Thursday, November 19, 2015

They're not just "bird" walks

To an outsider, our daily walks out into the wounded wetlands near our home must appear rather routine and uninteresting. What more can be seen after the first few times walking into that mosquito-infested place?

A Great Blue Heron is visible through the lakeside reeds:

Great Blue Heron 20151027

Buttermilk clouds crowd the sky:

Buttermilk Sky HDR 20151027

The lake overflows into the prairie:

Wet prairie HDR 20151027

In truth, depending upon the season, we see a predictable group of birds. Many are probably the same individuals who watch us in turn. Yet we greet each day with anticipation-- not simply to see a new bird or beast or bug, but to feel the joy of being outside and open to new discoveries. We greet the changes of season which bring with them new bird species, but day to day can also bring surprises. It's not just about birds or the occasional wild mammal we encounter. For example, over the past eleven years I have seen a particular butterfly species only three times out in our patch.

A Giant Swallowtail suddenly reappeared on the first day of November. Wings never stopped beating, it visited the Lantana flowers so briefly that I could barely keep it in the viewfinder of my camera. It stayed in one place for no longer than a second or two, wings constantly aflutter as it swiftly thrust its proboscis into the calyx of each flower. I chased it for about 10 minutes before it decided to spend a bit more time on a particular plant that was rich with blossoms:

Giant Swallowtail original  20151101

Giant Swallowtail 2-20151101

Common subjects provide sudden unexpected flashes of beauty, such as the gilded flight feathers of this Northern Flicker...

Northern Flicker female in flight 20152027

...a Blue Jay enjoying a bounty of acorns...

Blue Jay heaven 20151026

...a Gray Squirrel sharing the feast...

Gray Squirrel 2-20151025

...the uneasy thrill of discovering that a Bobcat is watching me silently from only 30 yards...

Bobcat HDR 01-20151020

...the placid beauty of a White-winged Dove bathed in shade...

White-winged Dove 2-20151017

...the unusual arrival of a Philadelphia Vireo, the first I have ever seen on this patch (October 18, 2015):

Philadelphia Vireo 01-20151018

Remarkably, I have seen and photographed a Bell's Vireo during three fall seasons, in October of 2009 and 2012, and again this October, 2015. Breeding in Central USA, it normally migrates to Mexico via west Texas and rarely wanders into Florida, where it has been reported in Florida an average of only once every fall. It lingered here over a two week period in late October--

October 15, 2015:

Bell's Vireo SOOC crop 04-20151015

October 31, 2015 (check out those bright blue legs!):

Bell's Vireo 5-20151031

Bell's Vireo 3-20151031

No, it is not only about birds. A fish sends ripples over the lake in the still of morning, breaking up the sky's reflection:

Ripples HDR  20151031

A Long-tailed Skipper rests on a leaf:

Long-tailed Skipper 20151027

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display




  1. Hello Ken, I enjoy going on these walks with you. Your images are all beautiful and I love the gorgeous sky shots. The bobcat is a cool sighting. Happy Thursday, enjoy your weekend ahead!

  2. Wow, Kenneth, your photos are absolutely stunning! I love to take walks in nature, and thanks to your lovely series here, I feel as though I have! Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Thank you for a wonderful series of pictures to awaken with this morning. I did see the little blue legs, but I might have missed them without your little notation. The squirrel as always is mu favorite shot. Yes, walks in the same places offer many changing views of creatures and landscapes.

  4. just wonderful! loved the blue jay shot and the gbh!

  5. stunning must have a good lens on your camera to capture those great closeups of the favourite photo is the ripples on the water!

  6. I would gladly walk there everyday!

  7. All the glorious sights are breathtaking. What a pleasure visiting with you.

  8. Amazing captures! I love the bobcat.

  9. Oh, I'd never leave that place! Fabulous scenery and photos Ken.

  10. Oh my goodness there were some amazing photos here today. I would never tire of this place if I was lucky enough to live there. Some of my favorites today, The Butterfly, The ripples on the water, The Blue Jay and Acorns and the Bobcat.

  11. Absolutely beautiful! Stunning photos. Great capture of the bobcat. - Karen

  12. Such and lovely and refreshing trip through nature. I so enjoyed all of your beautiful pics. Thank you!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  13. Your photography is amazing - you leave me in awe. I love the heron shot and the butterflies, but all are beautiful.

  14. Beautiful series of photos!
    No matter how many times I see a bird, a rabbit, or any other animal, it is a thrill each time!
    Have a great week-end!

  15. Nice variety. Love the feathers on the flicker! Flickers are so hard to photograph, and usually flying away from the camera!

  16. You are a fine wildlife photographer. You capture the critical moment in many of these shots. Love the crispness of your reflections shot.

  17. What a delight it is to see your photos. How did you manage to catch a photo of that bobcat? Or the bird with the wings outspread?

  18. These are the most wonderful pictures, I'd love to have taken any of them. I think my favourite is those fantastic gilded wings in motion - or perhaps the long tailed Skipper which looks as if it was dressed by William Morris! I don't think it can ever be boring walking round with your eyes open. In fact, the more you know, the more you see.

  19. Top notch photography as usual!

  20. such gorgeous photos! That bobcat must have been a bit of a surprise!

  21. A wonderful collection of pictures from your patch. I've never seen a skipper like that before. All the ones I've seen are yellowish and have short tails. Thanks for stopping by to comment on my Sitka Spruce post. - Margy

  22. Such a beautiful post. Perfectly defines the term " photo essay" . Perfectly wonderful photos and words that perfectly describe what it means to walk in harmony with nature. I loved everything about this post. ( have to admit to a teensy bit of envy peeking in though especially for the warm looking days and the wonderful blue legged vireo!

  23. These are such wonderful captures...I am so glad that we are not having to vote on a favorite photo.

  24. What amazing shots! Isn't nature grand?

  25. Hi Ken, I just wanted to stop back and say thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  26. gorgeous butterfly. i enjoy those clouds shots too. hopped over from Eileen's critter party. nice to meet ya. ( :

  27. Wonderful photography. You managed to get some great photos of that swallowtail. I know from experience how difficult that is! You are lucky to have such a wonderful area to walk daily.

  28. All the pictures are beautiful but if I had to choose a favorite I'd pick the butterfly. Great job with all of them.

  29. I know just what you mean.....returning over and over again to a favorite's never the same!!!

    Love your images as always, but my favorite today is the flicker...the lighting and color is phenomenal. Thanks for sharing this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

  30. Birders who only look for birds are not the real deal in my opinion! Nice post.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: my slowness to comment and visit has been caused by a trip to an island in the Pacific!

  31. Wonderful photos, great sight of the Bobcat.

  32. I loathe mosquitoes, but I think I'd brave them to have the opportunity see the wonderful critters and landscape that you've captured!

  33. Wow!! What a fabulous series of photos. You have captured so many wonderful scenes and such a variety of beautiful creatures.

  34. I love taking the same nature walks over and over on the mountain, too.

    You never know what you'll see, for instance a BOBCAT! (I never seen one in the wild).

  35. Looks like a wonderful place to go walking.

  36. Beautiful skies and excellent critter photos!


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