Friday, June 26, 2009

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly

I love shooting different things that I don't necessarily know about. Butterflies are one subject matter that I severely lack knowledge of. After shooting something I know nothing about, I google and research and find out all kinds of interesting things. So not only do I now know this new butterfly's name, I also know that it loves milkweed flowers, in which I didn't even know that they flowered at all. I also learned that pollination for these is very tricky, but I won't get into that. Google it if you are interested, it's quite fascinating. Anyway, I had a two-fer of learning for this day! I loved it!

Click the photo for a good look at its cute face!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Day in the Life of Turtles

There once were 2 turtles sitting on a log in a pond. The smaller turtle was sitting on the larger turtle sitting on that log. The smaller one named Dexter, depended on the larger one named Ernie to show him the ways of the world...

Dexter asked Ernie if it was safe to climb the log higher. Ernie said ofcourse it was safe for big turtles, but for smaller turtles it was best to stay close. Dexter decided to take the walk anyway and climbed over Ernie to the log that stretched up to the sky.

Dexter was getting quite excited while climbing over Ernie to get to his big adventure, that he was stepping all over Ernie's face in his big hurry...

Ernie had to seek the cover of his shell just to protect himself from his little buddy's carelessness... Dexter finally gets over the hurdle of his friend turtle, and makes his way up as Ernie watches with anticipation for his little buddy...

All of a sudden Dexter loses his footing, falls and disappears into the pond, as Ernie looks on, regretting that he didn't talk his buddy out of something he was too small for...Then all of a sudden... Dexter pops up at the side of the log and tells Ernie that he made it!

Ernie was so happy to see Dex and was really proud of him too! But, with that, also came anger and he told Dexter just how worried he was that he went and pulled this stunt and that he was lucky to even be alive, that plenty of creatures could have made a meal out of him, so he should thank his lucky stars...

and then Ernie feeling guilty for being so hard on Dexter, tells his friend that he was a warrior and that it took alot of guts to do what he did, but should be really careful when he is out in the big pond alone like that...

Dexter then tells Ernie that he appreciates his worrisome manner, but that he needs to learn from his own mistakes, and that he learned that he shouldn't rush things, and just act like any other turtle and take his time and hone his skills...

So they walked off together to discover another log to conquer and learn a few more life lessons together as the best of friends! The End!

Bullfrog Tadpoles and the Great Egret

I had posted a week or so back about a Great Egret fishing and catching mudpuppies. I was wrong. It's back was turned in all of my shots, so my skills were a bit off. This time, as the fishing was taking place, I could see the catch pretty good, and after googling, it seems that the creature catch is Bullfrog Tadpoles. They are some giant tadpoles, as they measure about the size of a mans hand, so the Egret is getting a pretty good meal, and no wonder he came back for more! Here are a few shots:


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Bloom

One of my favorite times of the year is when the Lily Pads have bloomed. I didn't have any luck finding bullfrogs, but had a great time chasing butterflies and dragons too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Taking the camera out to shoot some lotus flowers, my partner in crime Cuttidad was keeping herself busy with dragonflies. The images she was getting were great, so I joined in the fun and grabbed my large lens since those little guys tend to keep their distance.

What I didn't notice until reviewing the images, was the "screened" eyes. How cool! (click on this image to see the "screen" up close.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flower Feeders

I caught a few flower friends, but have no specifics, as my clover flower and butterfly skills are nil. What do you say blogger buddies? Can you I.D. better than me?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Portrait of a Snapper

Rounding a pathway, I spot a Snapping Turtle about 15 feet from the waters edge, slowly making it's way back to the wet. I snap a few, but didn't like the angle, and not wanting to cut him off of his direction, I settle for some portraits. I found his eyes to be very interesting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Northern Mockingbird

I haven't seen a Mockingbird in about 3 years, so this discovery has been a long time coming, and it was not camera-shy thankfully.

After spending about 5 minutes watching it fly from one sentry post to the next, and listening to it's vast collection of mocks, I discovered it was feeding some young in a viny snag atop of some chain-link fencing. (I'm sure one of you guys know what type of wild vines they are.)

I stayed for quite a bit, attempting some flight shots, but the angle of my car was all wrong, so I left with plenty of blurry ones. I was also trying to get some feeding shots, but the lil bugger kept disappearing under the vines too quick for clicks. Pretty cool none-the-less.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Belted Kingfisher

A close encounter with this Kingfisher was a complete surprise as I was a little shocked to find it fishing a small ditch. I drove past him, gasped, turned around, waited for traffic to clear, and then approached. He was a great model! (I blew out the whites a bit, forgetting to clear my settings from the previous shoot...Doh!)

The kingfisher species is one of only a few, where the female is more brightly colored than the male.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The usual hotspot for newly arriving Dickcissels has not produced in the past week or so, so I gave another locale a try, and boy did I see them! You heard them everywhere you went, and some of them chose to have their picture taken!

I'm sure you will all agree that these are strikingly handsome birds!

Most had alot to say...

And others just showed off!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Test Shots

For years and years, I have been wanting that dream lens...
You know the one...
You have one too...

Well, I finally broke down and bought something I cannot justify, but you only live once right? I bought a Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS Lens. I also bought the 2x teleconverter. It's a passion, what can I say...

Anyway, it arrived yesterday, so as the UPS truck was pulling away, I yanked open the box, connected the lens and burned out of the driveway.

I just needed to shoot this bad boy to see what it could do...

I found this Egret catching a Mudpuppy! Although he would not turn around, I loved the detail of his rump with the breeding plumes blowing.

I found this bumble bee throwing pollen on his back! (These blogger shots do no justice...Click for detail!)

and I caught this Killdeer landing.

Am I happy with my purchase? Almost completely! The downside is it is quite heavy. I can still hand hold the setup but it gets tiring pretty quickly. I guess I am in for a workout, but I welcome the pain!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cattle Egrets

Things have been quite slow until yesterday. A siting of Cattle Egrets and a Little Blue Heron enticed me to check the location out, since I was about 30 miles away. I'm so glad I made the trip, as there were lots of hides for me to take advantage of, although army-crawling was involved, and sooo worth the energy. The Little Blue was not present while I was there, but 5 Cattle Egrets at pretty close range made it very exciting.