Friday, August 18, 2017

DEER ONES


When I lived in the woods near the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, deer were a huge part of my photographic life.



They got so used to my habitat that some would come and rest just outside my fence.  This doe was a frequent visitor.



In the late spring, she would often bring her fawns to share the feed blocks at the edge of my yard.  She did this for several years.



One winter, when the snow was especially deep, the deer even jumped my fence and helped themselves to the seed at my bird feeders.  When I moved to Traverse City last December, I left behind these readily available photography subjects.  For the first time in many years, I went the entire winter without seeing a single deer.



Then in the spring, I got a welcome surprise.  I was backing out of my driveway when a doe crossed right in front of me.  I grabbed my iPhone and quickly took snapshots of the fast-moving deer.  Even though the picture wasn't to my liking, I was VERY excited to be seeing deer again.



A few days later, I was working at my computer when Gracie alerted me that there was something going on.  I grabbed my camera and caught sight of a fawn running through my backyard.  I wondered whether the fawn belonged to the doe I'd seen earlier.



Over the spring and summer, I've begun exploring rural areas that I learned were good habitats for birds and other critters.  I began to spot deer here and there.  This young buck was just beginning to sprout some velvet.



Then I caught sight of a doe entering a two-track.  She was watching me as closely as I was watching her.  I wondered if there might be a fawn or two around, but I didn't see any.



Then, on my way home from one of my photo-shoots, a big deer crossed the road in front of me, entered a field, and turned to watch me.  It was nearly dark and I felt lucky to have caught this image.  This guy was really sprouting some antlers.  It feels good to be getting my "deer fix" once again.




Friday, August 11, 2017

EVERYWHERE SUNSETS


Most of my sunset photography has taken place on the shores of Lake Michigan.  There's something dramatic and beautiful about watching the sun seemingly sink into the water.  But, more recently, I've encountered some gorgeous sunsets while driving around farm country as I seek out critters to photograph.















Thursday, August 3, 2017

MYSTERY BIRD


I had a nondescript brown bird often visiting my deck and feeders.  I hadn't been able to figure out what kind of bird it was.



Sometimes it would stand on my deck fencing.  It wasn't fearful like some breeds, which fly off at my first move.



It visited my feeders often.  Its coloring was a subdued, streaking brown.  At first I thought it was a large dark sparrow, but the bird app pictures didn't match my bird.



It also reminded me of the female House Finch, but much larger. 



Then I heard the familiar musical trill and saw the flash of orange of a Red-winged Blackbird.  Could it be?



Yes, after consulting my sources, I learned my little brown bird is the female Red-winged Blackbird.  I never would have guessed she was related to the showy, glossy black male.  Brown and nondescript?  Yes, but she's a beauty in her own right.

Friday, July 28, 2017

TUGS TO THE SOUL



Some blog topics just present themselves to me.  A fox runs across the road leading me to her kits.  Twin fawns appear outside my study window.  Others I have to work for.  But when I lived in Northport, I learned over time where various wildlife habitats were so I could seek out topics.




When I first saw this bird from a distance, I thought it was a cardinal.  Same basic shape.  Crested head.  But the mask seemed somehow wrong.




When I got home, I went to my bird apps.  I looked at the cardinal description and then at birds similar to cardinals.  I learned that this was a Cedar Waxwing.  The mask was the identifier.  On the Cardinal, the mask covers the eye and the chin.  On the Cedar Waxwing, the mask is like a bandit’s mask, Lone Ranger style.




The Cedar Waxwing's coloring is different too, although the main body color is similar to the female Cardinal.  The Waxwing’s underbody is a buff or yellow color.  The tail is yellow-tipped.




I’ve lived in Traverse City for seven months now and I’m just beginning to compile a few locations where I can count on finding wildlife habitats.  I photographed the Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Heron, and this Cedar Waxwing from one of those locations.  That’s making my photography and blog work more fun and interesting.  And probably for you too.





Mike Terrell, Record-Eagle outdoor columnist, said in a recent column, “Up north can be like a tug on the soul.  It calls to them, and it’s the anticipation of getting away to their favorite getaway spot that keeps them going.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Friday, July 21, 2017

GREAT BLUE HERON


I spent the better part of two evenings returning to the habitat I've been exploring and was delighted to find a Great Blue Heron on both occasions.



This large, striking bird held its watchful pose as I began taking pictures in its marshy environs.



The bird slowly edged its way across a log in the water.  I was using my car as a blind to avoid scaring the heron off, but battled the low sun reflecting off my windshield.



Here I continued to struggle with windshield reflection, but couldn't resist the pose of the Great Blue in this image.  I thought it was going to take to the air, but instead it just gave me a teaser.  Or maybe it was just putting out its wings to balance itself as it moved along the narrow log.



It was fun capturing the heron from various angles.  Each one gave me a different perspective on the bird's personality.  Here, the graceful Great Blue looks a bit goofy.



And here the slanted eyes and lethal-looking beak give the heron a more sinister appearance.



Later on, the Great Blue had moved to a pond near a farmer's field that had been mostly inhabited by geese. 



I loved how the heron was reflected in the pond's water as it slowly made its way to the other side.