Posts Tagged ‘photograph’

Chipping Sparrows

I see several birds daily now, even in the gloomy rainy days. Their numbers continue to increase.

The chipping sparrows stayed among the limbs, close to the trunk of the tree.

They were active birds. At least a couple of them stayed for me to photograph.

This one might see food or want me to go somewhere else.


Lots of Dragonflies

Sorry about the quality of these pictures. The subjects didn’t land and pose.


A short storm came through a little earlier. I came in to the computer, looked out the picture window and saw dragonflies flying 10 to 15 feet high over our backyard. They flew fast, flew only when the sun was shining, and didn’t land.

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According to my dragonfly books, they’re wandering gliders, are two inches long, and their range includes the U.S. and southern Canada. I was lucky to get the close-up on the one above. All I saw of them was their orange color.

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   They prefer temporary ponds and puddles in the open with bare spots and short vegetation. Here they were flying back and forth over our backyard.

They are the only dragonfly found around the world except for Europe.


 Early in the evening, I saw lots of them across the highway, flying over the mowed area and over the corn. I stayed on our side of the highway to watch and photograph them. The early evening light shadowed the side of the corn and tree, making it easier to see the dragonflies.


Like I said, they were fast flyers!  I’d just hold the camera on certain areas and snap the picture when several flew across the cameras’ field of view. A lot of the pictures didn’t turn out; others would if I snapped the picture in time. There are six in the picture above. There wasn’t any aiming the camera. I’d just hold the camera and wait for them to fly by.


There are four in this picture.


They flew so fast that their wings didn’t show in a lot of the pictures.


I had to wonder what the people driving by thought about me standing out there aiming a camera across the highway.


Wandering gliders are a medium-sized dragonfly, almost two inches long. Their hindwings are triangular and broad at the base. This allows them to fly around for hours.


They feed mostly on aerial plankton.


They have been gone two days now, and I really miss them. This was my first encounter with them … and I hope not the last.


Assassin Bugs

I went out in the middle of November to look for lichens to photograph and found this young bug on the bark of an oak tree.


 It was a half-inch long at most. My first thought was an assassin bug because of its long beak.

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I started through my files of insect pictures and found this picture. It too has the long beak.

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Wheel bugs are an assassin bug too.


They use their long beak to inject their prey with venom.


I still have no definitive answer as to the species of assassin bug in the first picture.

The mystery continues.

Moth Caterpillar Mystery


 I do “duh” moments well. In this case it involved a tussock moth caterpillar.

Buffy and I usually walk around the yard one or two times a day. We get a little exercise, and I look for things to photograph.


I took this picture and the one above on June 28,


and this one on June 30.


Why was the caterpillar still in the same position? Was it full grown? I didn’t think so.


Then, yesterday (July 3rd) I had a “duh” moment.

 The caterpillar hadn’t moved or grown because it had been parasitized, probably by a wasp, and the wasp had emerged.

Phoebe Diary 2

This blog continues the diary of the eastern phoebes nesting in our barn.

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They’re obviously smaller than the next pictures. Notice the featherless wing in the right foreground. I took this picture on May 3.

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I didn’t take any more pictures until May 7 because of the cold rainy weather. Their nest is in our barn. Notice the growth of wing feathers.

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The only way to photograph in the nest was to stand on the axil and tire of the riding mower. I held a small flashlight in my left hand and used the camera with my right. The nest is on the top of a light on a rafter. This means I aimed the flashlight the direction I thought looked the best and did the same with the camera. Needless to say, I took several pictures in hopes of at least one good one.

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This picture and the one above were taken on May 8. There was considerable size difference since they hatched. They should fledge when 16-20 days old.

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May 9

Finally, they were positioned so I could count. There were 5 light tan eggs, and nowwere 5 little ones.

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May 10 showed rapid growth, especially in the feathers.

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I took this picture and the next one yesterday, Saturday the 11th.

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Their size and crowded conditions challenged picture-taking.


I ended up with no finished blog that I wanted to post today. My computer is by the picture window overlooking the backyard. What I assume is the male has perched at different places, flown out to catch a flying insect and headed straight for the barn. We’re considerably below normal temperature-wise, so the female is probably with the young.

