The Tiny Bandits Return

I don’t know how much longer I can go without pulling out another bird post.  The anxiety is giving me a twitch, but I’ll persevere.  Pulling these babies out because it helps to remind me what it was like when there wasn’t SNOW on the ground.  This  Winter is unbelievable capped off by a 46 degree day Sunday, Thunder Snow on Tuesday, Snow on Wednesday and now 46 again today.  If there is a silver lining, I’ve been able to get two of my training runs outside this week!

Although this post features the babies, it seems only right that I give a quick shout out to their mother.  As much as I enjoy Raccoon babies, adult Raccoons are a menace.  However, since I will not harass expecting mothers or parents with their children this particular adult (mother) went unharmed.

Clearly she didn’t recognize my benevolence based on the hostility being issued in my general direction.  Relax, you and your babies will live another day.. but I will be getting my camera because those babies are just too damn cute.  One given with these young ones, when spooked they always head to the trees.  Typically the mother will high tail it into the woods in an attempt to draw me away.  She’ll hang out under the cover until the cost is clear and then start calling them out of the tree.

I am pretty sure the mother had either met tragedy or decided they were old enough to fend for themselves when they returned a number of weeks later.  If the coyotes were not enough danger, our neighbors have no tolerance for them (regardless of age).  When their off my property they are pretty much tempting fate every minute they makes themselves visible.  On the other hand, when they found my temporary feeder location on the porch they definitely took advantage.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a number of offspring while living out here in the deep woods.  Typically there are 3 to 4 in each litter that make it to this age.  The makeup of that litter is also surprisingly common.  There’s the more aggressive one that is less fearless than the others and is the first to come out into the open.

Then there will be one that is way to timid – the last to emerge from the woods and the first to high tail it out of the area if there is any unexpected sound or motion.  Want to guess which one tends to meet an unfortunate end the first?  It is the more aggressive one – not smart enough to now its limitations and will cease to show up in a week or two.  Oddly enough, the overly timid one will go missing a little bit after that – to timid to nourish properly and thus unable to be strong enough to avoid the threats.  It is kind of sad looking at the litter and being able to guess which ones will not make it.  The middle one or two have a much greater chance of making it to adulthood.  Good news for them, but once they become adults they lose their cuteness protection and they are subject to my wrath if they start pillaging my feeders or tearing up the place – and trust me, those opposable thumbs can do some serious destruction.

hit the jump to see a few more shots of these cute creatures

Continue reading The Tiny Bandits Return

That Ain’t No Fish

Having just committed myself to another Half Marathon thought it would be good to get a post out before training takes over ALL my free time.  This will be the earliest in the race season I’ve run this distance.  Usually I build over the course of the season starting with the 5Ker’s moving to the 15K, back to the 7mi and THEN prepare for the final two halfs of the year.  Decided to short change that process a little and simply start with the 13.1.  No, I didn’t go crazy – umm, that may be up for debate.  Regardless, there is a reason and we’ll leave it at that.  The downside is it means there wasn’t really an off season this year as I continued to run through the winter months (yes, even outside when the temps actually got about 20).  Hoping the body holds together!

Oops, enough about my self-inflicted torture, let’s get to the post shall we.

I almost titled this post as Live and Let Die but that will make more sense later in the post.  Thought it would be fun to fall back on the memories when Globull Warming allowed me to go outside and spend time on the porch for more than 3 minutes at a time.  Take a look at this find

Creeeeepy.  I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve seen such a creature.  Definite concerns as to whether it could inflict harm on me or not.  It was definitely scary looking with the wings folded, but when I saw it with the wings spread I took an extra step back and got my wits before going in with the Macro again – looking through that glass puts you right up close and personal.

Hit the jump unless you don’t want to see the up close shots (but at least you’ll learn what it is!)

Continue reading That Ain’t No Fish

Pin The Tail Revisited

Since there was a definite outcry of support for more birds after the last post, I’ve decided to appease the teaming millions and feature a bird for this post.  This particular set of pictures is actually a bit of a surprise.  If you recall, I introduced the Northern Pintail back in June of last year (link here).    In that post I mentioned there was a better set of pictures likely to come from the second day of shooting.

I managed to process this second set of images yet they didn’t find their way onto the blog.  Nothing like spending time on something only to find there were no fruits of the labor.  As you can tell, the missing images were found (while processing the Katydids from the last post).  I do like these shots better – the previous ones were mostly from behind and didn’t give a good view of the overall bird.  The right side view:

the left side view:

and the front!  That pretty much covers all the angles with the tail side covered in the previous post.

Hit the jump to read some more about the Pintails

Continue reading Pin The Tail Revisited

Katy Did Creep Me Out

It’s a new month and that means a minimum of another 6 posts.  Based on my productivity in the darkroom as of late coupled with the need to really get through a backlog of topics, this month may end up having a few extra posts – a bonus if you will.  I already have the images worked up for another 7 posts and have another 8 or so in the queue that just need some finishing work on the images and upload to the Smugmug galleries.  probably put emphasis on the photography aspects more than the textual part but we’ll see how it goes.  Once I start typing I tend to get immersed and next thing you know it’s a small novel.  Also have a variety of topics ..yes, including birds.. so it should be a fun month.

Figured I’d start with a theme that hasn’t been covered in awhile – those creatures that roam the night and are drawn the warm glow of our porch light.  That’s right, another dose of a night out with the Macro.

This particular set of shots was taken at two distinct times during the Spring/Summer months.  I forgot to write down the exact dates but I am making an assumption that this first set was taken in the Spring because I think this particular creature is a Tettigoniida or more commonly referred to as a Katydid or Bush Cricket.  In our region they are referred to as Katydids.

The reason I think this was taken in the Spring is this is when the Katydid’s hatch into nymphs.  These nymphs look identical to their adult form with the exception of not having their wings.  We’ll get to those images a little later in the post.  At first I was searching the grasshopper reference books assuming it was one of those.  Through luck (as in using the Google search criteria of “large green bug”) the possibility of the Katydid came up.  Again, the part that was throwing me was the lack of leaf like wings.  The long antennae, the lanky legs and the profile of the body seemed to fit.  Upon careful examination, it did appear that there were tiny little wings starting to emerge on the side.  You can just make them out if you look straight up from the middle leg.

Hit the jump to read more about the Katydid

Continue reading Katy Did Creep Me Out