Friday, May 25, 2012

A Flock Of Turkey Vultures

I've been meaning to post this one for quite some time now. It was a dark day when I got these pictures and video, but this was just too amazing to worry about that. What I saw was a whole flock of turkey vultures!

I was on my way between two nature parks when I looked up and saw this flock of about a dozen big birds. I didn't know what they were while I was there because I don't have much experience with bigger birds yet. That will change, living where I do.

The birds were everywhere in the sky above me, centered around this piece of farm equipment. These pieces of equipment sit on top of the hills looking like dragons from the distance of the road. They're interesting just by themselves.

The birds were flying around everywhere, landing on the farm equipment and taking off again. I couldn't get a picture with the whole flock in one shot because they were spread out too far. It was also hard to concentrate because I was just mesmerized by the sheer number of turkey vultures in the sky.

It's been a long time, but I have a new episode of Rat TV for you! This one features, you guessed it, this flock of turkey vultures. They were up there longer than I was watching them, so it was easy to get a lot of pictures and a video.

As usual, my video isn't the best in the world, but it shows what it needs to show. I don't usually have a steady enough hand on the camera, but it's not too bad this time.

This last picture shows more of these birds over the hill. I tried to get as many of them in each picture as I could, but they were spread out kind of far. The video does a better job of showing the size of the flock.

On a different subject, some of you asked in my last post how killdeers got their name. I wondered about it too. It has nothing to do with killing deer. It is simply the sound their calls make.

Anyway, I've seen these turkey vultures near this place three times now. These are my best pictures, but I do have more. I tried to take a few while my truck was moving, so those didn't come out very good. I'll have to go back on a sunnier day one time to see what I can get.

I hope to be back here soon. My writing is beginning to come back to me, so maybe I'll be able to post more often now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Killdeer In A Cemetery

I found this little Killdeer in a cemetery near one of the nature parks here. I've been seeing a lot of these birds recently and this one seemed eager to have his picture taken. he wasn't the only interesting thing I found in this cemetery. I also found a ghost!

Just kidding. It was two ghosts. Or was it three? Anyway, I didn't get any ghostly pictures. We already had that kind of fun here last winter. You'll have to search my archives for those.

I had to really fix this second picture up because the camera focused on the grass instead of the bird. But I wanted to show you his long legs so I included the picture. I followed this bird for quite some time, but this was the only time it wasn't knee deep in grass.

If you click on this last picture you can get a good look at the bird's fascinating red eye ring. I think that's what I like most about these guys. Their long legs are amusing too.

I planned to write so much more this time, but the words just don't seem to be coming. I hope to be more long winded next time. It's still a fun look at this little killdeer. Until next time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

I've been exploring very many different places around my area now. I found this thirteen-lined ground squirrel in a little cemetery not too far from my house. It may sound strange, but cemeteries are a good place to experience nature, especially if you live in a city without many other sources of nature.

When I lived in Detroit we used to drive through the cemetery quite often because there aren't many parks there. It's a nice quiet and peaceful place. A big cemetery is also a good place to learn how to drive because a young person can drive through there slowly without much traffic.

But anyway, let's get back to this ground squirrel. I've shared pictures of one of these critters before, but these today are better. Take a look at his little human-like ears. I just love them! His name comes from those thirteen alternating stripes down his back.

These critters look similar to chipmunks, but if you compare the two you can see the differences. This ground squirrel has more of woodchuck look to him than a chipmunk does.

I've been seeing these little guys scurrying past for a little while now, but this is the first one that slowed down for me. None of the animals I've been encountering seem very afraid of me. Maybe it's because they don't encounter many humans.

This one stopped to eat these seeds right next to my truck so I just had to stop and get these pictures. I would have thought the engine would have scared him away, but there he sat concentrating on his little meal.

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger if you like. I'll be bringing you pictures of another critter from the cemetery soon. I also have some amazing bird pictures with a video I want  to share. I'm excited about all I have coming; it's only tiredness holding me back.

