Monday, June 15, 2009

Birds, Birds, Birds + Squirrels

It’s been an interesting few days as far as bird watching here in the yard. A very sociable white-breasted nuthatch stopped by and happily posed for pictures. We also had “bird wars” over the weekend when two red shouldered hawks decided to battle it out in our front yard, flying in an out of our oak tree as we worked in the yard directly below. One of them stopped to rest on the fence in the back yard to look around. It was little lighter in color and somewhat larger than the red shouldered hawk I photographed last week that sat on that same fence, almost the same spot.

This morning, I spotted a huge turkey vulture – also known as a buzzard – in my neighbor’s yard, feasting on some poor, unfortunate squirrel that may have run out of luck when it tried to cross the street. I was able to get off one good photo before a small truck barreled down the street making an awful racket, scaring the bird off. Since we seem to have a bumper crop of squirrels running around lately (I encountered 7 of them running around my driveway all at one time on Saturday – I got 5 of them in one picture), I am sure that the vulture will have plenty more chances for some squirrel for breakfast. By the way, that is one unattractive bird.

The White Breasted Nuthatch

The Red Shouldered Hawk

The Five Squirrels

The Turkey Vulture, having a late breakfast

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Not a Rainbow, But A Circumhorizontal Arc?

I was clearing out some photo files from this past April, and I noticed a picture that I took while at Mentor Headlands State Park on a sunny day. There were patches of high cirrus clouds, and the sun was at an angle where it created what some would call a rainbow, but since there was no rain it’s really an arc. It may have been a circumhorizontal arc (rather that a circumzenithal arc) because it was a little after noon and the sun was very high in the sky. If anyone out that can confirm which one it might be from the photo below, I would appreciate hearing from you. Unfortunately, the wide view photo of the full sky that I took of this optical phenomenon was a little too washed out from the bright sun and the glaring cirrus clouds, making the expanse of the colors in the cloud very hard to see. The colors are very obvious in the "zoomed" photo below.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Rose, Bumblebee, Hawk and Buzzard

Sometimes I can go several days without anything good to photograph, and then suddenly a few opportunities will present themselves all at the same time. This was one of those good days.

We have one small lone rose bush in our yard, which has been there since probably the 1960s when my husband’s mother planted it. It is just a shadow of its former self, only getting a few blooms on it in the late spring and sometimes later in the summer. This year we were lucky to get 7-8 roses on it all at the same time, which is unheard of for that poor plant. It did give me one nice photo of a very bright pink rose. Maybe I should take better care of that rosebush in the future.

The Rose

While photographing my purple rhododendron before all its flowers dropped off, I was lucky when a bumblebee decided to jump into the photograph. It apparently didn't like to have its picture taken, because it later buzzed me until I left.

The Bumblebee

My husband noticed a red-shouldered hawk sitting on my neighbor’s fence at the back of our yard. It stayed out there long enough for me to get the camera and it posed for me. But it was skittish and flew high up into a tree 150+ feet away and screamed its head off. While I took pictures of it from afar, I noticed it looking up several times. There were a few turkey vultures (AKA “buzzards") flying overhead, much to the irritation of the hawk. The hawk eventually flew off, but not before I could snap a few more pictures of it, and the buzzards in flight.

The Red Shouldered Hawk

The Turkey Vulture/Buzzard

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