It was a day not at all like today, that first perfect day of spring. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a breath of wind. An apple tree up ahead was completely covered in blossoms. As I drew nearer I could see… I could see… Yes! It’s a Baltimore Oriole and he’s in that apple tree slurping nectar from its blossoms. What a great day this is indeed! It would be better though if he let me approach and take some photos. And he did. No one else must have gotten the memo about the weather today because the bog was completely devoid of human activity, it was just me and this apple tree, and one friendly little oriole.
Here are some more macro photos from last weekend. I just love the Canon 100mm f2.8L macro for this type of work! Tomorrow we will get back to the birds.
According to my handy dandy, highly accurate weather app it was supposed to be sunny last weekend. So the night before, I excitedly wiped memory cards and wiped down my lenses in preparation for a big day of shooting. The sun has hardly shone here in a month, I thought to myself as I brushed the cobwebs off my cold weather gear. The next morning I got out of bed and raced to the window, only to find… fa’, fa’, fa’ FOG!?!?!?! Nooooo!!! But, being ever the optimist, I remembered one thing about the bog: there is always something there to photograph. So I grabbed my macro gear and set out in search of some tiny interesting looking plant matter. The first thing I noticed was a dead, dried up Queen Anne’s Lace, interesting maybe, but hardly worth photographing. As I moved along in the fog photographing all sorts of tiny plants, I noticed the QAL’s were becoming more and more photogenic, almost as if created by human hands and definitely very artistic. So now it became a game to find the most perfect Queen Anne’s Lace, and I got so into it that I almost didn’t notice a very nearby Pileated Woodpecker hammering away on a tree. In spite of the fog it was still a great day of shooting, but I think I need a new weather app.
I’ve written before about goldfinches and their complete lack of etiquette at the dinner table, and now I’m absolutely certain we can lump House Finches into that conversation as well. Finches are just the messiest eaters in the bird world but it looks like they really enjoy doing it! I used to think the red markings on male House Finches were part of their plumage, but now I’m not sure it isn’t just food stains!
Here’s a Fox Squirrel striking a decidedly squirrelly pose.
When I was a kid a long time ago, not like recently or anything, I used to have this recurring dream about arrowheads. In this dream I had a time machine and I would travel back in time right into the middle of the greatest Native American battles. While I was there I would notate where stray arrows had stuck into trees. Then, back in the present time, I would locate those trees and pluck the arrowheads out! That’s how I hunted for arrowheads in my dreams, in real life I’ve never found one. This book contains 28 pages of expertly photographed arrowheads from the family collection. The iBook is free and the printed book from The Bookpatch is $8. The links below will take you directly to each book, and those links can also be found on the right hand sidebar of the homepage.
Here is an extremely rare and very exciting find. Ancient cave art depicting the creature has been studied and found to be legitimate. Scientists have been searching for this bird for decades. In another exclusive brought to you by birds of the bog.com, I give you the two headed goose! Note the wide stance which is characteristic of all two headed birds. Another attribute of two headed birds is the… wait a minute, that might be… it is, it’s two geese. Rats. Here’s two geese on a log. I gotta stop watching bigfoot shows on cable.
Meet my favorite bird, the Magnolia Warbler. Ooops, I guess it was just four days ago that I decided I wasn’t gonna pick favorites. But this bird has been with me since my bird beginning, well, not my way, way back bird beginning, but a more recent bird beginning. Let’s call it a re-beginning. It was just a few years ago when I decided I needed warblers in my life. I had never seen one before but they had always fascinated me so I started my warbler research, the where and when, mainly. I was out in the yard later that spring, practicing with my camera when he flew up, my first warbler! It was a Magnolia Warbler, and I’ve been hooked ever since! The photo I took that day is featured on page 5 of my new book “Birds of the Bog Season One.” Wink wink, shameless plug. So now you can see how it might be difficult for me not to call this particular bird my favorite, but besides that, she doesn’t need to know that I’ve got hundreds of favorites anyway.
While traveling the world in search of rare and exotic wildlife I like to keep an eye out for affordable printing. What I had found so far was $180, $100, $80 to print my book, that’s way too much! But recently in a far away land called Arizona, I found a place that will print my book for $40 + shipping and handling. The button below takes you directly to it in The Book Patch book store, and there is also a button on the sidebar to the right. Enjoy!
Season One Now in Print!
