Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fallen Fruit

The days grow progressively shorter as summer melds into autumn.  With much of the growing season behind us many of the fruits are ripening and wildlife is enjoying the bounty of the season.  During one of my evening walks I encountered this cottontail eating a pear that had dropped early along the roadside.   

At another place along the same back road I spotted a cottontail eating a fallen peach.
While peaches and pears are not everyday staples in the cottontail diet, these little critters are not about to pass up the bonanza of fallen fruit.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Raystown Lake Morning

Towing the boat to Raystown Lake early Saturday morning I arrived to find the lake shrouded in fog. 
When the fog lifted I noticed this cobweb on a shoreline bush.  With the sun behind it the intricate water-beaded pattern sparkled

Since Raystown Lake is an unlimited horsepower lake the boat wakes can make it difficult to fish open water from a small boat.  To help alleviate this problem I spend much of my time in no-wake zones.  While fishing in the no-wake zones helps considerably, not everyone's definition of no-wake is the same.

Most of the waterbirds I encountered spooked well out of camera range.  This double-crested cormorant was an exception and allowed me to approach.

Double-crested Cormorant taking off.

As noon approached recreational boaters cranked up the horsepower kicking up the waves.  With the boat wakes rocking and rolling it was time for me and my little tin boat to head for home.


Friday, August 23, 2013

As Summer Slides By........

A flock of Canada Geese swim in a farm pond while an Immature Bald Eagle watches from the bank. 
When I noticed this scene as my wife and I drove down a dirt back-country road, the geese were what caught my attention.  I paused to observe them noting that the young of the year are fully feathered and nearly as large as their parents; but the surprise of the moment was when I realized that the bird on the land was not just another goose but an eagle instead!  Was it watching the geese hoping for a meal of fatted goose? 

Common Wood Nymph
While taking one of my frequent evening walks a butterfly fluttered in the roadside bushes and chose a landing site that was open and well lit.  My constant companion on these walks, a camera with the 100-400mm lens attached proved adequate to make a good hand-held shot of these normally reclusive butterflies.

While spending an evening in a local wetland I was startled by the nearby splashing sound of a doe and her twins crossing the shallow water.  Unable to photograph them in the water because of screening branches I had to wait until they passed into an opening.  The clicking of the shutter drew the mother's attention for a moment before she moved on.

But a biting fly caused the one fawn to flick its tail and bite at it's hip.  While it appears that the fawn was looking directly at me it was the biting insect that had its undivided attention. 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wildlife in the Garden

Bull Elk, Elk County Pa
September 2012
 When wildlife is mentioned oft times our thoughts picture one of the glamorous species of wild

Bumblebee on an annual Zinnia
 However we are surrounded by untamed creatures, many of which make areas that we consider home their home as well.

Skippers on a Zinnia
To invite appealing wildlife species to our yards and gardens plant some flowers.  Not only will the flowers brighten the landscape but they will provide food and cover to a multitude of wild creatures.

Immature Ruby-throated Hummingbird on a Canna Lily
Hummingbirds as well as butterflies and bees will be attracted to the sweet nectar.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Growing Fast! Whitetail Fawns Nursing

It has been a little over two months since the birth of this year's whitetail fawns.  During the first few weeks of life the wobbly fawns do not travel much, remaining hidden most of the time.  Their forays with their mothers become longer as they grow stronger.  By August, the fawns are spending much of their time with their mothers.  Early morning is an excellent time to observe nursing activity in meadows and crop fields where deer frequent.

Excited fawns pummel the doe's udder as they compete for milk.  Watching the more fractious nursing sessions; I sometimes wonder how the doe manages to maintain her balance.

Within just a few minutes, perhaps 2-3; the fawns will empty the does udder and she will extricate herself from the exuberant fawns.

After a morning of nursing and grazing a fawn relaxes in the wet grass of a dew laden meadow.

As the fawn's grow older the nursing sessions will become shorter until finally they will be weaned. Still some three months away, weaning will take place in early to mid November.  Until then the fawns will be able to enjoy their nutritious treat and on occasion whitetail observers will the treated to the fast paced action of a deer nursing session.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Versitile Lens

A Trusting Cottontail
While I would never argue that for the very sharpest images that nothing can compare with the expensive prime lenses there are times when a smaller, less expensive option will fill the bill quite nicely.
Day Lilly
Since using the larger primes virtually requires a tripod, they are not suitable to carry during excursions where something other than photography is the main purpose.
A Cumulonimbus cloud rises in the eastern sky at sundown
It is for those times outdoors when photography is secondary that I strap the camera around my neck with the versatile 100-400 F5.6 IS USM attached.  With it I am ready for incidental close encounters with wildlife, flower shots, and in some cases even scenic shots.
The photos posted here were all made during my evening walks where exercise is the primary purpose with photography being secondary.  These shots were made with a Canon 6D and the handy little 100-400. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Grasshopper Sparrow

While taking my evening walk I spotted a grasshopper sparrow perched on the weathered remains of an old fence post.  The bird did not seem unduly alarmed so I slowly approached it one to two steps at a time until I was less then fifteen feet away.

I was carrying a Canon 60D / 100-400mm lens and shooting handheld.  Using the image stabilization at ISO 500, F5.6, 1/320th shutter I was able to obtain reasonably sharp images; at least sharp enough to see that the little sparrow was living up to its name with two grasshoppers grasp firmly in it beak.