Feast!

I carried a camera at a local middle school golf match. At the first hole I noticed a Great Blue Heron haunting a pond, camouflaged by rip rap and grey skies.

Distractions during a round of golf are as unwelcome as a malfunctioning fire alarm in a school. So when a loud splash interrupted a golf shot, everyone turned to give disapproving frowns to the culprit.

The guilty party didn’t seem to care. The heron was holding a Largemouth Bass weighing at least two pounds. I commented that, this time, the heron bit off more than he could chew. I should have known better. Like any other heron, this one ate the bass whole. It just took a little more effort than usual.

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Hanging Out

Red-headed Woodpeckers seem to beg for attention.

Who doesn’t stop and stare for a moment at the boldly contrasting red and black and white colors?

How many of us have looked twice at the red-black-white-black color pattern seen as a Red-headed Woodpecker sails from tree to tree?

I marvel as Red-heads dropping from gnarled tree branches as if they were some exotic specie of flycatchers to snare insects in flight.

Here’s to the Red-headed Woodpecker.

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Snapper Tails

There is a small, spring-fed pond in our neighbor’s pasture about 50 yards behind our home. I’ve never explored the pond, but this summer I got a hint its a healthy environment.

On June 20 I noticed a trail through the dew in our yard. I followed the trail to a large snapping turtle, working its way toward the pond. I figured was a female who had laid her eggs.

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On September 12 I was sitting on our porch reading. I looked up to discover this little tike staring up at me.

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It takes a minimum of nine weeks for snapping turtles to hatch. So its possible this little guy or gal came from the mature snapper’s eggs. Since snappers are usually five inches long before they can reproduce, I doubt it was coming back to laying eggs. That said, hatchlings are about the size of a quarter. This snapper was little, but not that small. The last I saw of the little one, it was working its way around the house and toward the pond.

Fall Approaches

Summer is lingering in the Ohio Valley like a child who knows its past bedtime. During a walk yesterday the trees gave the appearance summer, varied green leaves filtering warm sunlight.

Yet scattered along the path was the evidence that our child is ready to retire into autumn rest.
The photos were taken with the iPhone 6 and processed with the iPhone app. The post was also published with WordPress app from the phone.

Desert Double-crested Cormorant

We had less than 2 inches of rain our first year in Phoenix.

You read that correctly. Less than 2 inches of precipitation.

So I was shocked to find a diverse number of waterfowl and shore birds winter in Phoenix. All the habitat is man made, mainly community ponds or canals bringing water from mountain reservoirs or the Colorado River.

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These Double-crested Cormorants were in a pond at Red Mountain Park in Mesa, AZ this past February. The pond is large enough to support hundreds of birds. And its stocked with fish often enough to attract hunters as cormorants.

I found the eyes of the cormorants striking. The water reflects the sky which reflects in the eyes. However, I’ve found a few of people (FINE! A significant number) of people who say the birds rather unattractive.

Personally, I will continue to defend the gothic beauty of the Double-crested Cormorant.

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