Posts Tagged ‘nature’

I have been traveling in North Dakota a recently and had the good fortune to run across one of my favorite weather phenomena — hoarfrost. Hoarfrost is a heavy coating of ice that is typically deposited on vegetation leading to a winter wonderland appearance.  As the temperature of moist air drops its ability to hold moisture is reduced. When the air temperature is above freezing, dew forms. At temperatures fall below freezing the moisture in saturated air may condense directly to ice (hoarfrost).  Here are some photos of hoarfrost in North Dakota.

Hoarfrost1

Hoafrost2

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0023-Edit

Trip to 4Bears - December 04, 2014 - 0013-Edit

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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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 137

I was out with my camera recently having no intention of photographing ducks when I ran into a duck and her ducklings. It was a beautiful day. I had a fully charged battery in my camera as well as a large memory card and, most important, a willingness to wait and watch for several hours to see what might be seen. In summary, I saw both more and less than I expected and hope for.  There was no troop of duckling waddling down to the water and launching themselves off from shore as a small flotilla, which would have been fun but is also visible enough so that it has been photographed a lot. What I captured instead were images like this one – a duckling exercising its wings. I’m sure this is a common enough event in the life of a duckling but it isn’t so in your face cool (like a duckling flotilla) that it gets a great deal of photographic attention. I don’t recall having seen a photo of this necessary little piece of a duckling’s life before, so in that sense I captured more than I expected. I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I did.

I have two contributions to this week’ s Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story. My first involves the immature Bald Eagle shown here and the split second is a very small fraction of one as the eagle is poised to strike the water hoping to catch its primary food source, a fish. This eagle was successful but somewhere between 80%-90% of such efforts are not.

Bald Eagles - January 10, 2014 - 235

Cherokee Fall - October 26, 2013 - 062a-EditA

Atmospheric literally and metaphorically – this photo of Cherokee Marsh, the wetland north of Madison, is my contribution to this week’s Word a Week Challenge.

Word of Warning: For those who are unusually squeamish the third photo in my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes might be a little much.

I have been spending time with the bald eagles that are wintering along the Wisconsin River near Prairie du Sac. The bald eagles’ days encompass a variety of cycles. One of these is the feeding cycle — hunting, catching and eating enough to keep them alive. The eagles’ prey is generally fish. The three shots that follow show a bald eagle as it captures a fish from the Wisconsin River, brings the fish back to a safe place in a tree along the river and eats it.

The Capture

Bald Eagles - January 10, 2014 - 68-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit

The Return

Bald Eagle Returns to Tree With Fish - January 10, 2014 - 43

The dinner

Bald Eagle Feeding - 43