Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

This is my entry for this weeks “Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge – Weather.”The Thunderstorm shown is in North Dakota.

Thunderstorm on the Great Plains - September 13, 2014

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I was recently in North Dakota visiting my father-in-law who lives in Minot. The major winter chill has hit there just as hard as it has hit most of the rest of the country although the area has avoided much of the heavy snow. The cold (temperatures often in the low single digits) has been only part of the story in the area. The wind has persistently been over 25 miles per hour with gusts between 30-50 miles per hour. The resulting wind chill has often resulted in temperatures in the teens and twenties below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

My first photo is of a horse as it tries to get some food from a frozen field. It isn’t snowing heavily, but the snow is blowing around causing near white out conditions.

Along County Hwy 3 (Snow Day) - November 17, 2014 - 158-2

In this photo, the wind has died down for a bit. I simply liked the composition.

Along County Hwy 3 - November 17, 2014 - 001-2

After the harvest (in what appeared to be a relatively rare corn field), the cattle go through the field to eat what they can find.  Again, there was not much snow, but it was bitterly cold with the wind chill.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0019-Edit

Finally, some rays of hope — the forecast indicates warmer weather within the next week.

Along Hwy 2 - November 17, 2014 - 0067-Edit

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

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0099

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).

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 200 Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 285

 

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

 

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0020 Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0027

Female Downy Woodpecker

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0040Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0079

Male Cardinal

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 178-Edit

 

Female Cardinal

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 302-Edit Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 306

Goldfinch

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0103

 

Mystery Woodpecker

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 0031

Mystery Bird 2

Bird Blind - October 22, 2014 - 335

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

 

Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 136_7_8pmatrix-Edit-Edit

Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 709 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 680 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 670 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 637 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 604

 

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.

Ladybug

Although we normally have large numbers of monarch butterflies coming through our area starting in mid- to late-August last year we had very few. I was concerned that we might have even fewer given the loud noise and clouds of dust that have been one of the primary features of Maple Bluff during all of the ongoing construction. Wrongo (no need to check your dictionary, it is a made up word meaning I was totally wrong). There are many more monarchs than there were last year  and while I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of them during the heaviest phases of construction, it may well be that they were there while I was paying attention to the construction activities.  Here are a few shots of recent monarch activity.

This monarch butterfly is flying right next to our ongoing street  s

This monarch is flying right next to our ongoing construction

 

As I was writing this it dawned on me that the flowers had not been quite so bright this year and perhaps a coating of dust had something to do with that (at least between rains).

The dust may have helped to make more muted  pastels.

Dust or not, the monarchs’ appetites remain good.

Monarch in front garden - August 25, 2014 - 0014-2

 

 

 

This silhouette is of the maple tree in our backyard.

Silhouette of Tree