We put up a new feeder pole on the other corner of the deck this week, along with a branch I saved from pruning the cherry tree last fall. The birds started using it immediately. I also added one of those metal screen thistle feeders to replace the thistle sock, which never, in the past three years, attracted a single Finch. That too was a success. The Goldfinches, which came to the Black-oil Sunflower Seed feeders even if they did not come to the thistle sock, started using the screen thistle feeder on the second day. They also like the cherry tree branch, which is straight in line with the deck door and easily visible from the breakfast table…if I am careful I can get the door open a crack before the birds fly, hence this shot of a Gold Finch at close range. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
I went out for a photoprowl on my ebike to Emmon’s Preserve (Kennebunkport Conservation Trust), mainly to see if there were any River Jewelwings (damselflies) flying. I have seen River Jewelwings only once in my life, and that was in June at Emmon’s Preserve. Not yesterday. One of my goals for this summer is to photograph more dragonflies…and damselflies…odonata in general. My fascination with the form and function…the odd beauty of odonata, continues. Yesterday there was a medium sized dragonfly hunting in one of the little alcoves off the trail around the big meadow. These alcoves, sheltered from the wind on three sides, are often great spots for dragons. It looked, and acted, like a baskettail to me, in flight, and I waited ten minutes to see if it would perch (I have waited on baskettails before with no success.) This one, however, eventually did perch and I got a few shots. So of course I spent 30 minutes there waiting for it to perch again…and it did, twice more. I am never quite sure of my dragonfly ids…we have over 130 species recorded in York County Maine…and, even if a baskettail, there are quite a few baskettails it could have been. I am definitely a novice and I have no experience of iding dragons in the hand. This made an ideal trial for a new app I recently downloaded. Odes by Fieldguides.ai The Fieldguides series of apps (Everything, Odes, Leps, Birds, Plants, and Fungi) is a crowd sourced identification app. Folks submit photos and details, and when you submit a photo the ai engine attempts to identify whatever you submitted. I submitted my photo and the app suggested Beaverpond Baskettail. I was able to study several dozen other photos ided as Beaverpond, and concluded that the app was correct. A quick check with my DragonFly ID app pretty much confirmed it. I could still be wrong, but I have a fair degree of confidence that this is indeed a Beaverpond Baskettail (until someone who knows better tells me otherwise). Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
As I mentioned in my previous Lady Slipper post, I do know of a few scattered and more isolated areas where the Pink Lady Slipper blooms here in Southern Maine, besides the reliable clumps along the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquaters. There are always a few along the edge of the pond on the Kennebunk Plains…and these are the only ones I know of that are growing in full sun (at least part of the day). This an in-camera HDR shot with the Sony Ultra Wide, 18mm equivalent lens on the Sony a5100…and it puts the Lady Slipper in context. The flower is about 8 inches from my lens, and I used selective focus to focus on it, but the extreme depth of field of the ultra wide renders a scene rich in texture and detail. It would make an excellent 16×20 print to dominate a wall! 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.
Sometimes the beauty is in the small stuff…and in the small details. In all the great flower show of the beginnings of an Anza Borrego Desert superbloom, this tiny flower caught my eye. I think it is Bristly Fiddleneck, but there are several possible Fiddlenecks that grow in the Anza Borrego, and I would not be too surprised if it were one of the others. 🙂 I am not an expert. I found it coming back down the Hellhole Canyon Trail at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, near the end of our March 4th flower adventure. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
I got caught up in photographing the dried flowers and seed heads along the Canyon Trail at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico last week. For one thing I was testing the Macro Mode on my RX10iv, which I had just happened on while teaching a Point and Shoot Nature Photography class the day before. My theory is that if there is a specially designed mode for a particular situation, we owe it to ourselves as Point and Shoot photographers to see if it works. No point in doing it the hard way, if there is an easier way that gets the same results. This is the seed-head of Cliffrose, which grows on dry hillsides all through New Mexico. It is also called, locally, Navajo Diaper. I always assumed, when I lived in New Mexico, that the Navajo somehow used the feathery seed-heads to line their cradle boards, but a bit of research this morning informed me that it is the shredded bark of the plant that they use, and that they weave it into a mat. Still, I have always loved the feathery delicacy of the seed-heads, and the beauty is, I think, particularly visible in this image. Sony RX10iv in Macro mode at 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr.
These are Inca Terns…certainly one of the most striking of the world’s tern family…from a fishing boat off Pucu Sana, Peru. Our visit to Pucu Sana was sandwiched in between the Amazon and the Galapagos, and for those of us who went on to the islands, was just an appetizer. Though they do not have Inca Terns on the Galapagos. 🙂
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. My custom action mode with continuous focus to cope with the motion of the boat. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.
This time of year the cormorants in La Jolla Cove are in full breeding plumage. This is a Brant’s Cormorant. Note the white mutton chops, the white filaments down the back, and the bright blue throat. And, of course, the blue crystal eye. One handsome bird!
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.
I pretty much had to force myself to go out yesterday morning in the light drizzle and heavy overcast, but the marsh and dunes behind my hotel at the mouth of the San Diego River Channel were just to tempting. And it was a great walk. Good close shots of Marbled Godwitts, a lone Willit, and a Whimbrel. And some dramatic seascapes off the end of the jetty. But the best treat was this male Anna’s Hummingbird that sat so that even the dull light lit its gorget and cap so brightly that it was just within the capture range of the camera. 🙂
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.