Near the bike-rack, right where I see them every time I go to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells Maine, there are a few stands of giant Jack-in-the-pulpits growing…the largest plants of their kind I have ever seen. This is one of them. The tallest blossom is about two and half feet off the ground. Giant! Sony RX10iv at about 150mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a strange plant, and relatively rare in southern Maine (or at least rare in the places I frequent). I have seen them several times at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) but the stands I knew are apparently gone now. This one is growing on the edge of what used to the frog pond at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. There are several there that I am watching. This is an early bloom. There are some giants there that should bloom over the next week or so, and I hope to catch them. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
American Robins are the quintessential back yard bird. They are so common as to be cliche. Still, they are forest birds and you do see them in any forest here in the North East. And, like the chickadees at the feeder, which suffer the same over-familiarity, they are somehow more handsome when seen in their “natural” habitat. At least to my eye. 🙂 This one was actively feeding in the mixed forest along the Rachel Carson Interpretive Trail at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells, Maine. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Yesterday I biked down to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters trail to check on the Pink Lady Slipper orchids, which were just budding out the middle of last week, several weeks late. There is a large patch on the inside (land side) of the trail right behind the buildings, and there is a small patch below one of the overlooks where they maintain an opening onto the marsh view. The ones on the inside were still in bud, but at least two of the flowers on the sunnier marsh side had opened. There are more to come, clearly, in both spots and if we get a few warm days here they will all be open. The first blooms to open this year are pale compared to other years. Only time will tell if that is the trend this year, or just characteristic of the early bloom. The Lady Slippers are wonderful, ornate, delicate blooms…endangered due to habitat loss, and protected. I know of a few other more isolated spots where they bloom in the area, but the ones along the headquarters trail are certainly the most reliable and accessible. Sony RX10iv at 365mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
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.
Three trees obviously. Pine, Maple, and Birch. Two at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and one just down the road at Laudholm Farms. I don’t know if you can call it a “good” use of an ultra wide frame of view, but I like to try it on occasion. 🙂 Sony a5100 in-camera HDR at 18mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. The trick of course is to be really close to the tree…but then trees are not that shy.
I had a strange (and slightly wonderful) encounter yesterday. I decided to go down to the beach for a few moments to photograph the stormy sky. As I drove the access road, which runs along the top of a causeway, it was unusually high tide, with the normal marsh on either side of Back Creek where it empties into the Mousam River behind the dunes of our local beach was fully under water and the tide lapping high up on the causeway. I noticed what was obviously a fairly large bird right at the edge of the water, up against the causeway, not 6 feet from the road. My driving impression was that it was a Razorbill, and when I got the car parked and walked over to see, it was indeed a Razorbill. What it the world? What is a Razorbill doing behind the dunes, pressed up against a roadway? It seemed to be in relatively good shape. It stood and flapped both wings at one point, but when I approached it, instead of backing out into the water, it hopped out of the water altogether and came up the bank toward me, stopping right at my feet. Other than a slick of something brown on the chest I could see nothing wrong with it. Still, I called around trying to get help. I got an answering machine at both Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, which manages the marsh behind the beach, and the Wells Reserve (Estuarine Research Reserve, which is just down the road from Rachel Carson). I called the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Game Warden hot line, which is really for reporting wildlife violations. A lady answered and took my particulars and phone number and said someone would call. About 15 minutes later a Warden did call. He could not get anyone to me on Saturday afternoon. I expressed my concern that a dog was going to get the bird, as the beach is popular with dog walkers in the winter, and not everyone obeys the sign that says the dogs must be on a leash…or, more likely, that gulls would get it. He suggested that I either box the bird up and drive it an hour down the interstate to the Animal Rescue in York, where they might be able to help it, or that I move it to a more secluded spot out of the sight of any marauding dogs, and with some cover from gulls, and let it fend for itself. He said birds are often not really hurt…but just resting after some trauma, and will recover if left to their own devices…something I already knew from past encounters with apparently injured birds. My wife needed the car in just a few moments, so I did put a fabric shopping bag I had in the back seat of the car over the Razorbill and moved it to the shelter of some overhanging brush well off the road. Best I could do.
When I got home, of course, I did a bit of research, and discovered one concerning thing about stranded auks…they can not take flight from land. I worried I had put the bird too far from water, so this morning at first light I went back to the beach with heavy gloves and a box, intending a deeper intervention, perhaps even an attempt to clean the oil or whatever it was from the birds feathers, if it was still there. It was gone…and there was no sign of predication. I am taking that as good sign.
Of course I took a lot of photos while waiting for the Game Warden to call me back. As I said, the bird apparently had no fear of me, and I got closer than I ever hoped to get to a living Razorbill (close indeed since I actually had it in my hands when I moved it). That was certainly special.
The three photos above are from the Sony RX10iv, close-ups at 600mm and wide shot at 300mm. All in Program mode with my birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
Fall has produced an abundant crop of interesting scale fungi on the fallen limbs at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. There is a beauty in the patterns and the shapes, at least to my eye. Sony RX10iv at 489mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
When I went out the other day to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters trail looking for landscape photos for my “For the love of landscape” posts, I was, of course, captivated by the fall litter on the forest floor. It was a moody day, with the sun just beginning to break through clouds away off to the south. It had been raining up to an hour ago. The light in the forest was subdued, and everything was still damp. Between the light and the wet, the colors simply glowed. I framed a lot images that were simply about color and light and texture and shape. This ladder of scale fungi on the fallen birch log, and the brown maple leaf beside it is a good example. A quiet image of nothing in particular that I find still very satisfying. Sony RX10iv at 300mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This little Chipmunk seemed to think he needed to explore me while I was walking the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells, Maine. I first saw him near the trail, but when he saw me he scampered back into the woods, only to make a loop at about 12 feet, and come back toward me. He eventually ran out into the trail and around me in a tight circle, inches from my feet, before heading back into the woods on the same side as he started from. Who knows? These three shots were taken at close to my lens’ minimum focus distance of 4 feet at 600mm equivalent. Sony RX10iv in Program mode. Processed in Polarr.