This is a reminder of just how many Mothers there are in the world, counting all species!


You can find my first blog on the phoebe nest at:

Two Mosses and a Lichen

I went out this afternoon specifically to photograph a small moss growing in a small fire ring beside my moon garden.

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 The Ditrichum pallidum has no common name in my Walk Softly Upon the Earth book, a field guide to Missouri mosses, liverworts and lichens. The stalks stood an inch tall.

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A loop walk of part of the backyard turned up another tiny moss, called urn moss (Physcomitrium pryiforme) because of the shape of spore capsules. The stalks on this moss was 1/4 inch tall at the most.

Moss glossary:

 Gametophyte — leafy portion of the plant.

Sporophyte — spore producing part of the plant. It usually has long slender stalk, topped with capsule which produces the spores.

Calyptra — a thin jacket covering the top of the capsule. It later looks like a little hat. (Easier seen in the top picture.)

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I noticed a greenish-yellow patch on the bark of the hackberry tree. It was odd that in was only on the southwest side and low on the trunk. Candelaria concolor grows mostly on trees and occasionally on rocks.

Oh What a Night!

December 13 and oh, what a night!

The sky was clear, the temperature in the 30’s. Being new moon meant no moonlight to overpower the stars or the Geminid meteor shower.  I bundled up in my heavy winter Gortex outfit and headed out at 9p.m. My only gear was flashlight, camera and lawnchair.  By the time Orion reached overhead there were so many stars visible that it was hard to find.

My first activity was making a loop of the backyard, taking pictures, hoping to capture orbs.

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Orbs were numerous! I wondered if it was because of the new moon, the 12-12-12 portal the day before, the meteor shower or all three combined.

The tree on the left in the picture above is a large elm, and for some reason it usually has more orbs than the other trees in the yard.

Orbs are thought to be emanations from spiritual beings according to Dr. Klaus Heinemann. He’s co-authored two books — The Orb Project and Orbs, Their Mission and Messages of Hope. I have the latter. For some reason orbs are able to be photographed with a digital camera and flash.

When I first started taking orb pictures the orbs were darker, and the didn’t show as much. Then lately I read to be sure to use the nighttime setting on your camera. I didn’t know I had such a thing. I found it and now the orbs show much better.

Since learning that, I go out most nights and some mornings. I’ve taken pictures when it’s just getting light or just getting dark, and when it is dark. I’ve experimented with clear skies and cloudy. I’m new at this and have a lot to learn. Now I’m waiting for increasing moonlight.

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This view goes across part of the back of our backyard. We have 2 acres. There’s a blue orb on the left just above the barn roof and a green one at the upper edge of the picture above the blue one. Dust particles can cause orbs in pictures. They are usually brighter and lack any interior details. Dr. Heinemann says the air-born particles must be within 4 inches of the camera to make the orbs.

Orbs are spheres, not disks

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 A lot more of the orbs will show in these pictures if viewed in a room with low light. The orbs above and to the right of the old garage are in/around a hackberry tree. The bright white orb below the window was square. I captured it on the back of the house in 3 pictures that night.

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The picture above shows orbs over my what my husband calls my “weed patch.” I only took 133 pictures that night in 4 picture-taking sessions. The number of orbs varied in each session. The orb numbers declined by the fourth time.

I have commonly taken a picture that ended up with a lot of orbs, and immediatley taken another picture of the same area and there’d being only a few.

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Orbs usually congregate around the pine too. I included this picture to show the bright blue orb to the side of the tree and a pink one above. Another picture that night had a bright pink one over a small branch. I’ve gotten pictures of blue, turquoise, pink, orange, shades of green, white, and this night even a few earth-tone ones. A blue orb of a certain size shows up in a lot of my pictures. There must be a reason.

In my less than 2 months of taking orb pictures, I’ve never gotten anywhere near this many orbs. Not all the pictures were as crowded with orbs; the average was still way above previous experiences.

After 2 hours of all this fun … I saw 34 meteors. I realized too late that I would’ve seen more if I had been laying on the ground in a different location.


OH what a night!