Apr172014YellowThroatedWarblerLookDownThe water heater was leaking. So who cares? Well this lead me to have little time for taking pictures yesterday. It takes a while to remove water, purchase a new one, remove the old, install the new, refill with water and connect back the electric. When this was completed I ran out and found one tree that had three migrators in it catching small redish caterpillars. The first two are Yellow-Throated Warblers. Then I will post two shots of a Northern Parula, the last two will be of Bluegray Gnatcatchers.









Apr172014BlueGrayGnatcatcherFaceOnThis last one my personal favorite of the day. Taken from about 15 feet. The gnatcatcher stopped and gave me a stare when the camera clicked……….

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The Progression Of Spring

Apr162014GroundhogYesterday’s observations bring to mind the progression of spring. It is a wonderful quality of this change of seasons that it does not come all at once.

Apr162014WhiteEyedVireo2There are many levels that cause me to appreciate springs gradual arrival. It offers me something new each day it seems. A new migrating bird to ponder and look forward to seeing another spring. The sprouting of another plant along with the anticipation of viewing it blooming.

Apr162014BleedingHeartsAnother color to add to the spectrum. The wind does not miss many days as spring slips in. The wind strengthens the fibers of plants as they grow.

Apr162014GroundhogInHoleInTreeRootsThe breezes also keep me from putting my jacket away to quick, so often north winds come back bringing a chill to spring air. The slow pace of spring gives me time to tune up the mower, dig out the tiller, and do a few chores put off last fall.

Apr162014WhiteEyedVireoMany of the newly arriving birds pick at the buds forming on the trees. They also snatch up hatching insects and caterpillars. Each tree, each insect, seem to have their own time to arrive, be it length of daylight or certain temperatures that pull the trigger I do not know?

Apr162014YellowBreastedChatI can hear the progression of spring as well. That first sighting of a Yellow Breasted Chat a great mimic that once caused me to gaze intently for a flock of crows I kept hearing. Only to find the chat mimicking their call.

Apr162014EasternPhoebeI enjoy watching the many flycatchers as they show up. Darting out to grab a meal then flashing back to their favorite perch. The difference in these birds may be subtle. This one I think an Eastern Phoebe. It does an old mind good I believe to attempt to learn as many birds as possible. Keeping the brain active helps with this.

Apr162014NorthernParulaWhen I do finally manage to retain a birds appearance in my memory cells I see them more often. This Northern Parula was in the Land Between The Lakes.

Apr162014ProthonotaryWarblerWhere I might spot a certain bird also causes me to look high and low not just straight forward. This takes time and forces me to slow my pace of life. The Prothonotary Warblers always seem to be hunting close to the edge of water.

Apr162014SolitarySandpiperThe Solitary Sandpiper lays its eggs in other birds nests. The Robin, Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Kingbird, Jay or Waxwing may be raising the young of this shorebird. A cool fact I read about at Cornell’s all about birds.

Apr162014SpottedSandpiperSimilar to springs slow return I build on learning the differences between birds, plants, trees, insects, etc. The female Spotted Sandpiper lays clutches of eggs for the males to care for and raise. She may lay eggs for 4 or 5 males. She also can retain the sperm of a male for up to a month. So the male may be raising the young spawned by a different male. This bird lady establishes and defends territory. Her testosterone levels increasing sevenfold during the breeding season. Who’d a thunk? as visitor Mary S would put it.

Apr162014TreeSwallowsOnBushSeveral times I have run across tree swallows bunched together on bushes at the waters edge. Dangling like live Christmas ornaments. Ain’t the slow progression of spring grand if you stop and think about it?



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Thoughts After A Rain…Imagine

Apr152014SwallowtailButterflyInTheGrassWhat is on my mind this morning is the outdoors after a rainy night in the spring. Replenishment that is the word I am looking for. All the plant life that has lain dormant through a long winter seems ready to thrive. All that is needed is warmth and water. The warming days kick things in gear a little. A heavy night rain and whoosh the plant life sucks it up and growth happens instantly.

Apr142014PaintedLadyOnDandelionIf I sit on the porch steps and close my eyes I can imagine all the change that is taking place. My other senses absorb it. Dry skin absorbing the humidity. Ears swarmed with the croaking of frogs, the singing of birds, the buzzing of insects. That wet smell so thick I can almost taste it.

Apr152014CommonGrackleOpen my eyes and appreciate the coming alive of color to my world. Walking yesterday I thought it was reminiscent but the opposite of fall. Anticipation builds in my imagination. The dogwoods and apple trees so close to their glorious spring beauty.

How many springs does it take before a man really stops and absorbs the abundant gift of life reborn? I am not a religious man, nor a spiritual one. I am a mean old man that on occasion is forced to stop, wonder, gaze in astonishment then go off mumbling to myself how thankful I am.

Apr152014CottontailRabbitMore and more I value overcast days. There is a different look to the colors I see on these days. The coat on this cottontail rabbit in the field looks luxurious. A coyote I flushed out of a brush pile bush hogging the other day appeared to have the most wonderful coat I have ever seen. The cloud covered sky made a green heron perched in the sticks in our pond stunning. Imagine a deeper depth of color. In harmony I suppose. A wet look opposed to the disappearing dryness of winter.

Apr152014BaldEaglePerchedDid you ever wonder what it must be like to sit on eggs in an open eagles nest in a heavy rain? I have. Yesterday I kind of captured what an eagle looks like after a night like that.

