Posts in Category: Uncategorized

Dancing on air…

Snowy Egret, St. Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery, Florida

The Snowy Egrets at the St Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery are in full breeding plumage and full breeding mode. This male is coming into a nest. I think he might have spotted an intruder…likely a Cattle Egret or another Snowy, and was making his presence known to try to dive the intruder off, so he could reclaim the nest. Fighting mad and dancing on air! Sony RX10iv at 442mm. Program mode with birds in flight modifications. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 125. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.

Special delivery

Roseate Spoonbill, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine Florida

The wild bird rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (a world class zoo despite its name) is one of the best places in the US to photograph nesting waders…including increasing numbers of Roseate Spoonbills. They are actively building nests this week and this bird flew regular sorties out and back between a pile of twigs under the trees and its nest above the boardwalk. I was not the only photographer tracking the flights. Sony RX10iv at 468mm. Program mode with birds in flight modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 250. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Worn Carolina Saddlebags

Carolina Saddlebags, Guana River Reserve, St. Augustine Florida

As I said in yesterday’s Day Poem, there were hundreds of Carolina Saddlebags dragonflies around the Education Building at Guana River Reserve in St. Augustine Florida, and I counted at least 50 over the highways between Jacksonville and there. What I did not say, is that most were migrants, last year’s well worn individuals, coming back for another season in our temperate climate. This is the only one that I caught resting in over an hour of watching them, and, as you can see, it is well worn. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Tight and complicated

Lichen, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport Maine

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we have a lot of limbs, and whole trees, down in our forests…evidence of the power of the series of nor-easters we had in March. They brought with them some residents of the higher elevations of the wood, like this mat of lichen encasing a fallen limb. I am pretty sure there are at least 2 species in this mat, maybe more. I find the complexity of the design fascinating…and far from random. Sony RX10iv at 24mm. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Skunk Cabbage in flower

Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine

The Eastern Skunk Cabbage is in flower this week wherever the ground is just the right balance between wet and dry, between swamp and forest. Here in Southern Maine, it grows on the sides of ditches, banks above vernal pools, and the wettest sections of mixed marshy maple forests among the roots of silver birches. I learned a bit about the structure of the flower this morning on wikipedia. The outer twisted purple shell is called a “spathe” and the inner flower cluster, rarely seen but glimpsed here, is called the “spadix”. The flowers push up through the mud and leaf mold ahead of the huge green leaves and are one of the more striking evidences of spring in the Maine woods. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ ISO 640 @ f4. Processed in Polarr.

Betrayal!

Crocus, Kennebunk, Maine, April 16

Freezing rain coming in sheets sideways,
parking lots flooded with ice water over
the holes in my crocks, crocus huddled
in a bed of slush, my weatherproof jacket
soaked throug in minutes. What a day
for mid-April, nothing short of a betrayal.
The birds are flocking the feeders, and
after one short round of errands, I am
nursing hot coffee over the computer and
the beginnings of a real weather grudge!

And what a lot of good that will do me.

Crocus huddled in a bed of slush, indeed! Not April weather even in Southern Maine. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 2000. (Not bad at all for ISO 2000!) Processed in Polarr and Apple Pbotos.

Betrayal!

Crocus, Kennebunk, Maine, April 16

Freezing rain coming in sheets sideways,

parking lots flooded with ice water over

the holes in my crocks, crocus huddled

in a bed of slush, my weatherproof jacket

soaked throug in minutes. What a day

for mid-April, nothing short of a betrayal.

The birds are flocking the feeders, and

after one short round of errands, I am

nursing hot coffee over the computer and

the beginnings of a real weather grudge!

And what a lot of good that will do me.

Crocus huddled in a bed of slush, indeed! Not April weather even in Southern Maine. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 2000. (Not bad at all for ISO 2000!) Processed in Polarr and Apple Pbotos.

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush, Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine

On my first really birdy day of spring 2018 in the forest of Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve)…along with both Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Blue Jays, Robins, Crows, Northern Harrier, Kestrel, Bluebird, and Eastern Phoebe…I caught this Hermit Thrush low to the ground and between trunks. It sat there just long enough for a few pics. Of course, except for the Blue Jays, Robins, and Crows, I only saw one of each of the other species, so “birdy” day is relative to the slow start spring and migration are getting this year in southern Maine. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. -.3EV. 1/500th @ ISO 500 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Kinglets!

Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine

It was a dark and somewhat dreary day yesterday as a cold front rolled in from the west, and the high temperature for the day was predicted at 9AM. I got out early on my eBike, down along the coast to Laudholm Farms. The temperature was dropping fast, but, after much debate with myself, I decided to walk the loop of trails around the edge of the Farms to see if I could see any birds or if the Wood Frogs were active in the vernal pools. I was still in the aisle of trees at the head of the trail, before the miniature bog, when I caught sight of something small and birdy flicking though the bushes over the tiny stream on the left along the path. On closer inspection it was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, my first of the year in Maine. I don’t see them often in Maine at all, so I was delighted to follow it as it worked its way down the stream and on either side of the path. It was feeding very actively and would not sit still for more than a single second on any one perch. I was trying to frame it at 600mm and it was relatively close, not an easy combination, but I finally managed a few record shots. Then another mile on, in the woods by the silent vernal pool (no frogs) I spotted what I took to be another Ruby-crowned Kinglet working the low undergrowth. Again, on closer inspection, it turned out to be a Golden-crowed Kinglet. It was just as busy, and even harder to catch in a 600mm field of view. If anything, I see fewer Golden-crowned Kinglets here in Southern Maine than I do Ruby-crowned. Both are more common on my summer trips north, and I have seen them frequently in the forests of Acadia National Park…but not around home in Kennebunk and Wells. I only saw the two, and one each, Ruby and Golden. A wonderful treat! Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode with Minimum Shutter Speed ISO set at 1/500th. f4 @ 1/500th @ ISO 400 and 640. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Tree Lettuce

Lichen, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport Maine

There are large numbers of fallen limbs in the forests of Southern Maine this spring, courtesy of our series of March nor-easters, and they brought all manner of strange lichen and moss from the upper elevations. This specimen among them. Sony RX10iv at 24mm. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.