Thursday, April 30, 2015

Did I Tell You That I Love Bridges?

Today I have a simple footbridge for you. Sure it's not as exciting as the buffalo I showed you last time. But there's something special about bridges, at least for me. What's special about them is that I really like bridges. Does there need to be anything else?

This is not the most spectacular footbridge you'll ever see. That's okay because I like every bridge I see. This bridge just goes above a little dip in the land with a little creek running through it. It's also the beginning of a little nature trail that I have yet to explore.

When I took these pictures I only went across the bridge and then a few feet farther up the trail. I'll be going back sometime in the future to see where and how far this trail goes. Maybe I'll even see a few wild animals on my journey along the trail. I hope so.

Whenever I walk across a bridge I stop about halfway and take several pictures of the place this bridge crosses. There's always something interesting to see from there whether it's beautiful or ugly. I guess I consider it all beautiful because it's part of the world, even from a bridge that goes across a busy freeway.

But I like bridges like the one in my pictures the most. This one looks out across nature in all its glory. It's surrounded by trees and water. These to me are the most peaceful and beautiful things of all. I've told you many times before of the wonderful feeling that a forest gives me, so I'll leave it at that.

I've told you all this stuff about bridges before, all the times I've posted other pictures of bridges. I'll probably do it all over again on the next bridge I find. I can't help myself. I can't resist walking across a bridge when I find it. I even love it when I find other bloggers' pictures of bridges.

I also like boardwalk areas I find. They're like long bridges. I've been in a few places where boardwalks stretch on for a very long way over most interesting swampy areas. Sometimes the mosquitoes can be unbearable in those places, but the boardwalks keep me going back.

Bridges just seem to transport me to a whole other world. All outside things seem to vanish. I don't think there are as many nature bridges and boardwalks around me here as there were when I was in Michigan, but that's okay because I haven't seen all of the bridges here yet. I can't wait to find them. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Walking Near The Buffalo

What you are seeing in this picture is completely unaltered. I was actually this close to these buffalo. I took the pictures with my cellphone, and I don't zoom in when I use it. This is the closest I've ever been to a buffalo.

I've been to this place before, and I've even shared the pictures here on my blog, but the buffalo were all near those trees you see in the distant background. I had to use the zoom on my good camera to see them. I couldn't even see them as anything but big dots with my own eyes.

Let me tell you, being this close to one of these creatures is amazing. You don't realize how big they are until you get this close to them. They're huge. These animals are much bigger than a cow. They looked about six feet high. They stood about as high as me, and they are on all fours.

The second picture is one I edited. This buffalo was actually about 30 feet away from me before I cropped the picture to get a closer look. I wanted to get a little closer to this one because he kept staring at me. The buffaloes that were closer weren't interested in me at all. They didn't care at all that I was there, but this one was paying close attention to me.

I probably shouldn't have bothered with this third picture because it's so similar to the first. The only difference is that the buffalo have shifted a little.

I guess I could have taken more pictures, but I honestly didn't think of it. These still would have been the best. I probably would have zoomed in to other parts of the herd with my other camera, but I purposely didn't bring it. I shouldn't need anything but my phone camera on some trips.

I've probably only ever been closer to geese and raccoons. The raccoons were scarier because they came after me. I have a few old posts about that incident. I do have to say that I was very intimidated walking near these buffalo. They're huge and they aren't docile like cows. I was safe enough though. This was one of the most fun adventures I've had so far. What a great day. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring In The Forest

Let's take a little break from my bird feeder. Many of you don't know yet that the bird feeder isn't my main thing. What you see in my pictures today is my main passion. What my blog is mainly about is my adventures in nature, usually a good forested nature park is what I like best.

You may not be able to see it well, but there is a dirt trail in the picture above. I didn't follow it far today, but I'm going to go back and follow it as far as I can. Today I was just out to experience nature at a few of my favorite places.

This place in the pictures is Stone Park in Sioux City, Iowa. There are nature trails and a nice lake here, but the main attraction to Stone Park is the roads where you can drive through for hours and see nature without getting out of your car. I like to get out though.

My pictures today are widescreen because I took them with my cellphone. I use a Windows Phone Lumia Icon because the camera on this phone is the best cellphone camera you can get. I wanted to use it today because I recently upgraded it so the pictures are even better than before. 

Some of these picture may seem like a mess and tangle of trees to a few of you, which is okay, but to me it is heaven. I have to tell you something I don't usually tell most people. I'm kind of a nervous person. I let my worries sometimes get the best of me.

But when I'm out in the middle of a forest like this, all of my negative thoughts of any kind simply vanish. When I'm out here a state of euphoria comes over me. I don't feel this good anywhere else in the world. Here in the forest I'm at total peace and joy. I hope everyone can find a place that does this for them.