We also have some great stuff over at Nature Center Magazine. Like I said, the articles have improved greatly, and we have more interviews with bloggers you know. We've had a good response with the questions we've already sent out. And if you've been sent interview questions we're excited to see them.

Have you ever seen a critter like the one in my pictures? Maybe another fun and unique creature? Tell me about it. It'll be fun.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Field Of Bluebirds

Well, I'm back again. And I'll hopefully be posting more often because I have too much to show you for the schedule I've been on. No more talking about bags of medicine either. I meant to be funny when I mentioned it, but it looked like whining when I read it again. So now it's all about birds. Bluebirds!

In my last post I said that there were birds all around me at that park, but what I didn't mention was that most of those were bluebirds.That was only a day or two after I commented on a couple of blogs that I hadn't seen any bluebirds since coming to my new place. Those must have been the magic words.

I had just been thinking while I was on the trail that with Isabella with me I wouldn't be seeing too many animals anymore.About a quarter mile away we reached this valley and everything changed. The birds all came out to play.

I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first because I really thought there would be no bluebirds around here. I have no idea how that thought got in my head. But I began seeing all of these brilliant blue streaks zooming by us. I thought maybe they were a kind of bird I had never seen before.

Soon I saw those little red breasts and I knew they were Eastern Bluebirds. It made me so happy to find out I was wrong about my assumptions. I really love bluebirds. I didn't really have them very close where I used to live, but I could find them at some of the other parks. These are just down the road from me.

Isabella wanted desperately to chase every little bird she saw, but I made sure to hold her back. In her excitement she ruined a few potentially good pictures, but5 she was generally well behaved. After that scare with her on the top of Stone Park I had to get her a new collar. Her old one fell off of her. I'm glad it waited until she was home.

I plan on going back to Five Ridge Prairie very soon so I can get some even better pictures of these little blue angels. I can't wait!

But I still have some great stuff to show you from recent trips. You're going to love what I have waiting. Hopefully it will be in only a day or two this time.

And I can't forget some things from Nature Center Magazine. We'll be having more interviews with some of your favorite bloggers very soon. We've gotten a very good response with the interviews so far. Keep looking to see who's next!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More At Five Ridge Prairie

I have to say that I've been very tired recently. I think I said that already. I still have some good pictures for you today though. After some short whining I'll tell you a little about them.

Here's something funny I got from the car accident I was in. I went to the doctor the other day and I came back home with a shopping bag full of medication, literally. I'm almost used to that kind of thing now, but it's still not fun. But just try to picture the amusing sight of seeing someone carrying that much medicine. It really is kind of funny. At least my head doesn't feel like it's ready to explode now.

Anyway, the picture above is the trail into the park. It stretches on for quite awhile. I think I mentioned before that I thought at first that it was only an old road leading to the trail. It took me quite some time of walking before I realized this was the trail.

This next picture shows the first indication of just how big this park really is. All you see in the distance is still the park. It really stretches out for many miles. It's an extra beautiful sight when you know that.

I walked for quite some time when I got to this point. I found myself in a valley that was full of birds. Those birds weren't afraid of me at all.  They were flying back and forth in front of me. The only thing that sent them away was Isabella's barking.

Isabella seems to take personal offense at the presence of any other animal sometimes. She constantly argues with the squirrel outside of my house. The problem there is that the squirrel likes to argue back, and he often starts it.

I'll go outside after hearing her barking. I then find Isabella focused on a tree outside. I'll yell at her to stop, but the squirrel is chattering every bit as loudly as she is barking.

But let's move on. We arrived at this river here and I took a few pictures. There is no other place where I've ever felt so far out in nature. It's a great feeling. I go out here and feel so good that I almost never want to leave.

I saw a big bird flying around down here, but it went behind the trees too quickly for me to get any pictures. I have some birds for you in future posts though, including some very big ones.

