Tuesday, June 28, 2011

a beautiful sunrise for Ruby Tuesday

Got photos with red? Why not share them by posting them to
Ruby Tuesday. To find this delightful red focused meme, please click here.http://workofthepoet.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 27, 2011

A pretty yellow moth for mellow yellow monday

I found this pretty yellow moth in a nearby meadow last week. It was fascinating as it reminded me of a delicate paper cutting. It looked as if the black areas had been crisply cut away from the yellow. That effect does not show up in the photo. Memory is a funny thing sometimes. When I went home I told my husband I had seen a geometer moth!. a year or so ago I had found a very similar looking moth which I identified as a false crocus geometer moth and that memory had stayed recessed in my mind. ( As I get older I am very aware of carrying genes from two grandmothers who both suffered from memory loss and dementria in their later years. so I am always pleased when my memory unlocks some identification puzzle for me.)
This moth even had yellow legs! as seen in this upside down view above
To be sure of my identification I sent a copy of my photo to Bug Guide:http://www.bugguide.net in hopes that they would id it for me. They did!!!! What a wonderful free service this is. They reported back to me that it was a Xanthotype moth. Another common name for this moth is the false crocus geometer moth! wow! I had been right when I had first seen it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Snapping Turtle Part Five.

I wasn't out looking for a turtle, really, I just happened to see it at a riverside park as I was driving by on the street. I mean its that time of year when you might happen to see a snapping turtle anytime in in our community.

These snappers can walk quite high and fast when they have a determination to do so.

I would like to say that this one outran me, but that wouldn't be true. I don't think Snapping Turtles can run and I know I can't. I wasted time in my car searching through my purse looking for my little camera to make a video of the turtle. By the time I had located my camera and was out of my car the turtle had traveled quite a distance in its focuseddetermination of reaching the river. I assume it probably had just finished laying eggs somewhere.This turtle was faster than me. I tried to hurry to get near to it but I couldn't. I am sometimes 'slow as a turtle! ( today slower!) I didn't catch up with it until it had walked into the river. Then I was able to get pictures, but no video :-( Above, you can still see some dry places on the shell of this turtles back. This is a favourite shot of mine. The shell sections appear very defined in the light. As the turtle mover further into the river its appearance seemed to change and you might not have recognized it if you hadn't known it was a snapping turtle. As the rushing water washed over it. It like a rock on one of the rocky ledges that are at this location in the river.

More Snapping Turtles: Part Four

Yess, I know, enough of Snapping Turtles: But, a telephone call early yesterday afternoon sent me hurrying down to the railroad tracks in the rain. The turtle didn't seem to care that it was raining and neither did I. Neighbor Dave,( Turtleman) told me that a snapping turtle was presently laying laying eggs and it would be a good picture taking opportunity, and he was right.

Here is a view of what I had seen when I arrived at the turtle's chosen nest location.The turtle's body was slid down an incline into the hole it had dug to receive its eggs. Notice in the picture above the disturbed soil to the right of the turtle. That disturbed soil is the location of the first snapping turtle nest I had seen on Friday, Come September this might be a busy spot, if a fox or raccoon or whatever else doesn't get to the eggs first and dig up the eggs before they are hatched. This has happened to turtle eggs here other yearsIt appeared to be quite a strenuous activity!All the while I was present taking pictures I detected no movement from the turtle, so I didn't hang around to wait until it finished. I will probably see more turtles laying its eggs in the various stages over the next few days,as has been the usual case over the past few years.
I haven't gone to check on the river or railroad tracks yet this morning, but I am in no hurry. there are other nature events I have been following. For example the development of a Cliff Swallow nest across the street from me. I think its nest has been completed , now for an indication that its mate has stayed around and to observe signs that the eggs have been laid. I have also been watching a Common Milkweed patch which should be in full bloom some day in the coming week. Maybe I well be able to find a Monarch butterfly caterpillar there, and watch the caterpillar change into a beautiful adult Monarch. I have several choices to focus on today: snapping turtles, Cliff swallows or butterflies. Drop by tomorrow to see what I had discoveries I found and what choice I had made.. Best wishes for a great day everyone.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Snapping Turtle Back in the River Part Three

Here is the Snapping Turtle back in the river.
( Please click the photo above to enlarge it to fully enjoy the details of this turtle) It must be exhausted! It looks like it must be resting on its laurels wherever they are located? Just a quick review of what it had to endure physically. It climbed out of the river. Climbed to the location beside the railroad bed. dug a nest site, laid eggs ( maybe about 20?), covered the eggs, then returned downhill to the river. She must be all tuckered out! I really like this picture. the positioning of the turtle is unusual and I like the way the light plays on the turtle underwater.

To enjoy the entire turtle story please check out part one and part two posted previously

Snapping Turtles Part Two for Camera Critters

Yesterday I had posted about seeing a snapping turtle in the river, which I had titled Snapping Turtle in the river Part One.. Today's post, Part Two continues with my findings of a Snapping Turtle out of the river. Later on yesterday morning I had returned to the river area location and found a snapping turtle on the hillside. as shown belowAlthough I hadn't seen it laying its eggs I did find a place where the sandy soil had been disturbed and I presume likely this is where she ( the turtle had laid her eggs.) I will check this location in about three months time, on September 24th. to see if any baby turtle hatching is taking place. The incubation period is about three months depending upon the summer temperatures and weather conditions.This turtle would have started her trek out in the river and would have had to climb up the embankment of the railroad track to reach this nest site location. The photo below of the old railroad bridge shows the river area and the challenging physicality of the area where the turtle would have had to travel.The red arrow in the picture below indicates where the turtle nest was dug yesterdayThis pictures can perhaps help you appreciate the demanding terrain the turtle had to maneuver over to complete her egg laying task! When I found the turtle on the hillside she would have been on her way making her return trip to the river as she appears to be on a slight downhill incline..Bye, bye Ms. Turtle , we'll see you next in Part Three, happily relaxing in the river.

Camera Critters is a meme where all sorts of critter photos are posted. If you are curious or would like to post your own photos like I have then please go to:http://camera-critters.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Snapping Turtle in the river Part One

Early this morning I received a telephone message from a neighbor locally known as 'Turtle Man'. Turtleman told me he had seen a snapping turtle in the river! This is the time of year when these giant rock-like looking ancient fortressed creatures are on the move laying their eggs in holes that they dig in the earth (sand.) often their nests are located near the railroad tracks.The place where we often view snapping turtles in the river is from standing on the footbridge above which is attached to the railroad bridge shown above. This is from where Turtleman ( David Olive ) had seen the snapping turtle in the river from this morning.. After listening to the voice mail message I immediately got my camera and walked down to the railroad bridge. Once on the bridge I looked down into the river and "yes", sure enough, there was a turtle in the river below

Often when seeing a turtle in the river you first see its head sticking out of the water. This is what I had first seen this morning on my first trip to the river. The turtle was moving around in the water changing locations. A couple of times I thought it might leave the river and come out of the water as I was watching. But it didn't happen while I was there. Ii did not see it fully out of the river this morning on my first viewing there.

This was a good turtle viewing location but the nearness of the water was also a good location for mosquitoes as they gathered around me biting. I did not stay at the river long.

However: I did return later to find a turtle nest dug in the sand and I also found a snapping turtle on the hillside nearby. Pictures of this sighting will be posted tomorrow in my next post titled:Snapping Turtles PART TWO

All together I made 5 trips to the river today and on each trip I saw a Snapping Turtle!

Today's Sunrise for Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday is a long standing meme where sky views from all over the world are posted at:
http://skyley.blogspot.com/Why not participate as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In celebration of nature with wooden things for Thursday's challenge

The theme for today's Thursday Challenge is "wooden". This is an appropiate theme for me to show and display the wood working talents of my husband David. David has a talent for wood carving and several years ago made this crow box. The sliding top of the box has a crow resting on it on the open page of the book. The book is also appropriate for Dr. Dave as David is a rertired high school administer and in his latter years of teaching before retirement he taught classes at the university level..A few years ago being a bit short of closet space, David built this wardrobe shown above and he decorated one side of it with a hunting scene with a hunter on a horse accompanied with two hunting dogs and at the top two birds can be seen in flight.

This is a beautiful piece of furniture. The horses head shown above
two birds in flight I have added this picture to correct the hunting scene. Actually the hunter on horseback is a falconer and above can be seen a falcon in pursuit of the two birds in flight.
David also has used his carpentry skills outdoors in our dooryard by fully enclosing our yard and gardens with a fence. The fence has many gates which serve to keep the deer out and our grandchildren in.
Some parts of the fence only serve a decorative purpose such as this corner piece that we call the humming bird fence shown above.
This structure shown above we call the bower. I am using this structure as a place for pole beans to grow this summer. Without the intrusion of deer into out garden I am looking forward to a crop of unnibbled pole beans this summer. Also within the enclosure are tomato plants which we look forward to at harvesting time.. We were delighted last summer when one of our visiting grandsons excitedly discovered this secret garden room.
This is a pergola at the end of our bird watching area of our yard which we call Bird Alley. This structure attracts many birds which has Virgina Creeper and American Bittersweet growing over it.

And every garden needs a bridge such as this one shown above. It crosses over a 'pretend' little stream. The bed of the pretend stream is rock lined with rocks which we have gathered. And sometimes in the spring there is even water running in our little brook!

I hope you have enjoyed my show and tell post of wooden things created by my talented husband David. Hopefully some day I can show pictures of a little covered bridge crossing the ditch which runs alongside our property.

Thursday Challenge is a meme which offers a different theme each week. This week's theme is wooden. To join in on the fun you can find this meme at:http://www.spunwithtears.com/thursday.html

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A young American Redstart for World Bird Wednesday

I have had a lot of difficulty in identifying this 1st spring male American Redstart. The distinctive upside down 'V' yellow shape on its wing really had me confused until this morning whenI found an illustration ( on p. 391) in my third edition copy of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, that showed that yellow 'v' on its wings that had been confusing me so much. I should have gone with my first hunch, for when I came home yesterday I told my husband I had found a juvenile American Redstart. The clue that brought Redstart to my mind was its yellow tail feather spread that it exhibited and I was able to capture in some of my pictures shown below. We have had juvenile Redstarts in Bird Alley other summers and when I had seen the bird 'fan' its tail feathers :that is what I had thought; that it was a Redstart. I believe my first hunch was right. These little birds are really quick in their busy flitting about and so I had just had aimed my camera at the general area in the bushes where I had seen the Redstart. I think I was lucky to get the images I have. The yellow tail spread shown above is characteristic of a first spring male American Redstart as it 'fanned' its tail feathers.
another feature of this Redstart that I hadn't known about until reading about it in my National Geographic field guide is that this little species is that the first spring male Redstart has black lores. This little guy bird sure does have 'sooty- looking eyes!
And a first spring male Redstart will have black spotting on its breast. This little bird has one dark spot.

So, did I see a first spring male Amerian Redstart? Yes! quite definitely!

Got pictures of birds you would like to share? Why not post them on Worldbird Wednesday? http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/To find out how, please scroll down the right hand side of this page until you come to the worldbird logo, click on it and follow the directions from there