Monday, May 15, 2017

(G)Oz Fest

It's been quite a week for our feathered friends.  Finally, birds have found our clear trough feeder!  I love to watch them.  So far we've had house finches, cardinals, sparrows, and titmouses (titmice, apparently, is frowned upon in the avian community).

Not to be outdone, squirrels have finally cracked the code, too.  First, a cautious look from a safe distance.

Then, the eyeball.

Finally, the leap of glory and ultimate reward for daring.

But alas, the stinkeye, given after he'd been rousted from the feeder.

In other "feather" news, I found these cool red-tipped ones outside while working in the yard last week.

Aren't they pretty?  They're secondary feathers from a cedar waxwing.  It's not known exactly what they're for, but apparently they're likely used by males to attract females.  They're the most beautiful birds and I'm so glad to find evidence of them around the yard!

Finally, second-generation "goz" have just entered the picture!

Sadly, the parents have nested at the far end of the pond, so I've only seen them once - with the wrong camera lens on hand.  Still, we hear the geese calling daily and I'm hoping that they'll start making the trip down to our end of the pond soon!

I almost walked past this mating pair of anoles on our porch this week.  So much of their activity takes place in the shadows, so this was an amazing treat.

There's always a bit of tension when it comes to nature photography.  I want to get the close shot, but I don't want to disturb my subject.  I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but once the female started dragging the male away, I had to back off and forfeit the great close-up.

Later, I found a sole anole in one of my ferns.

I love their tiny scales, beautiful coloring, and strangely intelligent eyes, but I know that when I get close, they get anxious.  I can see their sides expand and shrink like tiny bellows, and I try to get a shot quickly, sometimes sacrificing a really great and crisp shot, so that their stress is minimal.

Another example is our turtles.  There are a seemingly endless number of them, sunning on fallen trees.  I love to photograph them...

...but when I get close (and not really even that close), they do perfectly synchronized dives into the water.

I am constantly refining my technique, but ultimately my goal is to get a great shot, but not at the expense of my subjects' safety or comfort.  Hopefully I'll get better with time!

Our last little bit of wildlife from this week:  Todd called me from the driveway yesterday, muttering something about "hounds from Hades."  I went outside and found this little fellow:

It's just a black rat snake, totally harmless.  This one was about four feet long ("Six! Eight!" Todd insists), and moving slowly into the woods when he was spotted.

I love their skin.

Real beauties, and great to have around.

Looking forward to many more months of wildlife around here, now that we've got hot weather (low 90s all week, ugh) and the sun is officially OUT for months.

Have a great week!

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