Sunday, February 27, 2011
Black-capped chickadees will fly in very close. And they don't mind me getting close to them to get my pictures. They usually make sure there are some branches between us if they are resting, but they don't mind me one bit.
I had some more pictures of one of these birds a few weeks ago, but it was my first time getting back out in a while and my camera settings were wrong. So the pictures were bad and I couldn't show them to you. Pictures are funny like that. The new one above wasn't perfect so I had to sharpen it up a bit.
But what can you do? The only answer is to get as many pictures as you can. That's the great thing about digital cameras. You can get hundreds of pictures in one trip. And if you get out often you will probably end up with a few great shots. Check my last post for one of those.
Oh, before I go on I want to say hi to those of you who get my posts through email, especially who has sent me a few encouraging messages. Thanks, they are really appreciated. I won't mention names because email is generally a private thing. It's just nice to hear from people who appreciate these posts.
But the bird still isn't posing the way I want him to. Animals never seem to want to cooperate for some reason. But my subject for the next post is a little more agreeable. It stands there looking right at me. You'll never guess what it might be. You'll just have to come back to find out. It'll be fun.
Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature! Mine too!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Yeah, yeah, I have to admit that I doctored the photos just a little bit. For shame! Really, all I did was enhance the color a tiny bit. I think they look a little more cheery this way. It was already a nice clear day with blue skies above, but snow can sometimes make things look more bleak than they actually are.
All of the snow you see in these pictures melted away to nothing in just a few days, only to be replaced a short time later with an equal amount. Winter still has a good grip on us, but it's beginning to loosen just a bit. Let's move on.
Wildramblings asked a thought provoking question about my opinion of why the birds might like those trees so much. I explained in the comments section that I'm not very knowledgeable about trees yet, but I still have some thoughts on the subject.
The area there in the background is a small wetland. A vernal pond forms there in the spring which feeds a small creek that runs this way to the small footbridge that is almost concealed by the trees on the right. Many animals can be found from those far trees to the ones closer to the foreground. I think the far trees are attractive for being far away from human foot traffic.
Along with all of the water in the area are plenty of apple trees and some other trees and shrubs with berries that the birds like. I took this picture from the parking lot of the nature park. I was standing beside my truck at the time. You can see there are a lot of human tracks at this end of the park. Many birds that are near fly to the far trees when a human shows up.
The robins weren't nearly so shy last year. Back then I would routinely be surrounded by them as they gathered to eat berries from the trees that are closer to the nature trail. I don't think it was a lack of food last year that kept them close. There seemed to be more for them back then.
And lastly, you may have noticed that I've been trying to get back to a few things that have fallen by the wayside in the past. I've been answering your comments again for the last few posts. I've always thought the comments section is the best part of a blog. I've also begun writing my next story for my Rat Tales blog. And I have an article up at Nature Center Magazine today that actually began as a post for this site. It would have been good here, but I thought it fit there so well.
I'll be back next time with something I found in the tree that's barely sticking out on the left of this last picture above. See you then!
Nature Center Magazine - Winter's cold winds call me. They say, "Don't fly away..."
Monday, February 21, 2011
There is a huge myth that says robins are the harbingers of spring. Take that, groundhogs! Anyway, I proved last winter with all of my wintertime robins that the myth just isn't true at all. But this year the robins seem to be following the stories quite a bit better. They disappeared around here until the weather warmed up a bit.
And who know, maybe this robin knows something the rest of us don't. For the past few days we have had unusually warm weather for this time of year. And spring will definitely begin showing a few true signs of its coming in only a month from now. I think the truest sign of spring here in the US is the beginning of spring training for baseball, and that started Friday.
The trees aren't really very close to the parking lot, so at one time I would never have been able to get pictures like these. But these days it's just a matter of holding my hands steady while I aim the camera. I miss the thrill of the chase trying to get close to animals with my old camera, but I love the better results with my current one.
I actually met one of you while out on my latest trip, and he noticed right away that I was having a bit of a rough time of it. I gotta say that it's a bit embarrassing to brag about myself as The Everyday Adventurer, and then to be discovered to be laboring and pouring down sweat in the middle of winter after having gone only a short distance. My real excuse is that it gets hot in my rat suit, even in the winter.
Since this robin visited me our huge piles of snow have melted to almost nothing. The sun is now shining almost every day. And there seems to be spring in the air all around. Is spring here already? No, not really. But it is getting very close. A new spring has begun the fight against old man winter, and it is winning.
Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature! Ready... steady... Go!!!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I can tell by their patterns that the people who left these tracks in the snow were playing a little treasure hunting game called geocaching. And almost all of them were unsuccessful finding their little treasure. You might wonder how I know they failed in their quest. I didn't see the people; only their tracks. Those tracks revealed it all to me.
You see, I know where the treasure is, and it's because I'm a better tracker than these others are. The people that hid the treasure did a good job hiding it, but there are little signs that reveal the location. I followed those signs, but none of these other people did. They'll never find it. None of their snowy tracks go near the prize, but I can see their search patterns. I'll never tell. Secrets are fun.
