Thursday, November 18, 2010

November's Quiet Solitude

November is an interesting month, a month of change and of giving thanks, also a month where we tidy up after a growing season and prepare for dormancy and hibernation. The leaves have left their companions and are settling onto the ground below with the last burst  of autumn color dotting the landscape. The seasons are in a state of battle with the last warm breezes ceasing to the intruding cold winds of the north. The birds of summer have left their summer nesting grounds to the balmy warmth of the southern climate.

The month of November also leaves a lasting beauty with the natural shapes and woven creations left by the remnants of summer reeds, grasses, wildflowers & vegetation. The call of the cardinal, chickadee & titmouse remind us that there is life in the woods amid the stillness of the dormant meadow grasses. Remind yourself to look about for the natural sculptures nature has created and find that peaceful time to reflect, to renew your spirit, take some time off and relax and await the warm winds of spring to return.

                                 November's New England Aster

                                         Wild Roses of November

                                 Elegance of Queen Anne's Lace

                                             Wetlands Wildflower

                                      Northern Cardinal - Female

                                             Tufted Titmouse

                                       Black Capped Chickadee

                                         Beauty of a Simple Leaf

                                    November Forest Collage

Enjoy November, a beautiful month with an ever changing landscape. Get out take that walk in the woods and breathe in the quietness of the earth and subdued beauty of autumn. Have a Happy Thanksgiving ~ Janet  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mammals On Monday - Muskrat

A friendly muskrat allowed me to get close enough for a shot as it went about it's business eating aquatic grasses, performed the occasional dive and enjoyed a sunny November afternoon at Robert H Long Park in Commerce Twp., Michigan.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mammals On Monday - Virginia Opossum

Today's Mammals on Monday features an adult Virginia Opossum. This opossum resides at the Howell Nature Center in Howell, Michigan. This opossum loves fruit, nuts and seeds. The Virginia Opossum is North America's only marsupial.

As part of it's mission to save injured animals, the Howell Nature Center rehabilitates animals and returns them to the wild, whenever possible. When an animal cannot be returned to the wild due to permanent injury or has lost it's fear of humans, they will either live the remainder of their lives at the center or a permanent home is found for them in another facility. This animal is a permanent resident of the center and was part of the Nature Photography Workshop I participated in on October 17, 2010.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food Fighting Squirrels

The BirdCam 2.0 captured a food fight between two squirrels. What is so surprising is the winner is a diminutive Red Squirrel I have nicknamed Speedy, which is nearly half the size of its opponent a Fox Squirrel.

The Winner By A Throw - Speedy The Squirrel

I May Be Small, But I Can Stick Up For Myself

Back Off, Or Face My Squirrel Wrath - Notice the nose of the Fox Squirrel on the right side of the photo.

One Of The First Photos From Last Winter - A Fox Squirrel

Birdwatching and nature photography are passions of mine and when I learned of an affordable remote control camera specializing in motion sensitive photography, I knew I had to have it. I discovered the BirdCam 2.0 from Wingscapes, first through looking at a friend's BirdCam photos on Flickr and then through advertisements in birding magazines.

I had first started using the camera last winter just after receiving it as a Christmas gift. The instructions were fairly simple and easy to follow. I set up the camera as instructed and focused it on a shallow seed tray placed on a table on the backyard deck. I didn't have to wait for long before the birds and squirrels discovered the "new" seed tray and I was soon capturing photos that were of good quality. I was so tickled after seeing the first photos I couldn't help but keep running out to the camera to take out the SD card and download them onto my computer. I felt like a kid again with a new toy. After a few days, I learned from viewing the photos that the location was not optimal for well exposed photos because during the majority of the short winter daylight hours the camera was set up in a very shaded area. After some experiments with placement, I discovered you need an open area with good lighting for the best photos. I also found out that squirrels, when given unrestrained access to a feeder, will clean out the food supply in very short order. That is okay with me because I really like squirrels, anyway.

Over the winter I had moved the camera to various spots looking for the best places for optimal exposures and non-distracting backgrounds, but lighting was always an issue with shade or shadows caused from being mounted on fences or trees. The winter came and went with some good photos, but I was on a mission to find a new spot for the bird camera. This summer, I have hopefully settled on an open spot with good light and also where the birds could have access to shrubbery cover for protection from sudden lurking predators. We shall see how this location works out, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I will keep adding seed to the tray and watch the occasional food fight or delightful dove that smiles for the camera. Enjoy the show and thanks for viewing.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding My Blogging Voice - A New Title & New Beginnings

After many thoughtful moments, I have decided to change the name of my blog to Nature's Feather Music. When I began this blogging adventure, I hadn't found my voice and didn't know where I wanted to take this photo blog. I knew I wanted to share through photographs my outdoor nature/photo walks, but I couldn't decide on a unique title of my own. Back then, I hadn't found my voice, but I had a vision and wanted to share it with the world. I chose Some Birds Aren't Meant To Be Caged as a salute to my daughter who loves that quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption. The quote resonates with me and it inspires me to seek out nature and rejoice in it.

