Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Stare of the Snow Leopard

I'm drawn to the Snow Leopard each time I visit the Henry Doorly Zoo.  It is a rare and elusive cat that I will never have the opportunity to photograph in the wild.  I'm excited to see it.  I seldom get a good photo of it because it is confined to a relatively small cage that doesn't look anything like a natural environment.  I was pleased with the shot I took today.   I like the stalking pose, the intent look of the eyes and the plain background.  I have no doubt that only the glass wall prevented it from having me for lunch.

The Henry Doorly Zoo improves each year I visit.  Plans for new construction include a much better home for the Snow Leopard.

The Henry Doorly Zoo is home to five African Lion cubs this year.  They didn't stay small long.  Today, they were enjoying some time outdoors.

I could spend hours watching Jellyfish.  It's difficult to capture their beauty with a still photograph.  That didn't keep me from trying - I had a lot of unsuccessful attempts to delete when I downloaded these images.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Start of the Summer in Fontenelle Forest

I broke over a month of absence from Fontenelle Forest with a visit to the wetlands.  All of the vegetation is mature now, so it is easier to hear wildlife than it is to see it.

The Common Whitetail Dragonfly was found by the hundreds.

The House Wren can be heard everywhere. 

This Redheaded Woodpecker is hugging the tree.

This Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly is resting along stream trail.

This  young frog still retains a portion of its tail.

I intend to update this blog each time that I photograph nature.  I'm behind now so some of my entries will be out of sequence as I catch up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

I postponed my visit Fontenelle Forest this morning to avoid the rain and mud so I'll never know what opportunities that I missed before noon.   My afternoon  visit was amazing. 

I had barely stepped out of the parking lot before I spotted a Swainson's Thrush.  I didn't even have my camera out so I had to stop to take it out of my backpack and assemble it.  Amazingly, the Thrush patiently waited.

Just past the  Thrush was a pool of rainwater with a bathing sparrow.  I took a couple of shots and the sparrow was replaced by an American Redstart.  A Rose-breasted Grosbeak couple were frolicking out of camera range another 20 yards down the trail.   In less than 100 yards,  I saw three birds for the first time this year.

As I turned onto the Stream trail, I encountered a young lady and her dog.  Apparently she missed the sign that said dogs were not allowed.  So much for stealth on my part, the dog was flushing everything in sight.

While I waited for things to settle back down, I observed my first Kingbird of the year.  I also saw a muskrat with a mouth full of grass swimming back to its home.

I didn't see a single Green-backed Heron in the forest last year.  Today was the day.  I'm always amazed at how different the same bird can look.  Compare these two views of the same bird.
The weather started to turn while I photographed the gaggle of goslings.

A Yellow Warbler played hide and seek with my lens.  Unfortunately the winds became strong and dark clouds were bringing rain.   The dead trees from the 2011 flood are a real hazard when the wind blows so I need to return to a safe and dry place. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring Continues With A Warm Day

This marsh wren was searching for insects next to the water.

This white-throated Sparrow spent most of his time hidden on the forest floor.  I was able to capture this image when he jumped up on a fallen branch.

I'm not sure what this bird is called.  It moved like a warbler, but seemed a little too large.   It was searching for hidden bugs.

 If you enlarge this image, you can see exactly what this Spotted Sandpiper likes to eat.

This Red-headed Woodpecker is checking out one of the hundreds of dead trees that were killed in the 2011 flood.

Red-headed Woodpeckers Frolicking In Fontenelle Forest

Spring 2013 has been slow to arrive in Fontenelle Forest.  Today was the nicest day of the year and a pair of Red-headed woodpeckers were making the most of it.  I took a series of 5 photographs of them frolicking high overhead.

I used a Canon 800mm lens for these photos.  According to the data recorded by the camera, this sequence only took 4 seconds.