“Blue Crystal and other Discoveries

A “blue crystal” … I’m not sure what the light’s reflecting from.

This piece of wood’s mostly covered with a variety of lichens and a couple of teeny pale red mushrooms.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker went first to the pine tree. You can tell the holes they drill by the way they’re in straight and horizontal lines. Sap flows from the holes and the sap suckers feed on it.

Clouds also add a variety of their shapes

Spring’s slowly arriving, and the spiders are already beginning to work on their small

 and large webs.

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Evening Visitor

The low light at dusk created unusual pictures.

It added movement, more movement than the deer actually made.

I couldn’t tell if it had its eyes on me, or if it ignored me as it ate.

Parts of this deer became almost transparent from the camera movement as it ate. (All these pictures were taken of the same young deer.)

No, it wasn’t raining, like it looks in the picture. I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to get more realistic pictures.

My fingers are crossed, hoping the deer will return.

Shadows on the Snow

  Shady days postpone the snow’s melting.

The sun and shadows create abstract designs.

The sun slowly shifts the shadows over the snow.

 

Every direction offers a different artistic design.

The end of the day approaches.

A Rare Find

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My son was stationed at Fort Riley, and took my husband and I fossil hunting in the Niobrara Chalk of Kansas in October of 2003.

The chalk formed from an inland sea that divided North America during the age of dinosaurs.

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This is my husband. We found jaws, teeth and bones either sticking out of the chalk and laying about.

Keith had told me that if I found anything good that was embedded in the chalk, to leave my fossil bag by it, and come and get him. Otherwise I’d never find the fossils again. (Besides, I had no idea how to safely remove fossils from the chalk.)

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Luckily, he told me that, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have found these 31 vertebrae again. The chalk had eroded down enough to completely separate them from it.

(The biggest one measures an inch in diameter.)

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What makes them so rare is that they’re shark vertebrae.

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 Shark vertebrae are made of cartilage, not bone, and are rarely preserved.

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When I went to find Keith, I found him 15 feet high on a small ledge cutting out a protosphyraena  fin (swordfish). Obviously, I had to wait until he was done.

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Later after cleaning the fossil and reshaping the chalk, he gave it to me on Christmas. The fin measures 11 1/2 inches long. It’s now displayed on a bookcase in my living room.

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Anyone wanting more information on the chalk and fossils of Kansas might visit:

http://oceansofkansas.com/

and

 for protosphyraena:

http://www.oceansofkansas.com/protosphyr.html

Unusual Clouds

We live just outside the edge of town and across the highway from a large farmer’s field. Our house faces west, giving me an easy place for taking pictures of the sunsets and clouds in the evening.

I can’t resist taking pictures most evenings.

One picture last night really surprised me … there were three tube clouds! I have never seen tube clouds.

How did they form?

Maybe I’ll learn from a similar experience someday.

Miniscule Comes to Mind

  I walk loops around our backyard for the exercise, and so I can watch for any photographic opportunity.

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Lichens are common on both live and dead wood.

The Whitewash lichen (Phlyctis argena) above is similar to Common Button lichen (Buellia stillingiana), which has more black dots. The spores are produced in the dots, called the apothecia.

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I rotated this and the next picture, because it makes it easier to see the lichens.

Candleflame lichen (Candelaria concolor) is the yellowgreen one on the bark of a hackberry tree. Research online shows that its color can vary.

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My Lichens of the North Woods book gives 0.1-0.5 mm for the width of the its lobes!

Colors of Winter

Ice and freezing rain can have surprising results …

and more surprising results.

There’s intricate designs,

a frozen icicle in a stick cage

and lots of sparkles.