wildlife

this time…

A shadow of a person on a recumbent bicycle is reflected on a paved road. There is green grass and weeds along the side of the road in the background.

One early evening I took a bike ride.

 

Twenty-two miles, more or less. The cool air felt icy against my hill-driven sweat.

 

A black and white shot of a rolling road going into the distance in the country. Along the right side of the road is a long row of telephone poles--the wires stretched between them are shining from the sun that is low in the horizon.

Rose City Road, heading west.

 

As typical, not too much traffic, most of which (less than a half-dozen) were along the four miles I traveled on this road.

 

A landscape shot of a golden field. The horizon is treelined. There are two deer barely visible against the trees.

In the distance…there, by the treeline. Can you see them?

 

Off the traffic road, traffic turned natural. One deer ran out of the ditch toward these woods as I approached.

 

A zoom in shot of the two white-tailed deer by the trees. Both are facing the trees, but the one on the left has looked back toward the camera with it's tail up.

There they are!

A black and white landscape shot of a huge dead tree in the middle of a field. There are trees in the background. In the sky is the moon to the left of the tree, and a large black bird is flying off to the right.

My often-photographed tree from the east this time.

 

The setting sun was in my face. I turned to look back. It was a good time to change views.

 

A closeup shot of a bright yellow flower. The background is dark and out of focus.

And in the ditch…

A closeup shot of a pink flower from the side. In the background are two petal-less flowers out of focus.

…are flowers, worshiping the sun.

 

A splotch of wild-flowers catches my eye as a last sunbeam brightens their colors. Who would not stop here?

 

A long-distance shot of a corn field that has just been harvested. You can see rows of the cut off stalks lead into the distance. The terrain is rolling. The background is a dark green forest. There are three deer barely visible. One is on the far left and is facing away with its head down. The one in the middle is most visible, he is standing at the crest of the hill looking at the camera and has antlers. The third deer is closer to the camera by just a bit and is facing the camera full on, with antlers, but blends into the corn row.

Three more. Can you see them all?

 

I stop because I spotted the deer on the left. It wasn’t until I uploaded this shot at home that I finally saw the third deer on the right!

 

A black and white landscape shot of a mowed field with trees in the background. The weeds in the foreground cast long shadows from the setting sun. In the field there are two specks which are really coyotes!

This time…

A close up shot of the two coyotes in color in the field. The color is yellow from the evening sun. The coyote on the left is moving away from the camera. The coyote on the right is standing broadside to the camera, but looking at me. They are beautiful, healthy looking big animals.

…I had my camera!

 

COYOTE! We saw one a week or so before, not too far from here. This time there were two. And I had my camera.

 

Categories: bicycle ride, wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Bison bike ride

Andy and I took a 15 mile ride on rolling roads around the patch yesterday. I could begin to love summer again with temps below 80.

Look who we came across…

In the foreground is a 4" wire fence with a sign posted to the right. Blue letters state that there is no shooting of the animals is allowed. Coming into view, and out of focus, is a large brown bufallo, with a baby following behind her.

Momma stomped out of the woods to greet me at the fence.

A close up shot of the nose of a buffalo against a 4" wire fence.

FEED ME!

I pulled shocks of long grasses and wild flowers and offered them through the fence. She raked them away with her thick, rough tongue. I imagined steam puffing out of her nose; she breathed so heavily Andy could hear her from twenty feet away.

A close up shot of the side of the buffalo's face--the eye has a fly near the tear duct, the horn is sticking up at the center of the frame, and you can see the wiry hair around the ear.

…but do not touch!

I reached in to feel the wiry mat of fur on her forehead. I did not think a creature so big could move so quickly; I scraped the back of my hand against the wire fence in retreat as she reared her head in protest. She rammed against the fence, which bowed but held, her horns thrusting through a warning.

A large brown buffalo stands looking through a wire fence.

Standing ground.

The momma buffalo kept her body between me and the baby. Before long, she grew bored and shuffled the youngster off to join another adult and juvenile buffalo that had kept their distance.

As Andy and I turned the last corner to climb home we heard a high pitched scream and a drone above us. Looking up we saw a young eagle rising into the sun, pursued by a small airplane. I was glad to see the plane eventually veer away from the powerful bird of prey.

Who do you see on your bike rides?

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Families

We recently enjoyed our annual “campout” at Grandpa Andy’s, aka “the patch.” Two of Andy’s four kids had other commitments, so we were short our usual gang. Still, we had nine adults, five kids, and six dogs ripping around over the 4th of July long week-end.

After everyone left, I went on a photo-shoot to take in the quiet. In our front yard. Seems the Brownheaded Cowbird eggs had hatched and were keeping the Eastern Bluebirds very busy. Those cowbirds are pretty tricky, leaving their young for someone else to feed.

I felt like I could sympathize.

A close shot of the hole in a wooden birdhouse, the wood is faded teal colored paint. The beak of a baby brownheaded cow bird is sticking out of the hole. There is a flie on the wood just below and to the left of the hole.

“Where’s dinner?”

An Eastern Bluebird is perched on the top of a wooden birdhouse. The bird has a white belly and a red-orange chest, its head and wings are blue and its eye is black. It is holding some sort of catepiller in its beak.

First course on its way.

The bluebird is now perched on the edge of the hole to the birdhouse, facing toward the hole. Inside the hole are two yellow beaks wide open facing out.

“More, more, we want more!”

