Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Visit with a Waterthrush

I identified this bird in the title as a waterthrush.  This much I know is accurate however I am unsure as to whether the bird pictured here is a Louisiana Waterthrush or a Northern Waterthrush.  After studying the bird's markings I am leaning towards the Louisiana however anyone's input would be much appreciated.  I read on one site that the song was the best way to differentiate between the species but alas the hearing loss I suffer denies me that means of identification. 

I remember well my first encounter with a waterthrush.  A few years ago my wife and I were visiting with my niece Amy and her husband on early spring day.  After lunch it was suggested that we go to a public natural area near their home that was quite popular with wildflower enthusiast.  As we were hiking along the trail Amy began looking intently at a nearby stream and soon spotted the Louisiana Waterthrush.  Its singing had alerted her to its presence.

A couple weeks ago while crossing the creek that borders our farm, I began spotting a waterthrush frequently.  One evening last week I decided to make an attempt to photograph the bird and was pleased to find it seeming cared little about my presence as it hopped about the rocks bobbing its butt and flipping leaves in search of prey.  I enjoyed the time spent with this member of the warbler family and hope that you enjoy the images I came away with as well.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

SNP Whitetails Revisited

 On a recent morning my brother, Willard, and I ventured down to Shenandoah National Park to check on the whitetail situation.  SNP once was our go-to place to photograph mature whitetail bucks however two years ago an intensive collaring/tagging and CWD testing program brought our buck photography there to a screeching halt.  Practically overnight all of commonly seen the large bucks were sporting large collars with even larger number placards and transmitters or large white ear tags while others had strangely disappeared.

Fortunately this day was to be different.   Well before sunrise we encountered a large buck that allowed us to trail along photographing him for over an hour before finally retiring to the woodland to bed up for the day.  What began as a day with low expectation turned out to be a exceptionally memorable morning with a beautiful animal!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Whitetails

With summer heat at its peak, already signs of the approaching autumn are beginning to appear in the Whitetail deer.  Fawns have grown quickly since being born in late May and early June. The fawn's spots are beginning to fade and the some of the adults are losing their red summer hair as the soft gray hair of their new winter coat begins to appear.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Photo Session with a Green Heron

Green Herons are often found hunting along the water's edge meets heavy cover.  I was fortunate to find a open area where Green Heron were hunting nearly every morning.  Taking advantage of the opportunity I set up before daylight and waited.  As the morning began to brighten a heron arrived and began stalking the shallows long before there was enough light for photographs.  Fortunately the bird stayed allowing me to observe and photograph it for nearly two hours. 

 Fluffing, or shaking




 And more stalking

 Making the catch

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August Projects

Those who regularly follow Country Captures will recall a series of post last year showing the repairs to the inside of our barn.  This year the focus would be on the front.  

The weatherboarding remained in decent shape however the sliding doors were badly rotted.

I decided that the best approach would be to build new doors, install new door track, and face the barn with metal siding.

The metal siding changed the appearance of the old structure considerably.

One cannot forget the garden during the month of August with so much good stuff ripening and maturing.  The red beets did very well this year.  

When all was done on beet canning day we had pickled 49 quarts.

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.