Nature Photography Day

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.

Until next time…peace

Save the Frogs Day

Today, April 29, 2017, is Save the Frogs Day.

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.

Just floating along….

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.

Tadpole

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.

Until next time…..peace

 

Critter of the Day: Mallard Ducks

In my area of Michigan, the water is still high. The increased water levels have both negative and positive aspects. I love the fact that I get to view so many different forms of wildlife. Swimming in an over filled pond, this pair of Mallards were fun to watch. They would dive and skim insects off the top of the very murky water.

The downside of the water…. my yard looks horrible. I can only mow certain sections. The uneven grass looks as if I was trying to mow paths to each standing water area. Oh well, at least I can enjoy the wildlife.

Until next time….peace

Critter of the Day: Pied-billed Grebe

Today was the first time I was able to photograph a Pied-billed Grebe in the wild. I loved it. I could have spent my entire day watching this unique water bird. He (or she) kept diving under the water to catch fish or bugs.

I am sure this bird has been in my area before today. But I was so happy to capture the moment on camera.

Until next time…peace

Vintage Photo: Man with Pet Woodchucks

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).

Little woodchucks eating.

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?”

The man proudly feeding his 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.

Until next time…..peace

 

National Bird Day 2017

Today, January 5, 2017, is known as National Bird Day. How can you not love an entire day dedicated to our fine feathered friends? As a nature lover, I find birds fascinating. Every species seems to have a unique personalities and behavior patterns. During the colder winter months, I sit and watch the birds from the warmth of my home.

When the feeder is low or empty, the little Chickadees are very vocal.

Chickadee

Whereas the little Sparrows line up and stare at me from the edge of the roof or the nearby shrubbery bush, both methods get my attention. I am usually adding seeds to the feeder immediately.

The little Sparrows watching me.
The little Sparrows watching me.

After the feeders are full, the Mourning Doves cautiously gather seeds on the ground.

Another Dove waiting patiently for the seeds.
Another Dove waiting patiently for the seeds.

When the Blue Jay comes to the feeder, all the other birds fly away.The Blue Jay’s presence always seems larger in life. The site of the deep red Cardinals against the snow covered ground is always breathtaking.

The older I get, the more I love to watch the birds. Yes, I photograph them too. But there are days where I just like to observe. Of course, my observations usually end up in one of my stories. I mean, how can you not imagine little fairies or other small woodland spirits riding on the back of the birds to defend Mother Nature and the rest of the natural realm.

Until next time….peace

 

My Barred Owl 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.

Until next time….peace

 

 

Black Swimming Swarm

So what does a person do when a swarming black mass appears in the water? Go investigate. Watching the mass move and divide was fascinating. They would move apart and slowly come back together. The mass would swim in formation for a short time. Then, dividing to start the entire process over again.

Dividing Swarm

 

So of course, I had to get closer to figure out what was forming the swimming, swarming mass.

When viewing wildlife, I tend to move forward without thinking. During this specific time, I learned two valuable lessons.

  1. Never wear shorts and walk through nettles.

After all the years of wandering around in the woods, you would think I would have this engrained in my brain. But…sadly no, the nettles seem extra itchy this time of year. The nettles were waist high. Well, I am short, so maybe they were not as high as I thought.

  1. Remember the creek banks are slippery after rain.

Once again, you would think I would remember this fact too. The grass and mud on the side of the bank were an issue for about a second. I believe I recovered nicely; I did not fall all the way down, get wet or lose the grip on my camera. Wearing hiking boots really should be my priority.

The Black Swimming Swarm

When I finally was close enough, I realized the black swarm swimming in different directions was baby bullheads. I am certain the little black bullheads have a proper name. Sitting on the side of the creek bank, I was mesmerized by the swimming flow of the hundreds of baby bullheads.

Baby Bullheads
They were fascinating to watch. I was glad I was able to get close enough (after a couple mishaps) to identify the black swimming swarm.

 

 

Until next time….peace

 

 

 

Natural Beauty

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful-

an endless prospect of magic and wonder”

Ansel Adams

I was out walking around the backfield when I came across this young doe standing in the middle of the Queen’s Anne. The little fawn still has spots. I truly hope she grows more before the Michigan winter sets in.

Until next time…..peace

Blanding’s Turtle

Wandering around the wooded, marshy area, I came across a unique turtle. From my research, I believe the turtle is a Blanding’s Turtle. I am still researching the endangered turtle. As I find more information, I will share.

Until next time….peace