The bluebird has its wings spread as it flies to the hole in the birdhouse. It has a grasshopper in its mouth and the baby bird is stretching its neck out with its beak wide open to snatch up the bug.

Second course coming right up.

The bluebird is perched on the edge of the hole again and is sticking the grasshopper down the throat of the baby bird, which is really stretching out to receive it. The baby bird is at least as large as the bluebird, and is scraggly looking, with brown and white markings.

“Okay already! Let me get it in there.”

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drama in a ditch

swallow tail alights

goldenrod deceiver waits

death on a daisy

a close up shot of a white daisy with a yellow center, an Eastern Swallowtail butterfly is hanging upside down from it on the left side, a large white goldenrod crab spider is holding it and sucking on it, out-of-focus daisies are in the background

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Thanksgiving afterglow

Looks like we’re not the only ones stuffed.

A very fat-cheeked chipmunk hangs out on the top of a wooden birdfeeder.

“I think I ate too much.”

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unexpected

 

On assignment for the Ogemaw County Voice: Cover the Open House at the West Branch Area Wastewater Treatment Plant.

One advantage to living in a county with less than 22,000 residents is that events tend to be less crowded. I was privileged with a personal tour of the facility by Joe, one of three full-time employees at the plant.

Very impressive.

Especially the “ear-full” of Cedar Waxwings flitting about the dredging tanks. They must have thought it was a water museum.

An alert Cedar Waxwing bird perches on the edge of a water treatment tank at the West Branch Wastewater Treatment plant. A group of these birds were flitting about the tank.

A Cedar Waxwing on alert.

This photo of the previous Cedar Waxwing is of the bird just after taking flight off the edge of the water treatment tank. His bill is wide open and his eyes have a small flying insect in sight. He has some "fluff" clutched in one talon.

Take off! Dinner in sight.

 

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a bird haiku

 

sand pit velodrome

swallows chatter in pursuit

swoop in for feeding

 

A swallow wings in to two baby birds that have their mouths wide open, anticipating breakfast. The babies are sitting at the opening of a hole in the side of a sandy cliff.

Breakfast arriveth.

 

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A thought occurred.

I bought another box of suet cakes. Seems we have hungry hairy woodpeckers nesting nearby.

A male hairy woodpecker hangs from a suet cake that is in a green cage. He is busy pecking at the suet, using his tail feathers to keep his balance.

Chowing down on the suet cake.

I wonder if things aren’t getting a bit too easy around here.

A male hairy woodpecker sits on his belly on a wooden porch ledge, picking up dropped seeds from the suet cake. His feet are splayed like out-riggers.

Sitting like a dork.

 

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Camera. CHECK!

A few weeks back I lamented the lack of my camera. I was leashing up the three dogs for a walk down Brady Road and for half a second I thought about throwing the strap around my neck. Nah, too much to handle with the three of them.

I was more than sorry when we reached the woods/field boundary about a half-mile south. A whoosh of wings startled all of us as four or five turkey vultures lit up from the ditch ahead. We stopped. As my camera-less eye followed the big birds I caught sight of an eagle perched high in a dead tree a few yards from the road.

We four stood and watched in awe, long enough for me to bury myself in regret. The eagle sat and watched us in return. The dogs stood alert, but easy.

Would of, could of, should of. Ah well.

We continued and found the vulture’s breakfast…a decimated deer carcass.

I turned and the eagle finally dropped from his branch, wings spread like a hang-glider. He dropped earthward, and at the last, one flap lifted him toward the sky. A second flap later he caught an updraft and soared. Out of nowhere a kamikaze-crow (less than half his size) flew in from the starboard side, cawing.

Not only did I lament not having my camera, I wished I had attached my 300-500mm lens!

But. Today. I had my camera. And my long lens.

On the way home from an assignment covering the West Branch Classic Road Race, I spotted two eagles enjoying brunch in a farmer’s field. Enjoy….

Two adult eagles in a farmer's field. One appears to be on look-out duty while the other pecks away at an unknown dead critter.

Two eagles in a field. One stands guard while the other chows down.

A large eagle attempts take off with the carcess of something brown, perhaps a ground hog? His winds are fully spread and he is gripping the carcass with his talons. Part of the carcass is still on the ground.

The eagle that was eating bails when I get out of the van to get closer. The sentry attempts take off with the loot, but the dead groundhog (?) is too heavy.

The second eagle settles down to eat. He looks around after each beak-full. The carcass is in front of him; he uses his talons to hold it down while ripping off bites.

The eagle settles. He watches as I position myself in the nearer ditch. I come no further. He decides that eating is worth the risk, peering at me in between ripped-off chunks.

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Blue tenants

After a mild winter, Andy checks the propane level on the pig tank.

A close up of the blue lid of our propane tank in our backyard behind our potting shed. Andy is just visible in the background, walking over.

Something is under the cap.

He calls me over.

“Isn’t the sky the most amazing blue?” I say. “It’s like we’re wearing polarizing lenses over our eyes.”

Shot of a soaring turkey buzzard high in a deep blue sky.

Turkey buzzard looking for lunch.

“Talk about blue,” he responds, and lifts the peeling and somewhat rusty blue lid of the propane tank.

The blue lid of the propane tank is lifted to expose a large bird's nest filled with five blue robin's eggs!

Five new tenants.

Smart momma-robin to build her nest under a roof!

Categories: Andy, wildlife | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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