Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Ma and Pa Bluebird parked their fledgling above the feeders near my backyard photo blind yesterday afternoon, and I got to spend an hour or more with the youngster, watching it explore, and especially watching as it try to figure out the flowing water feature I have installed. The bird clearly wanted a drink but had no idea how to go about getting one. Eventually it figured it out (see today’s poem: https://day-poems.tumblr.com/post/619629866684448768/531-i-have-made-my-pump-and-bucket-recirculating). While watching, the male Bluebird came three times to feed the fledgling. The first time I saw the begging action and knew one of the adults was coming, but did not get the camera fired up in time. After that I paid more attention and got ready as soon as I saw the first sign of begging and managed to get two sequences of the actual feeding. The male was bring dried mealworms from the feeder on our deck. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I went out to Day Brook Pond on what was the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. Management of the area has apparently been reclaimed by the Nature Conservancy, who owns the land, and had a agreement with the State of Maine to mange it. All the signage has changed this spring, and they have put up new yellow gates to control vehicle access. The pond is still the same though. Rich in odonata, water snakes, turtles, birds, and frogs. This Northern Pickerel Frog was sitting quietly on the edge, only a foot or so from a mottled greenish frog that I took for a small Bull Frog, just the same size as the Pickerel. However, researching it this morning, I am thinking it might, in fact, be a Green Frog, also common in warmer waters (like the edge of Day Brook Pond) in Maine. You can just see the straight ridge behind the eye on the left side. If so, I assume I have seen hundreds of Green Frogs in Maine, and simply mis-identified them as small Bull Frogs all along. Now that I know the differences to look for, I will be looking more closely at any small green frogs I find. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Red-eyed Vireo, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — A new bird for the yard and the backyard photo blind. This Red-eyed Vireo flew in behind the feeders for just a moment…just long enough for a burst. The light was not great, just as I was thinking of going in, but you can just barely make out the red in the eye. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I had begun to think the only Lady Slipper Orchids I would find this spring are the ones out by Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains…which are atypical in that they grow in the open shade of big pine right on the edge of the pond…not in the deep forest where they are normally found. My forest site for Lady Slipper Orchids, at the Rachel Carson Headquarters, where I have photographed them every year for going on 25 years, is closed due to the pandemic this year, so I was stuck. Then I remembered seeing a few along the trial into Alwive Pond, on the Alwive Reserve of the Kennebunk Land Trust several springs ago. I have not been back out there in season since. Land Trust trails are open, though proper social distancing is required. I rode out there yesterday on my eBike and found that there were indeed lots of Lady Slippers, the first before you even get to the parking area, and then in clusters of single plants all along the first mile of the trail, with a few even further in. There was even one large clump with multiple blossoms…the way they grow at Rachel Carson. Lady Slipper Mission accomplished. (There is, of course, a poem to go with this, which you can see at https://day-poems.tumblr.com/post/619357400179277824/528-i-will-admit-i-might-have-gotten-lady-slipper)
A few days of warmer weather and the leaves have leaped out…these images are from a week ago, when spring was still in a more delicate stage, and one of its most beautiful. I need to post them before even the memory slips away. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. All what I call “telephoto macros”. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications (which I also use for macro shots). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have way too many photos of the Eastern Bluebird at the mealworm feeder…in all kinds of poses and all kinds of light…but he rarely sits long enough away from the feeder (and near the blind) for me to get an memorable image. This time he did. Late day sun. Perfect background. Great pose. What more can any photographer ask…at least for a portrait shot. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. You can drill in on this quite a ways before you run out of feather detail. (One of these days I am going to make a collage of all the mealworm feeder shots, just for fun.)
Grey Catbird, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We had a few Baltimore Orioles come through last week, so I have oranges out in hopes of enticing they to hang around…much to the delight of the Catbirds, who are, apparently, hanging around. We have not seen the Orioles in several days, but the Catbirds come for the oranges every day. They are dainty about it. It takes them a long time of finish off a slice of orange. (And they do get help out by my photo blind under the pines, from our one bold chipmunk kit who as decided he/she also likes orange.) The Catbird can be a good study in plumage detail without lots of garish color to distract you…but it is nice to catch the red under the tail. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Point blank range here, at only about 8 feet from my blind. This is almost a full frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Cardinal, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Any day when the Cardinal comes to visit is a good day…actually, of course, he comes most days, and I sometimes see him from the back deck windows, but he only comes occasionally when I am actually out in the blind and ready for him. 🙂 I have to be quick as he does on hang around long, and he is a habitual skulker, so unobstructed shots are even more rare than his visits, but it is still fun to try. This shot is through a tiny window in the brambles and bittersweet vines, and even when he turned around on his perch, he was then partially blocked. I will settle for the back view. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Downy Woodpecker, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Downy Woodpeckers are with us all year long, and active around the feeders. I have my suet in squirrel proof cages, but the Downies learned to use them very quickly…sometimes going inside the cage but mostly hanging off the bottom. From my backyard photo blind I like to catch them coming and going from the suet, as they perch on the pine or on this massive bittersweet vine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. The afternoon light in the eye is very attractive, I think.
Baltimore Oriole, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — We had a brief stop-over sighting of a female Baltimore Oriole high in our pines the day before yesterday, so I knew they were back, and I have seen photos of them already settled in at feeders north of us in Maine (not unusual as many of the migrants seem to leave the coast south of here and fly directly north across the Gulf of Maine to their summer homes, before they find their way to our little western costal nook). I put out a piece of an orange I bought on my last shopping trip just to have ready for the Orioles. Yesterday we woke to two males and a female on the suet feeders on the deck. I immediately put out more oranges. They hung around all day, making frequent visits to both the suet and the oranges and they were back again early this morning. I am hoping to entice a pair to stay for the summer. 🙂 It was late in the day before I caught one close enough to my backyard photo blind for a series of shots. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.