Tag: summermorning

Photography Challenge Day 183: Great Blue Heron grooming itself (short post)–half a day late.

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).

The great blue heron surveying his domain……….

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.

Zoomed out a little, so the dead tree is a little more visible….

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.

Starting to groom itself……

Then on my return walk, I noticed that it was still on it’s perch–but it was starting to groom it’s feathers….

It can bend it’s neck in unique directions…..

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.

No Comments bird watchingnature

Photography Challenge Day 180: The elusive sunrise

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the sunrise.

Sunrise at the park

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been able to get up to Boomer Lake to catch the sunrise. I will admit that while I can set my alarm, get dress and head up there right away—I’ve gotten into the routine of drinking a cup of coffee before thinking of leaving the house on the weekends for my walk. I’m thinking that maybe, I should set the alarm—have a cup of coffee, feed the dogs and then try to make it up to the park by sunrise. It may be the only time for at least a month that the temperatures are bearable.

Another view of the sunrise

I do watch the sunrise while I’m both walking towards the bus stop and waiting for the bus, but it isn’t the same as watching it across a body of water (no matter how small). I’ve always enjoyed sunsets, but it has only been the past couple of years that I’ve caught the sunrise at Boomer.

When we use to go up to northern Minnesota, sunsets were spectacular and I’d always say that I’d get up early, walk over to the other bay and catch the sunrise—but I always slept through it. I’m wondering if one my photography challenges should be trying to get a daily sunrise picture (and maybe a daily sunset picture as well)—hmm, something to think about.

One reason why I love watching them–the different colors that streak across the sky and clouds.

No Comments naturePhotographySunrises/Sunsets

Photography Challenge Days 166-168: Playing Catch-up again.

So I’m doing a multiple photography post to play catch-up for the month. Thursday night got away from me, and last night I was finally watching Avengers: Endgame.

The winners for Thursday’s photography challenge are some turtles. Since we’re in the dog days of summer, I’m lucky if I can manage one morning walking around Boomer Lake before the temperature and/or the humidity skyrockets for the day. On this particular morning, it was nice and sunny, and the temperature and humidity were still bearable; therefore some turtles were already starting to claim their sunning spots.

Little turtles sunning itself on the log.

When I took this picture, I was focused on the small turtle that was already at the top of the branch. It wasn’t until I got the pictures on the computer, that I realized that another turtle was starting to climb out of the water onto the branch.

Then another turtle is crawling up to join it.

Now I wished I stuck around to get a series of pictures of the second turtle claiming its portion of the sunning log. I’m willing to be that it was a fairly large turtle based on how it looked so far coming out of the water.

The winners for Friday’s photography challenge are some ducks and the migrating egret. I’ve noticed that one of the egrets has already landed and residing at Boomer Lake this month—which is probably a good two to three months earlier than what I saw of them last year. These guys stick around Boomer Lake (and the other area lakes) twice a year—early spring and late fall—basically migratory season. Which is funny since parts of Oklahoma actually fall within their breeding range—so who knows, maybe they flew in to fish and then were flying back to the southeastern part of the state.

Egret and ducks in the early morning.

There were also several other mallards swimming around when I got a picture of the egret standing on a log, patiently waiting for a fish or some other small creature to swim by to grab.

The egret has the immediate area to itself.

It will be interesting to watch the interactions again this fall between the egrets and the herons–neither really likes to share their hunting grounds.

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the viceroy butterfly. This butterfly is native to North America, and can be found almost throughout the region.

Viceroy Butterfly in the grass

While the butterfly looks like a monarch butterfly—it has a strip across the bottom portion of its wings (which the monarch lacks). Another interesting little fact is that it had been though to mimic the colors and patterns of monarch to avoid being eaten by birds—but know it’s know that they’re also unpleasant for birds to eat.

So instead of being a case of Batesian mimicry (where a harmless species evolves to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species to deter a common predator), it is actually a case of Müllerian mimicry (where two species come to mimic each other’s warning signals).

