Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful: for Photo Hunter

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most beautiful of all... Beauty is found in the eye of the beholder!
For more photos on this weeks theme of 'beautiful' just click here at Photo Hunter or you many click on the icon in the side bar. Happy Photo Hunting to all!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Osprey Pushed Off Nest!

This is the time of year when many of this season's young Osprey are faced with the difficult decision to take that first flight. In August, 2006, I chanced upon such a decisive moment and have included below my notes I had written at the time, along with photos of the action that I was fortunate enough to photograph.

August 23, 2006:

"We had come across an Osprey nest beside a secondary highway and were able to take some action pictures of one Osprey pushing another off the nest. We quickly concluded that the Osprey on the right was having a difficult time deciding to fly. First it would lift its wings, then put them down again. It would peer over the edge, then move its feet up and down, then settle down into a crouch again. It did not want to leave! All this time the Osprey to the left , and another that we could see in a tree nearby, were constantly calling and making a continual racket. This noisy encouragement went on for quite a while but the Osprey on the right just couldn't seem to make the decision to fly..... when suddenly the Osprey on the left rushed over and pushed the indecisive bird off the edge of the nest! "
The following photos tell the rest of the story.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Choose Your Colour: Sky Watch Friday

My appreciative thanks to Tom , Sandy, Imax and Klaus for hosting Sky Watch Friday .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Young Osprey: Out On a Limb

By saying that this Osprey is "out on a limb", I actually mean it in a couple of ways! For this is a young Osprey and I don't think it knew how to get off it! I could hear the adult Osprey whistling and encourag -ing it to fly but this young one seemed to be totally undecided as to how to do that. That is how I was able to get so many pictures of it so close. I just drove my car closer and closer and it just stayed and looked down on me.There is an Osprey nest just up the road nearby and this would have been one of this seasons young. I had heard it as I was looking for my Monarch butterfly that had been on the Milkweed leaves along the road there. When I was ready to leave I looked down the road and saw the Osprey still out on the limb, as if stranded. It really afforded a great view for another lucky photo shot opportunity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Monarch Butterfly Within

nature controlling
urges within create change
I have been watching this Monarch Butterfly cocoon in its chrysalis stage of development for the past five days. I had chanced upon it on August 20th attached to the under side of a Milkweed leaf. When finding it I decided to check on it each day in hopes that I could maybe get to see it emerge as a fully developed Monarch Butterfly. My first posting on this interesting find can be found HERE.
Yesterday morning (25th) it was very exciting to see that the casing of the cocoon had thinned to a transparency and I could see the actual Monarch Butterfly folded up within it! This is a picture that I hoped for and I was not disappointed!! Below is a photo of this same view and I have used the poster edge filter from Photoshop to give it a finer detail for viewing. I had taken these pictures around 9 am and decided to return around noon to check on its further development.

An Empty Cocoon and a New Butterfly

When I had returned to the location where I have been watching for the Monarch Butteryfly to finalize the chrysalis stage of its development I found an empty cocoon. Four hours earlier I had seen a Monarch butterfly folded up within it.
However a quick glance showed me the adult Monarch Butterfly that had emerged was close by, hanging upside down under a Milkweed leaf. The butterfly was now going through the stage when its wings would dry and stiffen as hemolymph, an insect blood like substance, is pumped through its veins allowing the butterfly to
fill out its shape.
This stage took quite a while. I must have arrived very soon after the Monarch had completed its pupa stage. I had taken my first photo of it at 12:56 pm and at 2:11, when I had taken my last photo, the butterfly had opened its wings several times but it still was clinging to the Milkweed leaf.Although it had opened and closed its wings several times, as if experimenting, the butterfly did not leave them open but always returned to the closed wing position.
This was a wonderful adventure to have followed; from finding the beautiful jade green cocoon of the pupa, the chrysalis developmental stage of this female Monarch butterfly, to finally getting to see it as an adult. I did not see its total transition, missing the part when it had emerged and unfolded its wings, but I am satisfied with what I was able to observe.
I had stayed by the roadside, sitting in my, car for a little over two hours while I watched this beautiful, brand new creature gain control over its wings. It was still there, clinging to the Milkweed leaf when I left to return home.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Robin Redbreast: for Ruby Tuesday

And, no, our leaves haven't turned here yet, but I thought this photo from my archives of a Robin, with such a lovely frame of coloured leaves, was a good Ruby Tuesday subject.
To check out other Ruby Tuesday postings, just click HERE, or click on the Ruby on the side bar. My appreciative thanks to Mary/the teach for hosting this site.

