Posts in Category: spring

Maine! Spring is coming!

Song Sparrow: York County, Maine, USA, February 2024 — The first (or my first, at any rate) Song Sparrow of 2024 here in York County. Spring can’t be far behind. He was not singing yet…just kind of a soft twitter, but song is coming just as sure as spring. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Photomator.


Yesterday was a day for looking for wildflowers. I took my ebike out to the headquarters trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to see if, despite our ridiculously late spring, there were flowers in bloom. The Hobblebush is, of course, still in bloom, but then, that sometimes blooms in February. The Lady Slippers, generally a safe bet for Mother’s Day, are just budding out. Late indeed. However the Two-bead Lily are past, so they apparently bloomed on schedule. ?? I found the Rhodora above in a road-side ditch on my way to Rachel Carson, and the Wood Violet, Blueberry, and Painted Trillium along the trail. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

Wildflower Carpet

We hiked part way up Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park when we went wildflower hunting there in early March. This is a mixed stand of Parish’s Poppy (yellow), Wild Canterbury Bells (purple), and Biglow’s (or maybe Red-stemmed) Monkey Flower (pink). Simply wonderful! In-camera HDR. Sony a5100 with the Sony 16mm f2.8 lens and the UWA converter for an 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.

Along S22, Anza Borrego Desert

Desert Sunflower, Sand Verbena, California Chicory, Desert Pincushion

It is time to share some desert wildflower closeups from our visit to the Anza Borrego Desert in southern California. These flowers were all found within a few feet of each other on the hillside between S22 and Truckhaven Trail just east of Borrego Springs (there is actually a pin there on google maps, with some photos of the wildflower bloom, courtesy of They are, clockwise from the upper left, Desert Sunflower, Sand Verbena, California Chicory, and Desert Pincushion. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 between f5 and f6.3. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.

Song Sparrow doing its thing

Song Sparrow, Wells Harbor, Wells Maine

Yes, well, I could not have planned this shot. The Song Sparrow is at Wells Harbor, in the beach rose along the edge of the sandy beach, with the boatyard and a winter shrouded boat in the background…just far enough away to provide a nice even background for the sunlit sparrow. It has the look of a studio shot. Right place, right time, and a cooperative subject. What more can I say?

Of course the right equipment helps. Taken at the full 2000mm equivalent field of view of the Nikon P900. This is my second P900 as the first is in for repair, and I have a whole bunch of workshops scheduled over the next three weeks. Could not go to Florida (FL Birding and Photo Fest) and Ohio (Biggest Week in American Birding, aka Warblestock) without my P900…so, a second camera. 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.

Cardinal in Song

Northern Cardinal, Kennebunk Bridle Path, Kennebunk ME

The old red bird sings in the bare birch tree. Sounds like the lyrics of a song. Or maybe the beginnings of a poem. 🙂 Northern Cardinal along the Kennebunk Bridle Path near the Mousam River.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 160 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom with NIK filters.


American Kestrel, on the road to the beach, Kennebunk Maine

The light was going fast, with a storm coming on, and my “big gun” is in the shop, so I did not have the reach I am used to, but who can pass up a hunting American Kestrel. This is one of a pair that have been hunting, according to a fellow photographer who has been watching them, this field for a week. Maybe they will nest somewhere in the big Maples along the road, or in the forest bordering the field.

Nikon P610 at 1440mm equivalent field of view. 1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom and cropped slightly for scale.

Turtles on a log!

Painted Turtles, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk ME

It has been in the 50s the past few days, and sunny, which has brought the Painted Turtles at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area out in force. I saw a dozen or more, of all sizes, sunning themselves on the half-submerged White Birch trunks along the edge of the pond, and I am sure I did not see them all. They seemed to like to pile up on each other. I am not sure why. Maybe that gave the smaller turtles a better view.

Nikon P900 at 1400mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 140 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.

Nuthatch courtship. Happy Sunday!

White-breasted Nuthatch, Kennebunk Bridle Trail, Kennebunk ME

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

I had walked a long ways on the Kennebunk Bridle Path yesterday without seeing anything of note. In fact I had turned around and was headed back to the car when a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches flew across and landed in trees off to my right. Camera up! I could only see one of them and he was off deeper into the woods toward the river before I got any good shots, but I stood and waited, and, sure enough, he circled back, foraging 20 to 40 feet up in the trees. That is when I noticed the second Nuthatch sticking out of a hole in a tree trunk 40 feet in. I got lots of good shots of both the foraging male, as he worked his way around the nest hole, and the female with various portions of her body out of the hole looking to see what the male was up to. After maybe 10 minutes the male worked his way down to the nest hole with a bug in his mouth, and there was a little dance all around the hole as he, apparently, teased her with the bug before transferring it to her. This is the best shot from that sequence. I watched them for 20 minutes more, and got some excellent shots of both, but the little courtship dance was the best of the action. They were totally oblivious to my presence on the trail (one of the advantages of a 2000mm equivalent lens), but still, I felt like I should move on and leave them in even more peace to get on with nest building and courtship.

How can anyone not feed privileged, blessed indeed, to get to see something like the courtship of Nuthatches? Just that little intimate moment out of their lives. I would like to believe that there is not a soul so deadened that it can not be moved by such an encounter. But I have seen the damage the world does to human beings…to children most of all…damage that produces such a shell of indifference; such a self-centered, in-grown view; such an active malice toward life and the living…that even the courtship of Nuthatches, should they look up long enough to see it, is as likely to generate anger or mischief as it is to engender love. That is the opposite of the generous eye. That is the stingy eye, that shelters darkness inside. That is so sad. It has to break the heart of a loving God. Which is why God spent the love of God in Jesus…so that the hardened heart, the stingy eye, might be renewed…the deadened soul reborn.

And those who do feel a sense of wonder and privilege in seeing the Nuthatches courting, but who feel as yet no need of God? I can only say…you are just a step away from the Kingdom of God…perhaps even citizens of that Kingdom unknowing. There is no disguising the generous eye…there is no hiding the light within.

Happy Sunday!

Swamp Sparrow. FOY!

Swamp Sparrow. Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms, Maine

Sunny and in the upper 40s, low 50s yesterday in Southern Maine, so I took a long photoprowl to the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms in Wells. Out by the Marsh Overlook I found this Swamp Sparrow, first of this year, foraging in the native phragmities by the platform. It cooperatively posed for me on this bent reed. I love the intensity of the rust red, and the boldness of the pattern on the Swamp Sparrow. It is as close to NOT being a LBJ (little brown job) as any sparrow gets. 🙂

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.