“I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work.” –Frank Lloyd Wright
–Frank Lloyd Wright
Setting new temperature records, Michigan had six extremely hot days last week. Taking advantage of the lowering river flats, the various birds enjoyed snacking on the plentiful amount of fish and other water creatures.
I have always been the odd one. Now, that I am older I wear that badge proudly. One of my favorite pastimes is watching and photographing wildlife. Today, June 15, 2017, is Nature Photography day. I cannot be happier that an entire day focuses on the love of nature photography.
In my younger years, I would conceal my interests to be part of the group. Now, well, you may see me lying flat on the ground in front of a bug, turtle or sitting in the middle of the field to capture the perfect photo. I always love to watch people’s faces when I show them some of my photo work. Their expressions vary from amazement to you are definitely “off your rocker”.
When I am taking photos, I focus on my subject. The world simply disappears. Do not worry; I am too cautious to put myself in harm’s way. The invention of the long lens helps me capture specific scenes.
Turtles are my recent focus. During this time of year, turtles come out the swampy areas to lay eggs. I find the process amazing. Walking past my sliding glass doors, I noticed a creature slowly moving across my yard. The beautiful Snapping Turtle reminds me of a prehistoric beast. I can just imagine her large ancestors roaming the Earth. I also let my creative imagination work overtime. I recently intertwined a Turtle’s tale in my new children’s book. Time will tell if the story works well.
I personally have always loved frogs. As a child, I use to watch them jump in the ponds and creeks. I would imagine their worlds. I still incorporate frogs into my stories. I imagine them interacting with fairies and other woodland creatures.
As an adult, I still think about the frogs’ life. At the same time, I consider the frogs’ environment. Throughout the years, the push for modernization comes at a price. I would hate to see the frog population continue to decrease. The disappearance of frogs is just sad.
Even though I do not know the facts, I am sure the impact of the ecological system would be significant. In my area, the decrease in frogs would mean an increase in mosquitoes and other pesky insects.
My request? Take the time to learn about the frogs in your area. Find out how to help with your local environment. You do not need to join large groups to help the environment, plant flowers, pick up litter, small gestures by a large number of individuals will have a large impact.
As a child, my grandfather always told me, “It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.” I never fully understood the significance of the statement until later in life. I love meeting the good-natured oddballs. Offering a unique perspective, I find their stories and journey through life extremely interesting.
This particular series of vintage photos is the perfect example. Over the years, I have come across numerous individuals who care for injured animals. Or have befriended wild animals. For example, my uncle would sit on the bank of the old muddy, Maple River for hours. After a while, the raccoons would come right up to him to receive “treats”. He actually would allow the wild racoons eat right out of his hands. (Note: I do not advocate this…animals bite).
Woodchucks are not my idea of friendly creatures. They are destructive, burrowing mammals. And, they bite. Living in a wooded area, I see woodchucks often in rock piles, under my shed and in my barn. Witnessing them fight with each other over territory, I know they can be a bit nasty. If I could talk to this gentleman, I would ask, “How did you get pet woodchucks?”
I am assuming he found the woodchucks as babies. From my understanding from old farmer’s tales, a wild animal that does not open his/her eyes will be easy to handle. (Once again: I do not advocate this…I am a strong believer that all wild animals belong in their natural surroundings).
In my opinion, the old farmer appears proud of his little friends. I would love to sit next to him for an hour and just listen to his story.
Over the holiday season, I was able to photograph a beautiful Barred Owl. The sighting in the natural habitat was absolutely remarkable. I was on my way to pick up some stuff at my nephew’s school. The roads were snowy from the recent accumulation. Of course, I was in rush. As I drove by the wooded area, I spotted the Barred Owl just sitting there on a lower branch. Obviously, the beautiful creature was searching for his next meal.
When I first drove by, I did not have a camera with me. Not even my pocket camera which I had just taken out of my purse. Since I was close to home, I immediately turned around to go get a camera. The whole time, I was thinking, “there was no way the owl would still be there”. As I was rushing out of my drive, I proceeded to get my car stuck. After some time, I managed to get my car back on the road. By this time, I was absolutely convinced the Barred Owl would be gone.
But, sitting on the lower branch right off the side of the road by the Maple River was the beautiful creature. If I would not have been in such a hurry, I could have watched the Barred Owl all day long. The owl was not skittish of me. I managed to snap a lot of pictures. We just seemed to stare at each other. His black eyes were mesmerizing.
After all the years of living in the countryside, I had only witnessed an owl once before in the wild. The last time, I was a child. And, no, I will not tell you how many years ago that occurred. At that time, the owl was flying down to retrieve a dead carcass out of the road. I cannot tell you the type of owl we saw the night. But I can tell you, the initial sighting all those years ago was one of the reasons why I enjoy nature and wildlife.
I find owls completely fascinating. Well, of course, the Harry Potter series confirmed my love for the stunning creatures.
In mid-Michigan, the last couple of days has been warm. I mean, the state is being declared a moderate drought zone. Now normally, I don’t mind the heat. But, the added humidity just seems to drain all my energy. So, I have been rather….lazy. Well, lazy for me.
Spending most of my days indoors with the comfort of the fans. I don’t have air conditioning which is an investment I may have to make at some point. I have managed to catch up on some social media networking and writing. And, I even picked up a book for some afternoon reading. So, I guess the warmer days have some benefits. I don’t really want to complain. Because I know in a few months, we will have snow.
But toward the evening hours, I tend to wander outdoors. The one aspect I have noticed, the wildlife seem to be having lazy summer days too. The bullfrogs float in the shallow water along the creek bed’s edge.
I have spotted turtles just lazily floating along. Diving down for a quick cool off and coming back up to the surface to float again.
The forecast is calling for continuous warm days with a chance for a rain shower at some point. I am absolutely convinced if a rain shower occurs, I will be outdoors standing in the middle of the downpour.
I find nature both amazing and intimidating at times. I cannot enter into a wildlife area without seeing something new. During this time of year, I tend to spot first-time blooms. The wild Iris flowers offer a beautiful site among the greenery.
The hatching of a new batch of dragonflies. Every time I see dragonflies flying just above the tall weeds in the field, I imagine fairies lurking about watching me photograph the natural scenes.
Two days ago, I came across a new site in the deeper part of the woods. Usually, the area is still under water this time of year. The Maple River cuts off and runs into the back creek. The warm weather caused the water to dry up faster. Certain areas are still damp and mushy. Yes, mushy is my new word of the day. In any event, the water snails had nowhere to go for water. They attempted to “climb” the trees which were still very moist from being underwater. Unfortunately, without the correct amount of water the snails died. Leaving only their shells behind on the trees. Yes, I know they are not technically called water snails. I am not certain of their correct name. I just found the site of the snails interesting and sad. They were just searching for water.
I hope everyone finds nature as intriguing as I do.