Apr152014BaldEagleWingsRaisedOnPerchWhile I write this I am playing the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. The words of this song relate with my being.  I am not big on possessions. Well, I did get upset when the housegoat broke my favorite coffee cup. The cup a gift from a former fishing client. It was a well made cup with an American flag on it. There was a comfort to me always using that same cup. Looking back other possessions have offered me that comfort. A baseball bat, a certain fishing rod, a double barreled shotgun, my wife’s hand, ooops she ain’t no possession or is she? Right now the Canon 7D and long lens meld in to my hand.

Apr152014BaldEagleFlyingThere will be bedraggled times in my life. I know that and have learned to be thankful for them. Don’t run off to take pictures at the pond and leave your favorite cup at your perching spot on the porch steps. Life’s lessons are teaching me to be a better person. Weather I like it or not. I am pretty durn happy with me as me. There is a great chance that I will be tickled with an improved version as well.

Apr152014WoodDucksOnLogYou may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one. The world could live as one after a rain in the spring. There is a good chance a city man walked to the local park and saw Wood Ducks perched on a log as I did in the country yesterday.

Apr152014BlueWingedTealFlyingOverPastureMany folks got to see Blue Winged Teal in flight as well I bet. Did they think to offer thanks? Is thanks required? For me it is.

Apr152014BlueWingedTealFlyingOverPastureCroppedA little closer look at the details inspires me to do better. Improvement – that vast field I can wonder happily in forever.

Apr152014TernImagine receiving a note saying thanks for sharing my photos of the wonders I see. I got one yesterday. Like a spring rain it replenishes me. Perhaps to find more wonder, color, and bliss the outdoors offer.

Apr152014Tern2Wondering to the river the terns dazzled my eyes with the splendid sharp lines of their silhouette. The simple markings of the birds striking to my eyes. I wonder if I will ever be able to capture the amazing speed and dive as they crash in to the water for food?

Apr152014OspreyFlyingWithBass1On the river it was constant action as the pelicans, cormorants, gulls, terns, and heron were all in feeding mode. The sky was a buzz as well. I glanced up and snapped this Osprey overhead, so close I could not get the whole bird in the frame. Looking at the photo this morning I was astonished at how well the shot captured the bass in the birds grasp.

Apr152014OspreyFlyingWithBassImagine the shot with some color in the sky I thought. So I changed the white sky to a tinge of blue. Ahh, spring rain in my hands. I still think I enjoy the original best. Let me give it another go.

Apr152014OspreyFlyingWithBass2I once felt as if I was cheating changing my photos like this. The created images all come from scenes I have observed in the past. Now and then they might come from a scene I envision to see in the future. There is a time and place when I am a dreamer. Imagining a world of no country, living life in peace and harmony. The world living as one.

Apr152014OspreyFlyingWIthHalfAFishI wonder if you can ?

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Photos From Sunday














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Odds And Ends

Apr132014IllinoisFlagToday’s images are a mixture of odds and ends. I went on a photo club outing to Southern Illinois. We met at a rest stop where I saw this Illinois flag. In the future I will try to photograph the state flags when I run across them.

Apr132014SquirrelWithPepperonniI saw a squirrel running up a tree with something orange at the rest stop. I was surprised to see the critter with a few slices of Pepperoni.

Apr132014SquirrelWithPepperonni2The club outing was to a cabin in the woods. Thousands of Daffodils were planted around. I took several photos of them but did not like any of them. My interest wandered to a small bug critter working the Spring Beauties.

Apr132014SpringBeautyI really enjoy the tiny spring beauties. This one was more purple striped than most.

Apr132014Bombyliidae(beefly)This is the tiny critter I had tried to catch the afternoon before but failed. Research shows that it is a Bombiliidae. A bee fly.

Apr132014Bombyliidae(beefly)FaceOnHere is the bug face on. The proboscis it feeds with is as long as the body. I guess due to length of legs it requires one that long to reach into the flower to get nectar.

Apr132014Bombyliidae(beefly)OnGroundSideViewThis one sat on the ground for a second and I was able to catch how the wings look. They stick straight out to the side of the bug when it is flying. It is a good pollinator I read.

Apr132014StinkBugWhile laying on the ground to photograph the bee flies this Stink Bug landed on a blade of grass in front of me. All the way home I picked ticks off me. One of the hazards of getting close up insects for me is getting ticks. I don’t use any sprays just do a pick em and kill em as the nasty ticks crawl up me.

Apr132014DutchmansBritchesThere were many different wildflowers at the spot in the woods along with other interesting varieties that had been planted. I did get a decent shot of these Dutchmans Britches. A plant I had not seen before.

Apr132014BlackRatSnakeHeadSideViewWhen I got back to the farm my “Little Woman” called she saw about a four foot chicken snake on the road. I went to take its picture. If you don’t like snakes the last three photos are snake pics.

Apr132014BlackRatSnakeFaceOnI think the snake is a Black Rat Snake. When the youngest daughter kept a lot of chickens, every year we would catch a huge one in the chicken house. They like to eat the eggs. They will also eat baby chicks if you have any.

Apr132014BlackRatSnakeFaceOnCloseUpHere is a close up of the face on view of the snake. If you look at the eye on the left you can see the sky reflection in the upper half of the eye…………

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