Todays Flowers: Pale Corydalis

I think this is perhaps one of the most beautiful wildflowers that I have found. This photo above is of a Pale Corydalis and was taken a couple of years ago. I have never found this wildflower since although I have returned to the same area and looked for it other summers. It was blooming in a clear cut forest area and I just happened to chance upon it. You can perhaps see an 'opposite' similarity with the pink and yellow colours in this second photo. This Common Evening Primrose blossom has a Primrose Moth resting within it. Each flower photo reminds me of the other.
Thank you to Luiz, of Todays Flowers, for this opportunity to share beautiful flowers with others. For more flower photos please click HERE.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hawk Photo Shoot

There's really not too much I can say about these pictures. It was a beautiful solid, blue sky of a day with the promise of thirty degree temperatures later as the day developed.I was driving along an old dirt road, after having checked on the progress of a Monarch butterfly cocoon that I have been monitoring, and this hawk flew right across the road in front of me. I couldn't believe my luck when it landed in a tree on the opposite side making it a very easy view for me from my truck window.
It stayed and stayed and stayed and I did too, creating a very difficult job for myself later as to what photos to choose for posting. I'm not totally sure of its id but I am making a guess of a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's Hawk. I hesitate to say Coopers though, for they are not that common in my area, however this hawk looked quite large, maybe a bit more than I would expect a Sharp-shinned to be, although a female Sharp-shinned is larger than a male and so perhaps that is what it might be.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wrinkled Wood : for Photo Hunter #124

No, its not the White Underwing Moth that I have chosen to represent the theme 'wrinkled' for this week's Photo Hunt, but rather its the wrinkled wood above that the moth is resting on. The wood didn't grow this way naturally, but as a result of a circular saw cut, the aged, graying wood looks like it is wrinkled!
The white stripe on the underwing of this moth might give you a hint as to how it acquired its name!
For more information about Photo Hunter you many click on the icon in the side bar or on the highlighted name above.

Oh Dear, Deer On the Road!

young fawn on the road
let me take you home with me
camera capture!

Its that time of year again when White-tailed Deer and their fawns start appearing on highways and along the roadsides. Yesterday morning I encountered these three as they were crossing the highway. They were difficult to see at first as there was poor lighting at this bend in the road with the contrast of bright sun and early morning shadows. There were two adults and one fawn. One of the adults stayed in the middle of the road for some time, long enough for me to stop my vehicle and then pull off to the side of the road in a diagonal sort of roadside parking fashion. It was only after a bit more decision, and the approach of another car behind me, that the three decided to change their plans and hurry back towards the roadside bushes from where they had been coming from.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blue-headed Vireo

When I set out this morning to check on the progress of the Monarch Butterfly cocoon that I had found yesterday, I had no idea I would be returning home with a life bird to add to my list. I actually didn't know that I had taken pictures of a Blue-headed Vireo until I had downloaded my pictures after having returned home. Upon searching for its id, after I ruling out the possibilities of it being a warbler, I then turned to Vireos. In The Sibley Guide to Birds (2000), I found it in the section on Large Spectacled Vireos. It was very elusive and I consider myself lucky to have gotten this one photo which clearly shows its large white spectacles. The stout bill with the downward curve, the greenish-yellowish sides and the short tail all match other identifying marks of this vireo species as well. When I return this afternoon to check on the butterfly cocoon I shall also return to the location where I saw this bird and maybe, hopefully, I might see it again.
And just an update on the Monarch Butterfly cocoon that is mentioned in my previous post. It is still attached to the leaf and intact. I will check on it again in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monarch Butterfly Cocoon

Just a mention to those of you who no longer search out Milkweed patches as the blossoms are now going to seed. There might still be treasure there to be found. I found one such treasure on the underside of a Milkweed leaf this afternoon in the form of a beautiful Monarch Butterfly Cocoon! Isn't it fascinating looking, with its rim of gold near the top!
I don't know how it managed to hold on to the leaf as it continually swung to and fro in the wind that was blowing the plants along the roadside. I recognized what it was right away for a couple of years ago I had brought home a Monarch caterpillar and watched it go through the stages of metamorphosis until finally emerging as a most beautiful, brand new Monarch Butterfly. When I looked closely at the cocoon I could see that it was sweating quite a bit; and this is not a hot day. I wonder if the butterfly is almost ready to emerge? I think, if you look at the right side of the cocoon you can see the faint outline of wings. To try to get a better look I used the poster edge filter in photoshop to give more pronounced
details in the picture.
I have marked the location of the Milkweed plant that has the cocoon on it and shall return each day to check its progress. Maybe I will be so lucky as to see the adult butterfly hanging in the air drying and hardening its wings before it takes off in flight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

E is for Eagle: ABC Wednesday Round #3

What follows is a series of photos of a Bald Eagle. I have decided to show you the last one first, for all the remaining ones are of departing views, of the back end of the bird. However the Bald Eagle's magnificence in flight can be seen with the various positioning of its very powerful wings. David Sibley's book, The Sibley Guide to Birds, lists the wingspan (ws) of a Bald Eagle as being 80 inches; that's over six and a half feet! Just imagine that!
I had sighted this Eagle from a bridge above the river and as soon as I could find a safe place to stop I started taking pictures from the railing above.
As soon as I started shooting it began to lift its great wings for flight.

It landed high in the branches of a tree nearby and the photo of it landing in the tree can be seen at the first of this posting.
The pictures had not turned out as clear as I had hoped so I used a poster edge filter on Photoshop to give the details of its wings more definition.
My appreciation and thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for hosting ABC Wednesday Round 3. To view more ABC Wednesday posts via Mr. Linky please click HERE. For viewing the new format of ABC Wednesday Round 3 where all posts can be seen in the same place, please click HERE.