Viceroy butterfly chilling in the grass

Another interesting fact: the caterpillars and pupa resemble bird droppings—so that gives them a little added protection during development. Next spring I may try to keep my eyes peeled for the caterpillars (shouldn’t be that hard—if I’m looking for them).

Decided it was done showing off it’s wings.

One thing I’ve learned so far over the course of my photography challenge so far—is to look for the interesting and the unique in the not so obvious places.

No Comments bird watchingbutterfliesinsectsnaturePhotographyreptiles

Photography Challenge Day 161: Moths, butterflies, and dragonflies–oh my.

The winners of today’s photography challenge are some of the insects that I saw on my morning walk this morning at Boomer Lake. Both the temperature and humidity were low enough this morning, that I decided to get in my morning zen and see what type of wildlife I could see at Boomer Lake.

I’ve decided to be more in the moment and not just look for birds, turtles, and rabbits–but also pay attention to the smaller things that are buzzing around (or splashing around for that matter).

These two I saw pretty early in my walk. I’m not sure what type of moths they are, but at least I managed to get a picture of them with their wings spread out. There have been times when I only manage to get the picture when their wings are up and you can hardly see the butterfly (or moth).

Orange moths or butterflies resting on the leaves near the shore.

I then saw this orange and black butterfly a little later in my walk—I think it is a pearl crescent butterfly. This particular butterfly can be difficult to identify (markings change), which is why I’m only guessing at the identification. But if it is a pearl crescent butterfly—they’re found throughout the eastern United States, southern Canada, and Mexico.

Possibly a pearl crescent butterfly

Finally there was this small butterfly or moth, that just wouldn’t spread it’s wings. I know that it was a yellow-orange color, but that is all I managed to get. I stood there for awhile waiting to see if it would spread it’s wings–but it had more patience than I did–it out waited me and I moved on.

Little orange/yellow butterfly (or moth) that didn’t want to show it’s wings

Then I noticed that there were some dragonflies fluttering around, and I decided to see if I could get a good picture of one landing/resting on a flower or some grass. Well I managed to get a picture of one resting on a blade of grass–and I managed to get a surprise in the picture as well. I didn’t realize at the time, that there was a little grasshopper sitting on the underside of the blade of grass.

Dragonfly and a little grasshopper sharing a blade of grass

Since it was such a wet spring, I’ve seen numerous dragonflies and hopefully that means in a year or two there will be another large number of dragonflies flying through the air eating all the mosquitoes.

No Comments butterfliesinsectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Days 103 & 104: The soft-shelled turtle makes an appearance.

So today’s post is a double, since I decided to go computer free last night. Instead of being on the computer–I watched Captain Marvel instead. Loved the movie (and a mini review is pending).

So on my walk this morning I noticed that there was an odd grouping of turtles on a log–two were red-eared sliders and the third is either a soft-shell turtle or a snapping turtle.

Three turtles on a log

When I zoomed into the picture–the tail of the turtle in question looks like it could be a soft-shell turtle. The snapping turtle tail usually has several ridges on it, so unless this is a young snapping turtle–I’d put it down to a soft shell turtle in the lake.

Which makes since I think that I got pictures of it on a smaller log last week on my walk:

I think someone is a little to large for the log.

At first I was wondering if somehow a larger red-eared slider had gotten stuck on the log, until I walked a little further and got a look at the face. I’m thinking that it was just irritated that the log wasn’t as big as it looked from afar (or from underwater).

And here is another view that gives a better look at it’s face:

It’s got a pointy nose–I’m thinking it’s a soft-shelled turtle.

So besides keeping my eye out for the turtles in different areas–I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the soft-shelled turtles as well. These guys are quite large when compared to their harder shelled relatives.

There are actually two species of soft-shell turtles that live in Oklahoma–the smooth & spiny soft-shelled turtle. The only way to tell the difference is that the spiny soft-shell turtle has distinct spines on the front & back end of the shell. Currently I’m going to go with the identification that they’re the smooth soft-shell turtles living in Boomer Lake.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilesScience