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Posts tagged “wildlife

Eerie

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Neena

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Neena was the first to hear it and let slip a warning growl; a low rumble that started softly and built quickly into a “back off” bark that meant business. In the still seconds before the other dogs sounded their alarm I heard it too: the distant shrill yip of dancing coyotes. Immediately Hazer followed Neena’s lead, leaping to his feet, moving toward my bed and barking ferociously while Gus howled an alarm from his crate in the living room. It’s an eerie sound to hear at 4 o’clock on a crisp fall morning. The pack must have been pretty close for humans to hear them through our closed windows. I lay there thinking about the horses. Coyotes aren’t a real threat to a small herd of healthy equines. But still. And while the sound of yipping coyotes can seem a bit creepy, I can’t help picturing them dancing and playing in the moonlight or running and cavorting through dewy fields and mossy woods. That’s not a frightening vision at all.

The coyotes and dogs carried on for the better part of twenty minutes. There was no stopping them.  Neena didn’t seem to carry on very much, but the boys were thoroughly caught up in the vocal chorus. Gus was especially reluctant to quiet down and continued to bark and growl for some time after the interlopers had moved on. Our first fall serenade.


Thrill Me

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Nothing excites me like having the opportunity to photograph a hawk in the wild. I’m not sure if the thrill is from the challenge of the shoot (it’s hard!), or if it’s just because I like hawks so much. In this case, the excitement hit me during the processing. Until then, I didn’t realize this hawk was missing an eye. I’m always secretly hoping this hawk shows up in my photos again someday.


Hanging Out

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This was quite possibly one of the largest webs I’ve ever shot, and it was a bonus that the architect happened to be home. The weather has switched back to hot and humid. That means some early morning fog, which can make for some interesting photos.

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Motherhood

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In nature, motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. While not my favorite, this mom stuck around for hours after her brood hatched, watching over them. And it was quite a brood!


Get Down

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I’m inclined to want to search the trees for hawks to photograph, but occasionally it pays to look down. I found this little salamander making his way across the back yard one drizzly, humid day last week so I focused on him instead.


Twice As Nice

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Not only are the butterflies visiting in droves, the re-blooming lilac is living up to it’s name! That’s a win-win for them and me!


Channeling Mom

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Every couple of years we get a pair of hawks that mate and nest somewhere close to our property. Two years ago a striking pair of hawks raised their young in the woods across the street. This year, they picked a big old white pine out behind our new barn and built their nest in the crotch of the tree. There’s always lots of activity when the young are being raised, but it’s nothing compared to the racket once the chicks have fledged. Apparently, like teenagers today, the juvenile hawks stick around for the summer and harass their parents into feeding them. They chase their folks from tree to tree, calling out pathetically for morsels of food and parental attention. The result is four loud, frantic, very large birds flitting from tree to tree all day long. At first I thought it was pretty cool. No matter what time of day I stepped out I was likely to find one or more hawks perched on a low branch nearby, screeching back and forth to each other. But that was back when we were in the throes of a heat wave, when all my windows were closed, the air conditioning was on and I was spending as little time as possible outdoors. Now the heat and humidity have moved on and I’m trying like crazy to get caught up on the gardening and lawn projects that got shelved during the heat. To say the hawks are distracting is a mild understatement. I’m torn between throwing down my gardening tools and bolting for my camera or grabbing ear plugs. I thought it would be easy to capture a few photos of the family, but so far I’ve traipsed all over tarnation and I’ve had very little success. A few days ago we had a grey, misty morning and as luck would have it, I heard one of the youngsters calling plaintively from the willow tree out back. I grabbed my camera and tripod and holding my breath, crept out the basement door. Would the hawk sit still long enough for me to fire off a couple of frames? Barely, but this is one of three photos I got. I would have liked a few seconds more to really get the camera better focused, but it wasn’t to be. Young hawks are especially leery of people and it didn’t stick around long enough for me to make any corrections. Better luck next time I guess!

Note: I don’t know why, but you have to click on a photo now to see better resolution. Anyone know what’s up with that? Annoying …..


Amazing Graze

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Horses live for the green grass of summer. Unfortunately, it’s been so muggy and buggy that they haven’t spent much time in the pasture. They venture down between rain storms and graze for maybe an hour or so, then head for the shelter of the loafing shed. I feel a little sorry for them. I know they’d much rather be out grazing instead of hovering around the barn. But with bugs the size of a small dog I can’t blame them for giving up. I’d like to think it will get better soon, but the weather pattern has set the stage for a very buggy second half of the summer, and it will probably continue well into the fall. Oh well. Better luck next year!


Intruder Alert!

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 I wasn’t trying to photograph a hummingbird, but one decided to show up anyway! My shutter speed wasn’t set to catch it very clearly, but it’s better than nothing. This little pollinator was pretty fearless and several times it hovered only a few feet away and stared right at my camera. I think it was trying to figure out if I was a friend or foe! I’m finding the longer I stand in one place at the garden’s edge the more nature just accepts me and carries on.


Hiding

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The only thing brave enough to be out in this heat and humidity are the insects. Well, and the birds. I spend most of my time gazing at my gardens from the picture window. That’s kind of sad. I work like a dog to maintain things only to be forced to hunker down in the house between 9 AM. and 6 PM. I can only hope this crazy weather pattern isn’t the new norm.