968172

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The small, but loud Carolina wren: photography challenge day 69 (slightly late)

So this was suppose to be the picture that was posted last night, but there were issues with the WiFi and internet connection–so it’s a day late. I’m still calling it day 69, as I did try to post last night.

Carolina wren in front of the wood holder.

The Carolina wren is a small wren species that is common in most of the eastern parts of the United States. These wrens like to make their nests in hanging plants, empty flowerpots that have been forgotten and left in a corner, or they may make use of nesting boxes. We’ve had them make nests in hanging plants, and various other things hanging on the house (including gardening equipment). Lately they’ve been around the brush piles that we have on the other side of the fence.

The wren deciding to check out under the wood.

Both sexes look similar—having an reddish-brown back, with a orange chest. They also have a long eyebrow stripe, and white chin and throat.

Carolina wren deciding to check out the top of the wood.

If you’ve heard a Carolina wren sing—you know that they have a very good set of lungs for being such a small bird. Though—it’s only the male (usually) that sings that loud song.

Carolina wrens mate for life, once the pair bond is formed they will stay in their territory year round, and forage together as well. These bird feed primarily on insects (such as caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and true bugs [to name a few]) and spiders. They can also be found on suet feeders grabbing nuts (especially in the winter months), and eating berries as well.

Carolina wren debating on whether or not to go back into the wood pile.

They usually have two broods per year (usually five to six eggs), with the female incubating the eggs. The male may bring the female food during this time (incubation usually ranges about two weeks). The young (which are then fed by both parents) usually leave the nest about two weeks after hatching.

References:
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/carolina-wren
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Carolina_Wren/id

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