Is… is he flipping me the bird!?!? Naw, that’s the ring finger. I’d expect that kind of behavior from the Red Squirrels but not from a Fox Squirrel.
Like any parent who is genetically predisposed with the inability to pick a favorite kid, so it goes with me and my birds. But if I had to pick a favorite from the fall migration, it would have to be the American Redstart. This girl was everywhere in the fall, wherever I went, there she was. On this particular day I could see her deep in the woods and paying no attention to me. So I snapped off a few shots and boy did that get her attention! She raced on over to investigate, stopping just on the other side of the path. As if that wasn’t cute enough, she proceeded to cross the path and perch on a branch a mere inches from my face. Looking me over carefully with that characteristic warbler head tilt until she was absolutely sure of my intentions, she then proceeded back across the trail, and back to dancing around among the leaves.
These three mallard drakes spent all day working on this comedy routine to try and impress the ladies. They failed. I looped it a few times because it just seems to get funnier every time I watch it.
This here little dude is a Spring Azure Butterfly. At only three quarters of an inch tall, he could be the smallest butterfly you’ll ever see. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I spotted one, because if there’s one thing I KNOW about nature, it’s that butterflies are way bigger than that! I have since come to understand that they actually exist in all different shapes and sizes.
Red Squirrels are some of the loudest, most obnoxious critters at the bog, but every once in a while one comes calmly and quietly down the side of a tree towards me.
Some birds might be a little bit protective of their favorite bountiful bush, but not this Gray Catbird. Visitors are welcome here, especially during fall warbler migration when he could potentially hear dozens of strange and wonderful new voices to mimic. I’m a little surprised I don’t hear his giggling photographer call this time of year.
I was hanging out at the bog one fine summer day, probably contemplating the meaning of life or some other deep philosophical thought. No, food, I was definitely thinking about food. Anyway, I noticed a pair of feet in front of me but I couldn’t tell who it was because the rest of him was obscured by leaves. Carefully and quietly I leaned over to try and catch a glimpse. Further and further I stretched until finally our eyes did meet, it’s the photographer! I love that dude, but why do I always fly away!?!
There’s something so peaceful to me about a dove fast asleep on a log.
SQUIRREL!!! I mean, uhh… peanuts?
This baby Cedar Waxwing is doing all he can to keep up with his group, figure out what’s going on and keep a watchful eye on the photographer that apparently nobody else has noticed.
Most American Robins don’t fly south for winter. Those that summer in Canada will migrate to the US, and some southern birds will go down to Mexico, but for the most part they stay right where they are. Sort of. You’re probably thinking Well, I don’t see them in the winter so they must migrate, right? Nope, they’re still here, they’re just less conspicuous. When the ground freezes, their primary food source, worms, become difficult to get so they set out from the cities into the country in search of fruit and insects. When the ground thaws, they return in droves to their favorite yards to announce the official start of spring once again.
At first glance it would appear that this Ruby-throated Hummingbird was none to pleased with my presence, but what the photos don’t show is that she approached me. At first from the far side of this bush and then closer and closer, until she was right in front of her photographer pal. Or maybe she was moving in for the kill.
Here’s a scrawny little Red Squirrel who’s clearly not ready for winter. Hopefully he’s not trying to rely on his good looks to get by, only a few of us can pull that off.
A few days ago we looked at a bird that actually migrates TO the midwest for winter, the White-throated Sparrow. Well here’s another sparrow just crazy enough, or maybe lazy enough to spend winters here, the Dark-eyed Junco. It seems to me that whenever this bird arrives in the fall, winter is never far behind. Case in point: Last week when this little dude showed up it was sixty degrees, the next day… 25 degrees! Dang juncos!!! And a day after that there were a dozen juncos at my feeder. That can’t be good.
Snaaaake! Snake? In November? Bog snakes think it’s hilarious to slither right over my feet on their way across the trail.
A few weeks ago I was bidding farewell to a pair of my favorite bog sparrows, the Eastern Towhees, when I realized they weren’t alone. There was another pair of favorites in that bush, the White-throated Sparrows. At that moment, bird migration struck me as even more fascinating than usual. Here were my towhees preparing to head south for winter after spending all summer at the bog. At the same time this pair of white-throats was arriving from clear across Canada to spend the winter here. These four birds travel thousands of miles migrating across North America to different parts of the continent, crossing paths maybe twice a year, and right now they are all right in front of me, in the same little bush.