Saturday, August 28, 2010

Change is in the Air

As the sweltering summer weather gives way to cooler August nights, seasonal change slowly creeps over the countryside.  The change is quite evident in the local whitetail deer herd as their thin red summer coat is nearly gone; replaced by a soft velvety nap of new winter hair.

Now, instead of spending all of their time in the meadows feeding the young bucks are beginning to exhibit the very early onset of rutting behaviour.  The rut is still two and one half months away but already this buck is displaying the lip-curl or flehmen response.   

Although their antlers are still in velvet it does not stop two young bucks from engaging in a friendly sparring match.

In an unusual move this buck strikes his opponent with a downward swing of his front leg.  Striking each other with legs and hooves is quite common among deer as they jockey for herd status but this is the first time I have observed a buck landing leg strikes during a sparring match.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Murder in the Meadow

My early Sunday morning was interrupted by the ringing of the phone.  Answering it I found Willard on the other end informing me that he had just discovered a nice buck lying dead in the creek bottom meadow.  Although I had observed this buck numerous times I had yet to encounter him in a good photographic situation.  Now all hope of a future encounter was dashed.

The arrow points to the dead whitetail lying in the field.  The killing shot was delivered from near the camera position.  As can be easily discerned, the house in the background could easily have been in the line of fire.  This building is a hunting camp and during the summer members use it as a country getaway with families vacationing here, and that was the case last night when the thoughtless predators unleashed their deadly projectile into the darkness.

The buck lies in the meadow; an unnecessary wasted life. 

My finger points to where the bullet entered the buck's skull.  With no obvious signs of injury I had to look closely to discover the tiny spot of blood at the base of the bucks left antler.  Pressing my finger into the area forced blood and brain material from the tiny hole where the bullet had passed through.

Undoubtedly the buck collapsed instantly upon impact, the result of massive brain trauma, as the wildlife criminals watched while illuminating him with their powerful spotlight.  Moments after the shot they drove off without any attempt to retrieve their kill. 

The unsettling images posted here are the result of Thrill Killers; criminals who maim and kill wildlife simply for the excitement of watching a creature suffer or die.  People who perpetrate these crimes have no appreciation or concern for nature and her wild creatures; and very little for their fellow humans that they share this planet with. 

For happier Critters
Visit our friend Misty

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Harassment: Mockingbird & Red-tailed Hawk

Glancing out of the bathroom window a flurry of motion among the distant tree tops caught my attention.  Focusing my eyes upon the activity I discerned a Northern Mockingbird chasing a Red-tailed Hawk as it flew by.  A moment later the hawk landed in a tree top and I hurried for the camera. 

As I focused in on the action the Mockingbird was beginning yet another dive attack.

Firing on high-speed continuous this frame captures the mockingbird as it swooped in.

 At the last moment of the dive-bomb attack the mockingbird reverses direction while the hawk seemingly did not even blink. 

Following this attack the mockingbird lit to the left of the hawk staying there until the hawk flew away.

The quality of these images leaves much to be desired as they were taken at over 100 yards, handheld with the 100-400mm Canon lens in poor light and heavily cropped. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whitetail Expressions



Please Comment & Caption this Whitetail Expression!

For Critters of all Kinds
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mid-Summer Whitetails

Mid Summer and the whitetail fawns are no longer the awkward leggy gangling creatures of two months ago.  Very alert and extremely agile, the fawns are now spotted miniatures of their mothers.

A whitetail buck's neck shows patches of short gray hair beginning to show as the red summer hair is already beginning to be replaced with the new insulated coat. 

Seasons change one day at a time.  Although the mid point of summer only recently passed, the whitetail deer's preparations for cool winds of autumn is already underway.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Critters at the Lake

As the first warm rays of the morning sun fell across the lake I spotted a young whitetail buck feeding along the shoreline.  Moving torwards him using the quiet electric boat motor the buck allowed me to approach to withing about fifty yards before he alerted.  The warmth of the morning sun greatly enhanced the coloration of the buck's reddish summer coat.

A short time after photographing the buck I noticed a lone duck sitting well away from the shoreline.  As I moved into camera range I was able to identify it as a Pied-billed Grebe.  Although our area is listed as being in the Pied-billed Grebe's breeding range this was my first confirmed sighting at any time other than during the spring & fall migrations.

For more Critters of all Kinds
Visit our friend Misty's

Friday, August 06, 2010

E-Z Slide Bunk Pads: Product Review

Earlier this summer I posted a series of photographs of my aluminum boat during a recarpeting project.  I have pulled this old boat accessing fishing and photography waters for nearly twenty years.  Its been as far south as North Carolina and north to Central Ontario. 

During all of those years the one thing I was never satisfied with was the ease of unloading.  Originally the boat sat on the carpet covered bunks you see pictured here (E-Z Slide pads are attached over original carpet).  The bunks handled the boat well but when it came to launching it was necessary to back the trailer in to where the boat began to float.  During periods of dry weather many of the river launches became difficult and sometimes impossible to use. 

Over the years I tried two different roller systems and although they did make it possible to push the boat off, each had their shortcomings and did not prove satisfactory. 

Often as I would leaf through the fishing & marine catalogs I would pause and read the information about the E-Z Slide trailer bunk pads.  The catalog description did promise easier loading and unloading but I wasn't convinced that they were the answer to my problem. 

With the bunk carpet becoming heavily worn, I decided rather than recarpet the bunks I would spend the $40 for a set of E-Z Slides from Bass Pro, at least they would protect the carpet and perhaps make the boat a little easier to move.

Now that I have used the E-Z Slides for a few months I can honestly say that this is one product that has exceeded all expectations!   The boat now slides on and off the trailer with ease.  Now I can easily push the boat off the trailer without having the boat even touching the water and loading is easily accomplished with only one hand turning the winch.

The only negative point I can make is that I should have installed the E-Z Slides years ago!

Please note:
I am not receiving any compensation for this post nor have I been in contact with the manufacturer or distributor concerning compensation. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Spending some time in a local thistle patch rewarded me with this image of a crisp clean Yellow Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly.  The Eastern Swallowtail is among our most common butterflies, both the yellow and the black are present now is good numbers.

Tattered and Torn, a swallowtail feeds on a thistle flower.

Shooting butterflies on this particular evening was somewhat frustrating as seemingly every time I was able to set up a shot the wind would begin gusting.  The shots posted here were both made with a Canon 100-400mm and 25mm extension tube.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Eyes Bigger than its Mouth

Imagine my fishing buddies surprise when he retrieved a trolling lure that wasn't tracking straight to find this tiny bluegill firmly attached!

Learning that some decent sized perch were holding in a shallow area of a local lake; Paul and I decided to give it a try Saturday morning.  The perch were cooperative and a few hours of trolling produced the makings for a few meals of delicious pan fried fish.

The photo-op of the morning occurred when Paul reeled in this hungry bluegill.  Keep in mind that the lure pictured here is only 1.5" (38mm) long.

Hopefully this little guy learned a good lesson and will not be trying to eat meals too large for it to handle :)