Chipmunks are always cute, but they are cuter out in the wild, well away from my bird-feeders. 🙂 This one was teasing me from the shelter of the brush around the base of a big tree on the shore of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 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.
Chipmunks are always more attractive in the field, as opposed to on our back deck on the bird feeders. This one posed so nicely on a branch hanging over the water at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. It is actually the pattern of out of focus leaves and water behind the chipper that lifts the image slightly above the average “portrait of chipmunk”. Or that’s what I think 🙂
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 160 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
This bold little Chipmunk at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine apparently thought he could drive me off if he got close enough. He steadily advanced around the base of a tree. Here he is about 8 feet away, and I had to zoom back to get his full body in the frame. I already had my close focusing P610 out, having just photographed an Spring Azure Butterfly. The light was really lovely.
Nikon P610 at 900mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 160 @ f5.6. Processed in Lightroom.
This little Chipmunk inspired yesterday’s Day Poem, and my wife reminded me that, while it might have been the first forest dwelling Chipmunk we have seen this season, our back deck Chipper who comes for the scattered seeds under the feeders, has already put in an appearance. Does not count! He is almost a tame Chipmunk, or more like something in our own private backyard zoo. 🙂 This fellow on the other hand, as you can clearly see, has not been caging sunflower seeds this spring. He is still winter lean. But that is in the poem.
Walking out on Timber Point
and across the bar at low tide
to Timber Island today, we
encountered our first chipmunk
of the season…up from his
winter nap, looking lean, but
healthy, eager as ever for
whatever he could find in
the leaf litter to sustain him.
He stood a second, on hind
legs, against a slanting stick,
his tail curled up behind,
the very picture of anticipation…
hope personified…if you will
let me get away with saying
that of a chipmunk, ready
for warmer days and the coming
round of sprouts, shoots, buds,
blossoms…but ready too, if
nothing better is on offer,
to dine on a half rotten acorn
hidden in dim back beyond
of the abundant fall gone by.
Surely he can not remember,
and each acorn he finds
must come as total surprise,
manna from heaven, a gift
outright, amazing grace, if
he only knew…but then you
already let me get away
with calling him a person.
Nikon P900 at 1440mm equivalent field of view (I was too close for full zoom). 1/400th @ ISO 400 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.
My late afternoon photoprowl at Laudholm Farm a few days ago was particularly productive. Just down the trail from the Common Yellowthroat with the bugs from yesterday’s post, I heard a chip close by and looked up into the branches of a small tree to find this Chipmunk posing. He was patient with my photography, giving me different sides, and letting me work around for angles for several minutes. He was inside the close focus on the Nikon P900 (16.5 feet) so I could not use full zoom. I even switched cameras for this shot, which uses the Sony HX90V’s Clear Image digital zoom for 1440mm equivalent field of view and a nice close-up. By this time the Chipmunk seemed to be wondering if I was done yet. 🙂 I moved on.
Camera as above. 1/250th @ ISO 160 @ f6.4. Processed in Lightroom.
The Chipmunks are very active at Laudholm Farms this year…everywhere actually, in Southern Maine. This individual was very busy collecting and eating some kind of seed, in the mowed grass of one of the trails through the meadows. I began shooting it when it was just a dot in the center of the finder…thinking it would surely scamper off into the brush as soon as I approached, but it stayed out in the open, finding more seeds, until I could get this frame filling shot at 2000mm equivalent field of view. I was about 30 feet from it at that point. 🙂 I like the backlight…and the camera held detail in the shadows very well.
Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 200 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.
The chipmunks were not as evident along Rachel Carson NWR’s Timber Island / Timber Point Trail on Saturday as they were in the fall. In the fall they were everywhere and everywhere active collecting acorns. On Saturday I only caught one out in plain sight, and he was so startled that he clung frozen to the side of the tree where I first saw him for several moments…hanging on, as they say, by his toenails. 🙂
Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 400 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.
After a week in Panama surrounded by exotic wildlife and a week in St Augustine Florida surrounded by nesting Egretsĥ, Herons, and Wood Storks (not to mention lots of dragonflies, butterflies, and lizards) coming home to Maine at the end of a long hard winter, with the snow barely off the ground, is, well, shall we say “different”. There are a few crocus up in the yard, and the Daffodils are budding (one is open), there are flowers on the Maple trees, and a few birds coming through on migration, but it is, relative to more tropical climes, pretty quiet. There is not yet much color in the landscape. We are still weeks of sunny days from dragonflies. I could not find a single Egret in the marshes. It is going to be a very late spring. Even the Hobblebush, generally in full bloom by now, is barely budding. I am only here a few days, and then I will be off to the warbler migration along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, but I am resisting the temptation to sit at the computer all day processing images from Panama and Florida. It is necessary to seize whatever photo ops are here! It might be only a passing Palm Warbler (my first in Maine I think, and certainly my first photograph in Maine), or, as in the case of my wander down to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters yesterday, this Chipmunk posing against an irresistible backdrop of out of focus forest floor, displaying all his chiperality…or my seasonal pics of our blooming crocus or the maple tree flowers…but there is always something to celebrate in the natural world around us, wherever we are. After all, if we can not find the joys of home, what makes us think we will find joy anywhere?
So, though the best of chipmunks might not compare to a Three-toed Sloth or a White-faced Capuchin Monkey, it is here, and it is worth sharing and celebrating. Homage to the creator. Thankfulness for the day. Joy in life and in sharing life. Or that is what I think this Sunday morning. Happy Sunday!
Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/200th @ ISO 400 @ f6.5. Processed in Topaz Dejpeg and Lightroom.
The whole family gathered at my sister-in-law’s home for Easter Dinner, as we do most years, and while the ladies walked off the main course before dessert, I snuck out into the yard to see if I could find any birds or anything else interesting. What I found was a very photogenic and cooperative Chipmunk scampering about picking up its own Easter Dinner, finding mostly berries or small fruit of some kind that survived under the winter snow. I am not sure what he is saying…maybe “could you pass the salt?”…but he certainly was enjoying himself. And I was enjoying him!
Nikon P900 at 1596mm equivalent field of view. Program with -1/3EV exposure compensation. 1/250th @ ISO 400 @ f6.3. Processed in Topaz Dejpeg and Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.