One last thing. Emma over at Nature Center Magazine has been slowly trying to contact some of you to ask if you'd like to be interviewed. If you like the idea of being interviewed then pop over and follow the link at the bottom of mine and let her know. I think it will be fun.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Broken Kettle Grasslands

It's been one thing after another for me lately. I told you in my last post how busy I've been. Burt right when I had time to do a few things on here my internet connection went down for awhile. Then just last night a thunderstorm knocked my power out. But enough of that.

I told you before that I've had a few good adventures recently, and this trip to Broken Kettle Grasslands was the first part of them. There are buffalo here but I didn't see them. It's still a very beautiful place, and that's what I'm going to show you today.

What I have for you are several pictures of places from Broken Kettle Grasslands that I enjoyed, and I'm sure you'll enjoy them too.

Many of these places in my pictures are fenced off from the public because they don't want humans to disturb the wildlife, especially the buffalo.

Broken Kettle Grasslands stretches out as far as the eye can see.The structures you may be able to see in the background are power lines. There are no towns here. The nearest town from this place is my little town.

I took this picture above because I liked the way it looked as if this place was carved out of the surrounding grounds. The background and the area surrounding all of it is just beautiful.

This last picture was taken because I liked the look of that pond in the distance. It looked so peaceful and inviting.

I have one last thing before I go today. Emma has started doing a series of interviews with nature bloggers over at Nature Center Magazine. I'm the first one who is interviewed. My interview is up today, so please go over and read it and tell the readers there how wonderful you think I am, or how terrible. And be prepared, Emma will be asking for interviews from some of you in the weeks and months ahead. Don't worry, it will be fun and it won't take long at all, and your readers will get a kick out of it.

That's all from me for today. Hopefully I'll be back very soon. Now go read my interview.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Isabella's Scary Foolishness

I'm still so busy that I'm having trouble finding time to be here right now. I had hoped that would have changed already. I had planned on spending a nice relaxing day reading some of my favorite blogs earlier today, but of course I never got to do that.

I recently ordered a new extra large hard drive for this computer. But after spending all day trying to get it to work, I finally had to give up and send it back because it was no good. I hope the replacement doesn't give me so much trouble.

Now all I have time for is to finally tell you the story of the danger my dog Isabella foolishly tried to put us both in on our latest adventure. The strange thing is that I had a strange premonityion that something like this might happen. Let's get to my little tale.

The picture above shows the view from a place atop Stone Park. This place hovers perilously hundreds of feet above the highway below. The only protection on this particular trail is the little fence you see in the picture. That fence is only about ten feet in length and at its end on either side is a very dangerous drop. A person is safe only as long as they don't behave foolishly here.

Notice the mini-van in the far distance below? Well, as it happens, Isabella likes to chase cars. As I was taking just a few quick pictures to show you just how far up we were, that mini-van came cruising by on the road below.

I heard it coming from a distance, but didn't think anything of it. After all, it was far away from us. I then decided that a picture of it might help to show the distance. It actually worked rather well, as you can see it looks very small down there. I didn't account for a foolish dog though.

This next picture was the one I took as Isabella yanked on her leash in an attempt to chase that van. Luckily, I was able to grab tight and hold my ground while yelling at her to stop. It would have been only a few feet for her to fall over the side to her death, possibly taking me with her. She's a big dog.

Needless to say, this was also the last picture I took from this place, and the last time I'll take her there. The place is not unsafe, but it is not a place for foolishness. I never thought Isabella would try to do something like that. This was perhaps the scariest thing that ever happened to me on one of my hikes. I'm just glad we were standing at the right end of the fence to keep her safe.

I quickly took us both back up the trail toward my truck and to a safer path. I think Isabella must have realized what she did afterwards because she got a little sick all over the ground when we got about halfway back. I hope she doesn't forget this incident. I know I won't.