Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mid Summer Images

As July draws to a close the heat of the sun can be felt the moment it rises above the horizon.  High humidity and hot temperatures dominate the weather now forcing most daytime wildlife movement to occur either early mornings or late evening.

I visited the site of the former Meadow Grounds Lake shortly after sunrise today.  Watching it for an hour the only wildlife I noted were a number of sparrows and a group of killdeer.  Even with the best of luck it will be some years yet before we see construction begin.

After a drier than normal spring we more than made up for it with an extremely wet June.  While the wet weather was great for the corn crop it played havoc with the local farmers attempting to make hay.

Soon the cool winds of autumn will begin to blow but for now I am relishing these lazy hazy days of Summer! 









Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nature's Bounty

July, a month known for its hot days and high humidity, is a time for harvesting nature's bounty.  In our area the wild red raspberries are beginning to ripen.  Back in the 70's black raspberries and high black berries were very common.  Our family would pick and preserve them by the gallons.  Today the Japanese Wineberry has succeeded in becoming the predominate wild berry and can be found along roadside and in forest openings.  One does not need to be a land owner to enjoy the bounty of wild berries; picking berries on Pennsylvania State Game Lands is lawful. 




Veggie gardens are also producing at this time of year.

Home canning is a simple way to preserve some produce for future use.




Friday, June 26, 2015

It's a Vertical World

A selection of vertical images taken from my mornings afield this week.

While the vast majority of my wildlife images are shot with the camera in the horizontal orientation, today's post seeks to mix things up a bit with a collection of images that lend themselves well to the vertical format.






Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Whitetails

As the first day of summer nears and the daytime temperature reaches into the 90's, the whitetail deer are in their full summer pattern.  Adult bucks are traveling in bachelor groups and provide outstanding photo opportunities when encountered.  And the bucks are only part of the story for by now most of the season's fawns have been born and are beginning to travel about.  The following photos were captured while spending a few hours this morning sitting quietly between two creek crossings.  








Sunday, May 24, 2015

Muskrats: A Glimpse into Their World


 Recently I had to good fortune to locate a family of muskrats in a location that lends itself well to photography.  Muskrats are both valued for their warm soft fur and detested for their burrowing that ruins man-made ponds.  This family of muskrats are inhabiting a stream where their burrows cause no harm.

Foraging and grooming as depicted in the following photos occupies most of the time muskrats spend exposed above ground.  Life is always uncertain for a muskrat as death can come at any time or place whether killed in its burrow by a mink or caught up by a passing eagle as it swims on the surface.  In the last photo you will see the pointed snout of a snapping turtle just breaking the surface.  When the snapper began lurking near the muskrat burrows the muskrat activity ceased, a sign that the muskrats considered the turtle to be a creditable threat.
 








 

 
 





Sunday, May 17, 2015

Look Ma, No Hands!

Wildlife babies can be quite entertaining as they explore their fresh new world.  An otherwise uneventful morning change for the better when a young fox squirrel followed its mother to the feeder.  The little squirrel busied itself climbing trees and hopping around while the mother stuffed herself at the feeder. 

 


 
 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Arrival of New Life on the Farm

A good friend recently e-mailed asking if everything was alright.  He lives quite a few states away and became concerned when he noticed that Country Captures had not been updated since March 31st.  Frankly time had slipped away without me realizing that nearly a month had passed since I had last shared with you.  This post is one example of the reasons why I have neglected the blog in the past months.
 
When I arrived at the farm Friday evening the first thing I noticed was the cow I had named Bandit standing apart from the herd.  It was obvious that she was in labor.  Notice how she is kicking her belly, a sure sign that labor has commenced.  While labor can run into hours, with a mature cow it can proceed rapidly if all is well.  The first photo was taken at 4:44 pm with the second taken just 33 minutes later.  While it takes a year or more for a newborn human baby to take its first steps, the newborn bull calf was standing up 26 minutes after birth and taking his first shaky steps just nine minutes later! 
 
So while I haven't been posting much recently, all is well and I am still enjoying observing and photographing the miracle of life outdoors.
 
 









Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nose to Nose

Down on the farm everybody is nose to nose!

The spring has brought the wood frogs to the vernal pools to spawn.  Nose to nose, this pair seem particularly interested in one another.

A pair of young calves pause to nuzzle a moment before returning to cavorting about the pasture.
 
Being ready to capture special moments can make the difference between snapshots and memorable photographs.
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Time Creek Sitting

Spring is officially here.  Sometimes it feels like it while at other times its hard to discern it from winter.
 
With half an inch of new snow on the ground, Saturday morning was one of those times that felt like winter.  The ice has thawed from the creek bordering our family farm and that is where I placed my little pop-up blind in hopes of photographing passing waterfowl.  During the course of the morning I was entertained by hooded mergansers, wood ducks, an immature bald eagle, Canada geese, a muskrat, and an early arriving phoebe.  Also present in good numbers were the usual year around residents; juncos chickadees', cardinals, titmice, and blue jays with red bellied woodpeckers drumming in the background.  The following are a few Saturday's better creek sitting photos.