I can find these treasures too, but I haven't in quite some time now. Deer mostly come out in the open at only certain times of the day. I haven't been able to come out at the right time. When I do, these deer will actually come and find me. Using the right body language helps make them more confident around me. That can be good, but also bad at times.
Most people think a deer would run away at the sight of a human, but they run towards me at times. Sometimes they even try to scare me away with an implied threat. A small adjustment in my posture usually stops them short. Check my archives for proof of my bragging. Do a search for "deer" above and to the right if you like. You'll find it all there.
That's it for this very old-style post of mine. I used to write 'em like this back before anyone was reading. They just weren't quite so long winded. Next time I'll bring you my first animal of the year. Can you guess what it might be? I've told only one of you, a person who I met on the nature trail a few days ago.
I'll be back in a couple of days to bring you a wonderful sign of spring.
Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I looked around for the spy, but never found this sneak who watched over my every move. I just had the feeling there were eyes on my back. I didn't think the watcher had bad intentions of any kind. He was just curious. Of course, there have been hidden watchers before. They usually turned out to be curious animals. So I made a decision.
But I found nothing on my initial scan of the branches. Where could he be? I knew the watcher was there. If only I could find him...
It's been so long since I'd seen anything wild that I wondered if I could still find anything. Would I still be able to take pictures without messing them up? There were definitely some doubts in my mind. But I still felt the love of nature, and that's all I really need. I knew the proper instincts would all come back when I needed them.
Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!
Monday, February 14, 2011
I left you last time after telling you of serious problems with chest pains I was having, and a related problem while I was on a nature trail trying to get back to my adventuring ways. I went to the doctor for many many tests where they couldn't find anything wrong, again. I routinely visit more than three different doctors since the car accident.
So I stopped taking them. These particular pills had been prescribed by my neurologist, so I called him to find a solution. I was given a rush appointment and prescribed a different medication. It turns out that a rare side effect for these pills is chest pain and trouble breathing. That was my exact problem. And now, after about a week of not taking those old pills, I feel much better.
The biggest improvement is that the joy I feel while in the middle of nature is back! It is a particular feeling that hits me when I realize I'm fully in the heart of nature and all alone. It's the good feeling that everyone should be able to know as often as possible. The feeling makes me think that everything is in its rightful place and any problems will be alright. Nothing better than that.
But like I said before, that wonderful feeling of joy is back, so now maybe I can slowly get back to telling a few better stories. I have exactly three blog type websites right now, and they have all suffered because of one car accident. Nature Center Magazine has been seeing steady updates because of other writers, but no improvement from me personally. That has now changed. Rat Tales was moving along okay until my chest pains brought it to an abrupt halt, so I hope to be able to begin writing the next episode of my current serial fiction story there now. And The Everyday Adventure has suffered the most because I can't go outside like I want to do. I hope that will get better as time goes on now.
Nature Center Magazine - A seahorse giving birth? Yup, that's our video for this week. Quick and educational entertainment. And it's free too!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Most of you already know that I've been struggling to get back to my old everyday self since a car accident some months ago. I was thinking exactly that when I was finally able to go hiking two days in a row. That first day felt a little tedious for some reason, but I didn't think much about it at the time. I was just happy that I had been out.
I was a little disappointed when I got home because my camera didn't cooperate that day, giving me some very bad pictures. It turned out that I had some of the settings wrong from some previous experimentation. If you think the pictures I have in this post look bleak, you should see the bad ones. So I decided that more pictures was good enough reason to go back out a second day.
You long time readers know that I was out at these places all winter long last year with no problem. But this time it just felt colder to me than I thought it should. I walked only about 2/3 of the way through the park and decided I should go ahead and turn back. I just couldn't shake that tired feeling.
Then about halfway out I began to feel strange. All of a sudden I couldn't catch my breath and I was beginning to get very dizzy. I decided to stop so I wouldn't fall over. So I leaned against a snow covered park bench for a few minutes. I began to feel a little better so I methodically, but quickly, made my way out of the park to the warmth of my truck. There were no further incidents that day.
That wasn't the end, or the worst. I woke up in the middle of that night feeling a pain in my chest. It felt full, like there was air trapped in there. This has happened to me in the past, long before I ever started really enjoying nature. It was just stress before, but this hurt worse than ever before. I thought this was probably the same, but it did hurt quite a bit more. I waited there in my bed for a few minutes, and the pain began to lessen. I went back to sleep.
The next day I still felt a little bit of pain. It now felt like those old days when I felt a similar pain from stress. I had another scheduled doctor's appointment in a few weeks so I decided to do something then. The pain stayed with me off and on the whole time. Even though I was lucky, I should have gone to the doctor much sooner.
I let stress get to me very easily, which is why I began my love of nature. Nature soothes that stress for me. I used to have similar problems until I found places to go and be alone with nature. But I haven't been able to do much of that for awhile now. This has not been a fun time for me at all.
So that's my story. Even though I was lucky, and my health has been monitored very well recently, for the most part, this should remind everyone to be careful before doing any outdoor activity. Check with a doctor. I'm not that old, and I'm reasonably healthy other than a bump on the head, but I still have problems sometimes.
And now that I got that out of my system, I hope I can move onto more cheerful things for my next post. See you then.
Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!