Archive for October, 2014

I recently spent a bit of time sitting in a reasonably comfortable bird blind that one of the members of my local photo club constructed.  It is a great way to get closeup photos of birds in the area and is an excellent resource.

Here are a few of my photos from my time in the bird blind. At the bottom of this post are two birds that I can’t identify (other than that one is some type of woodpecker).  I’d appreciate any information anyone can provide about these “mystery” birds.

Blue jay

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I don’t know if these are immature Blue jays but they don’t have the full-blown distinctive crest you typically associate with a Blue jay (the bird in the second photo may be developing that crest).

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Male Downy Woodpecker (in the second photo it is getting a grub out of a tree branch)


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Female Downy Woodpecker

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Male Cardinal

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Female Cardinal

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Mystery Woodpecker

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Mystery Bird 2

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Madison’s Warner Park is less than 2 miles (3 km) from my home. It is a multi-use urban park that features a small baseball stadium, soccer fields, picnic areas, large parking lots, as well as a pond, semi-natural fields and wooded areas.

The pond attracts quite a bit of wildlife. While I typically have photographed birds in and around the pond, I recently decided to spend some time watching the turtles that live in the pond. All of the turtles that I saw were painted turtles. Painted turtles are the most widespread species of turtle in North American For good or ill because the pond at Warner Park is an urban multi-use park, it is subject to an oversupply of nutrients resulting in substantial algae blooms. The pictures that follow show the turtles in the pond. Since I am not a wildlife biologist, While the pond looked pretty bad, the turtles seemed to be in pretty good shape. I imagine they were trying to peacefully sun themselves, but they spent a fair amount of their time jockeying for position on the two major logs in the area of the pond I was watching.

Three Turtles


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I was photographing some of the ornamental grasses in our yard recently when I happened to see this ladybug. Since I know that there are a lot of people who like ladybugs (although perhaps a more stylized ladybug than the actual one shown here:), I wanted to share it.


I recently visited the Cave of the Mounds, which is a limestone cave located near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin.  The cave is a designated as a National Natural Landmark, which is a program that recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features of the country in both public and private ownership. As with most caves, stalactites and stalagmites are common but the cave has a number of other  formations many of which are quite colorful and are the reason why the cave has long been promoted as the “jewel box” of major American caves.

The first photo shows a detail of a large flowstone formation: a small pool of water resting on the unusually colorful flowstone surface just after a water drop has hit the surface of the pool.

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In the following photo stalactites hang above a flow stone formation.

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Here a large stalactite reaches down towards a stalagmite.

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This photo shows the joining of a stalactite and a stalagmite.

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Finally, here is a “lily pad” formation. Lily pads are created when water droplets fall into a puddle and create a formation that appears to float on top of the water in the puddle.

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