North American Porcupine: Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — As I came to the junction of the Piliger Trail and the Laudholm Connector there was a family standing just beyond under the old apple trees, with cell phones out, looking into the deeper brush, so of course, I had to go see what they were seeing. Nothing much they said, just a porcupine in the apple tree. And indeed, there was one, out on a branch asleep when I first saw it. Not easy to see as it blended well with the bark of the tree. I (again, of course), took hundreds of photos from all different angles, mostly trying to get a clear shot of the face. It is pretty rare in my experience to see a healthy porcupine right out in plain sight (as opposed to flattened the road). In fact, my last “out in the open” sighing of a porcupine was the Mexican Porcupine in Honduras many years ago. When I had my photos, I left the porcupine to the attention of others who had come down the path after me. Going up the hill toward the Knight Trail and back to my eTrike, I was pretty full of the experience (and myself to be honest) and decided to take a look at a few of the photos on the back of the camera just to check if I had ever really gotten the face. The face is easily lost, black on black within the gray cowl of the quills. “NO CARD, CAN NOT DISPLAY” What? This was not a good time for the camera to tell me that! Not useful at all. Very disappointing. I mean, why not tell me that when I took my first photo of the porcupine? This is not the first time this has happened to me, but the first time when the photos really mattered to me. I mean, really, my porcupine shots? Not that it would have done me any good if the camera had been more forthcoming. I stopped carrying a second card when out on my eTrike several months ago. That is a bad habit I will now make every effort to break. Always carry a spare card! Sigh! So I trudged back to the apple tree. The porcupine was still there, though it had, under the pressure of less cautions observation (there were a lot of folks using the trail that day), retreated down the branch toward the safety of the crotch of the tree, where it had taken refuge. I was just a bit chagrined to be among the cell phone photographers, but I put my Sirui 60mm portrait lens on my iPhone SE and got as close as I felt good about to take my shots. Nothing great, but I did get the face. This shot has been through Pixomator Pro’s ML Super Resolution treatment to simulate a longer telephoto, as well as being processed in Apple Photos. So folks, always carry a spare card! You never know when you will see something very special in the wild.
Greater Yellowlegs: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, USA — I was walking the trail at the Rachel Carson Headquarters, standing on the deck actually, overlooking Branch Brook before it becomes the Little River, taking a landscape of the fall colors up the stream, when this odd row of white spots way out in the marsh, running down a bank cut on a far loop of the stream, caught my eye. At full zoom on my camera they resolved into a small flock of shore birds, though at that distance I could not be sure which ones. Still I took a couple of shots at 600mm equivalent just because the arrangement of the birds on the bank was so interesting. I knew that to get any detail at that distance I would have to use Pixomator Pro’s ML Super-resolution (and again, was tankful to have that tool in my arsenal). What you see here is the same shot twice. Once showing the whole group, staggered down the cut, and then just the 4 center birds…cropped and run through MLSR in Pixomator Pro Photo. I count 9 Greater Yellowlegs and one possible Lesser (far left in the wider version). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo and Apple Photos, and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Red Squirrel: Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Another shot of the Red Squirrel I encountered on my way out from Alwive Pond the other day. In processing this one I noticed that he has all four paws off the tree…so mid leap. I really like the out of focus branch in the background of this series. Also notice the back patch in his tail. Red Squirrel are highly variable in color and color pattern, but i have not seen this back spot in the tail before. A very handsome squirrel. Sony Rx10iv at 400mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Another low light shot. ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/400th.
Red Squirrel: Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — When I visit Alwive Pond I am always hoping for a moose. I saw on there in early 90s. 🙂 Now days I have to be mostly satisfied with a Red Squirrel, and some visits I don’t even see one of those. I caught this one gathering leaves, probably as nest lining, and, as Red Squirrels will, he decided to contest the trail with me, facing off a daring me to come any closer. Very entertaining. He was all over the tree trunk, striking aggressive poses in hopes that I would back away. I particularly like this apparent handstand on the twiggy branch. It was overcast by the time I was headed out, October mid-afternoon, but there was not a lot of light under the heavy canopy of pines, so this shot is testing the image quality limits of the Sony Rx10iv at high ISO. 400mm equivalent (that’s how close I was). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr using my Sony High ISO preset, so some noise suppression involved, and finished off in Apple Photos. ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/400th.
Vesper Sparrow: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Most range maps for Vesper Sparrow do not show it as present in Southern Maine, but we do have a population on the Kennebunk Plains not far from me. It is a grassland bird, and the Plains are as close to grasslands as we have in Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo, and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We have Bluebirds coming for mealworms pretty much year round now. Even during periods when the the adults are mysteriously absent, the young will still be there almost every day. And now that fall is coloring the backyard trees, the subtle blues, in this case on one of the immature males from the first brood of this summer, have something to contrast nicely with. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Red-bellied Woodpecker: Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — I am always delighted when we have a Red-bellied Woodpecker at our feeders, which we do several times a year, so imagine my delight when I caught one “in the wild.” I was photographing the foliage along the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve when I heard the raucous call of the RBW up the hill from me. And there it was. A bit too far away, of course, even for my 600mm equivalent lens, but needs-must. I gave the shots the Pixelmator Pro Photo machine learning maximum resolution treatment and cropped to fill the frame. The orange foliage behind makes for an attractive setting. Sony Rx10iv, as above, at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo, and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Wild Turkey: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We had to go to Kennebunkport on an errand yesterday about noon, and saw these two tom turkeys (you can tell by the well developed breast beards) feeding by what will be the new headquarters of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge when they get around to renovating the existing buildings. The Wildlife Refuge bought (or perhaps was given) a large stone mansion and extensive grounds that already occupied an enclave in Refuge lands just down the street from us. I was not thinking about the turkeys when I decided to take a walk down that way…just out for exercise and maybe a bit of fall color on what was turning out to be an increasingly overcast day…but they were still there, now well out in the lawn, slowly trolling for bugs in the grass. And who can resist a turkey shot when it is on offer? There is not much color on a turkey, but the richness of the feather pattern and the variety of textures in the plumage always strikes me as quite beautiful. Sony Rx10iv. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 517mm equivalent and ISO 400. 534mm equivalent and ISO 500. Both at f4 and 1/500th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic.
Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Endlessly entertaining. And this set of shots is distinguished by the out of focus highlights in the background. I could not have set this up if I had tried. Sometimes good things just happen. The chickadee has taken a dried mealworm from the Bluebird feeder, and flown to one of the perches we provide to dispatch it. And, I must say, with a great deal of enjoyment…apparently. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm from the open door onto our deck. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 800 @ f4 @ 1/1000th.
White-breasted Nuthatch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — No bird is more faithful at our feeders, year in, year out, than the White-breasted Nuthatch, with the obvious exception of the chickadees. And they are almost as expressive as the chickadees…striking poses as they forage and visit the feeders. These shots were taken from the open door leading out to our deck. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/1000th.