Tag: wildlife

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.

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Photography Challenge Day 111: Visit to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve

Today’s photographs come from our “quick” visit to the tall grass prairie preserve today. The Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is located just outside of Pawhuska, Oklahoma and is home to a fairly good size buffalo herd.

I’m betting you noticed that I had “quick” in quotes—when we were leaving the preserve, we ended up with a flat tire, just inside the preserve. Now, if you know Oklahoma geography—Pawhuska is a fairly small town, with the next largest city to get triple A service is a good hour away. So by the time triple A almost showed up, some kind strangers had stopped and helped us change the tire.

Buffalo grazing at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve

So the first few buffalo that we saw were probably within just a few hundred feet of the opening of the preserve. These guys were just grazing and enjoying having this part of the preserve to themselves.

So we managed to see some of the herd of buffalo—it numbers between 1 and 2 thousand animals. Some of the bulls were close to the road, while a another portion of the herd could be seen in the distance. Since there are calfs present, and we’ve had decent rainfall the herd has quite a good area to graze on this year.

More buffalo off in the distance, chilling in the cool prairie grasses

There were probably about 150-200 buffalo that we saw off in the distance (which is a good percentage of the total herd). The calves, are the light brown ones.

The partial herd from a different angle.

So if you can see the one or two pale brown animals–those are the calves that were just born this year.

There were also still numerous wildflowers in bloom. These flowers included:

Butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed, this was one that I had to google once we got home, as I hadn’t seen any blooming for quite awhile. This is another wildflower that is native to the prairies of the midwest. Prior to the 1930s, it was actually listed as dietary/herbal supplement, as it was served in tea to help treat chest inflammations.

Slightly blurry black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susan, which were growing along the road and out in the prairie. This plant is native to the prairies of the midwest, and while some parts of the plant are edible, other parts aren’t (it is used by certain Native American tribes as medicinal herb).

So it will be nice to maybe try to get back again in the fall to see possibly more of the herd (but without the added headache of a flat tire), and see what type of possible fall wildflowers we may see.

If you’re ever in the northeastern part of Oklahoma, the drive through the Tall Grass Prairies is totally worth it–you may or may not see buffalo, but you will see some land being transformed back to how it looked a couple of hundred years ago–prairies, which are a vital ecosystem for North America.

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Throw back Thursday–Day 11 of Photography Challenge

Well decided that today’s photograph was going to be in the style of the #TBT or throwback Thursday mode. The cold Arctic air has pushed down into the southern plains again, and it was frigid today. It was a little sad that the nicest temperature we had today was the early morning temperatures–it fell steadily throughout the day.

Gulls in Flight

This photo was taken several years ago on vacation with my parents down at South Padre Island, Texas. It was a nice warm day, perfect for being on the beach and watching the waves, birds, and other people. I enjoy going to the beach, mainly because its being out in nature (even though there are numerous other people around you) and it can be calm or it can be quite wavy.

I was actually quite happy with myself when I saw how well this photograph turned out–I clicked it just as the three gulls launched themselves into the air.  You can see the shadow of one of them on the beach and then a little sandpiper slightly up on the beach looking for the small crustaceans that it enjoys eating.

South Padre Island was a cool place to vacation–though I wouldn’t want to go on spring break–the end of July was perfect. Yes it was hot, but there was water to both sides of the small island, therefore you sit on a beach at almost any point on the island.

Double Crested caracara at the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge

We took one afternoon and drove through the Laguna Atasosa National Wildlife Refuge and saw several double crested caracaras sitting on top of very tall yuccas.

Brown Pelicans flying over the bay

I actually got up early in the mornings to go down to the beach and try to catch the sunrise. This particular morning, I got the surprise of the flock of brown pelicans flying over the bay. No sunrise due to the fog that was rolling through, but it gave a great backdrop to the birds.

Hermit crab on the move

I was fascinated by all the different mulluscs that I was seeing. I even managed to capture a picture of a nautilus, which will probably getting posted at a latter date, in a page dedicated to the trip to South Padre Island.

Heron at sunset

One night we drove to the cove that faced the Texas shore to catch the sunset, and I managed to get this picture of a lone heron fishing on the sand barge.

Goes to show that life is rough for everyone–even if you fly, you can still be prey.

While I felt sorry for this little guy (unless he does yoga), but was also impressed that (s)he’d made it to adulthood having lost a leg (and I’m betting it was to a shark further out in the ocean or wherever he winters).

We took an afternoon to go the Padre Island Birding center to see what type  of birds and other wildlife we could see there. I spotted:

Ibis on the boardwalk at the Padre Island birding center

American alligator looking around in the lagoon at the birding center.

It was cool seeing the alligator–the people behind us missed seeing him by like less than a minute. One second he was up and the next second I had no idea where he went. For all I know he was just laying at the bottom of the lagoon waiting for us to continue walking away so he could pop back up and look around.

Heron at the birding center

There were several herons scattered throughout the area around the birding center.

A flock of birds at the birding center

 

One place that people need to go to is Sea Turtles Inc. which is the sea turtle rehabilitation center that helps to rehabilitate sea turtles and release them back to the ocean. They also keep an eye on all nesting sea turtles to ensure that the nests aren’t destroyed and the baby turtles can hatch and make their way to the ocean. That is one thing I would love to go and see–is the release of the young sea turtles as they race to the ocean.

Sea turtle at the rehabilitation center

I think that there will be another page being created under travels, dedicated to this past trip to South Padre Island. I have other picture of birds, waves, turtles, sunsets, and flowers. It will also be nice to bask in the warm memories during the winter.

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Nothing says fall like turkeys….

Well it looks like it is that time of the year—the turkeys are back!

Well it looks like there are seven turkey hens this year.

We were going to get the bagels for dinner when I noticed that there were seven turkey hens in the neighbor’s front yard. I only managed to get six of them in the picture though.

You know what this means?

It means that within a few weeks we will probably have the tom back escorting vehicles throughout the neighborhoods.

Save

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Butterflies, birds, and more, oh my……

So, it is mid-September and we’ve had more and more different animals coming through the back yard.  It is the time of year when birds and other animals either start to migrate south, or really start stocking up on the nuts and seeds for the coming seasons.

Ruby throated hummingbird at the hummingbird feeder

This is just one of the many ruby throated hummingbirds that has been passing through the yard. We’ve been getting upwards of five to six of these beautiful little birds buzzing through to both the feeders and any flowers that are stilling blooming. Read More

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