The quote goes as follows: "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend." - Morgan Freeman

The time has come for me to celebrate this quote but to move with my own feelings and change the blog name to one of my own creation based on my own life experiences.

I have chosen the name - Nature's Feather Music. A title that encompasses an experience I had last September, with a family of Sandhill Cranes at Kensington Metropark.

I have often encountered the resident family of Sandhill Cranes while walking the trails at Kensington, but that day was an life inspiring event. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but it truly was a moment that will be etched in my mind, forever.

I had the opportunity to observe and photograph, up close, the Sandhill Cranes on the Aspen Trail at Kensington Metropark. For 90 minutes, I photographed them as they preened, rested, and explored the late summer marshland trail. The cranes, an adult mated pair and their two colts obliged me with numerous photo opportunities. During this encounter, I was within an arms length of the cranes. They showed no hint of aggression or fear of me, which was quite astonishing.

The salient moment of that day was the sound I heard as the bird preened its feathers. The feather preening produced a type of sound or music I had never heard before. It sounded like satin fabric being rubbed together, only prettier and more musical to the ear. This may seem corny, but that encounter is what inspired me to seek out the cranes whenever I visit Kensington. I relive that memory when I see or hear the Sandhill Cranes. The Sandhills inspired me and provided me with my voice and vision for a new title to this blog. Nature's Feather Music is what I think of when I walk the nature trails seeking birds and living creatures in beautiful southeast Michigan.

Thanks for reading and visiting my blog, I appreciate your friendship.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wings On Wednesday

A Dot-tailed Whiteface & Blue Dasher patrolling for insects at the Drayton Plains Nature Center - Waterford, Michigan.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mushroom Hunter on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

A Sandhill Crane teaching its offspring how to choose the proper food items in nature.

Kensington Metropark, Milford, Michigan. The Sandhill Crane colts are growing up fast with the guidance and nurturing of their parents

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spotted Sandpiper

Wings on Wednesday

This fascinating Spotted Sandpiper was combing the pond edges at the Environmental Discovery Center at Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake Twp., Michigan. Other birds of note today were a Yellow Warbler, Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlarks, House Wren and two Horned Larks. A very nice day, a bit windy, but the temps were in the low 70s and a pleasant day to go looking for migratory birds.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Migration - Bald Eagle in Commerce Twp., MI

The first full day of spring was graced with beautiful blue skies and pleasant (for March) temperatures. When we are treated to such a marvelous day in Southeast Michigan, one can't help but look up into the sky with amazement and appreciation of the clear blue sky. As a birder, my eyes are always on the sky looking at the birds that are flying about, especially in the early days of the spring migration season. This day, turned out to be spectacular in what I found as I did my usual scan of the sky for birds. I lifted my eyes skyward and there I saw it, a very large black bird being trailed by a gull, a few feet behind. My first thought was its the usual Turkey Vulture enjoying a wind thermal lifting it lazily on the March breezes. With a longer gaze and knowing that gulls normally don't mob vultures, the black bird's tail and head caught the sun's rays and displayed a brilliant flash of white. My first thought was don't get too excited it can't be a Bald Eagle, not very common and plus, you have never seen one in the 23 years you have lived in Commerce Twp. You have only seen them on the Great Lakes and in Florida. My birding skills took over once again, I ran inside the house, grabbed my binoculars, raised them to my eyes, and I was thrilled to confirm my first Bald Eagle soaring freely in the sky above my home. I watched as the eagle twisted and turned as the gull gently mobbed it without much threat of contact. The photographer in me said, quick, grab your camera and record this moment. This is one of those moments that you live for as a birding photographer. I ran back inside the house, grabbed my camera, swapped out the short Canon 24-105mm telephoto lens for the longer reach of the Canon 100-400mm lens. I raised the camera to the sky and was able to capture a few confirming photos of the eagle and gull in a dangerous dance of bird mobbing. The eagle was kind enough to stay in sight for a few photos before it flew off to locations unknown as it made its spring migration to its summer breeding grounds.

A day full of triumph for me, to see a Bald Eagle in my area of Michigan and the ability to photograph the event for my birding blog.

Happy Spring and a fine way to start the bird migration season with the symbolic bird of freedom and democracy, the Bald Eagle.

Happy Birding!