I have more pictures than usual today because I figured, why not. I usually only like to do about three pictures per post, but this year I started doing a few posts with many more pictures than that. So I figured lots of pictures won't hurt too much as long as I don't write so much that you end up here all day. I do love to write, but I try to keep it somewhat short, and besides, you can always skim through it if you want.

The main thing I wanted to show you today in my pictures is the new spring. There aren't many leaves on the trees quite yet, but there are bunches of green here and there. This is my favorite time of year, when everything is all new and waking up. Nothing is more beautiful to me.

I think that should just about do it today. Expect more posts like this from me now. I'll still go back to the feeder every once in a while, but this is better. I don't even put the feeder out every day because of that greedy squirrel, and the birds aren't coming around nearly as much. I'll talk to you next time with something fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Uh Oh, A New Visitor

As you can see, I have a new visitor at the feeder. The strange distortions in front of the squirrel on the picture are nose prints from my dog. She was going crazy trying to get at that squirrel. It took her awhile, but she's now okay with the birds, but my dog hates that squirrel.

These are from some of my first sightings of this squirrel, but it has now been coming for a few weeks. As I expected, this little thief is driving me crazy. It's almost relentless in its quest for the food in my bird feeder. It has been so bad that for awhile I thought trying to feed the birds was over. This squirrel has eaten two feeders full of seed and stolen three suet cakes.

Even though I knew I was in a losing battle, I began to develop a plan. The squirrel gets up earlier than I do, so I can't always catch it out there, but the birds don't come to the feeder at night. My solution was to bring the feeder inside at night and take it back out in the morning. When the squirrel comes to the feeder, which is almost immediately, I let the dog out. The squirrel always gets away, but sometimes doesn't come back for the rest of the day.

Honestly I wouldn't mind if the squirrel ate some of the food, but it eats so much that I can't keep enough out there for it. I mostly keep it away, but it still gets its share. And of course the birds don't come around when the squirrel is there. The good thing is that they're still coming after the dog runs the squirrel off.

With the warm weather I'm guessing that I won't get many new birds at the feeder, so I'm going to have to finally get up and get back to my normal adventures. The bird feeder is fun because I like posting about animals, but soon I'll have to get back to hiking through the nature parks again.

I don't see as many animals at the parks here in Iowa as I did in Michigan. The animals have many more places to hide here than they did there. I miss the animals. Maybe I'll have to learn about some of the plants here too to make up for not as many animal sightings. Plants are a difficult subject for me, but I've learned in the past. I guess I'll find out what happens. It should be fun. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Change In Attitudes

I told you in the past about how the little Juncos were jealously guarding my old bell feeders. They would try to chase away the bigger birds, but it really never worked. That attitude seems to have changed completely with the new feeder.

The Juncos are now happy to let any other bird have its way at the feeder. For the most part the Juncos stay on the floor of the porch collecting fallen seed. Whenever they do come up to the feeder they seem happy to share with the other birds, and they even make sure they stay away from the others.

On the other hand the Downy Woodpeckers are now the aggressive birds at the feeder. I recently watched one of these Woodpeckers attack another bird that had landed on the top of the feeder while the Woodpecker was in the position you see in the pictures. The two birds briefly had a fight in the air as the other bird tried to flee.

I didn't get a good look at that other bird, but I thought maybe it might have been one of the Cardinals. I hope that means they're trying to come back. I don't know if that will happen with the aggressive behavior of the Woodpeckers though. It's just been interesting to see the changing behavior of these birds up close as they all try to share this feeder. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Male Downy Woodpecker

You've seen pictures of a Downy Woodpecker here several times now, but these are a first. After looking at my newest pictures I discovered something different about this bird. I know you won't notice it until I point it out to you. It's a small thing, but it's very noticeable.

On the back of this bird's head is a bright red band. That red band marks it as a male Downy Woodpecker. The female doesn't have this red mark. After seeing that mark I realized that it explains so much about the woodpecker I've been watching.

Once I put out this feeder I noticed that the Downy Woodpecker was coming to it very very often. I was wondering how it could stuff itself so much. Any time another bird showed up the Woodpecker was quickly there soon after. 

Now I know that this bird shows up so often because it's actually more than one bird. There are at least two of these Woodpeckers at the feeder. I can only tell now because of that red mark, but I'm also beginning to suspect that there may be even three or more of these birds coming.

Here above you can really get a good look at the red mark on the back of the Woodpecker's head.

I'm still very behind on posting my bird pictures. Maybe I'll catch up if the birds that come to the feeder begin to slow down. They have slowed quite a bit. It seems the same birds are coming over and over. I'm getting the two kinds of Woodpeckers and the Juncos, and that's mostly it. I won't keep repeatedly showing you pictures of them unless I have a good reason.

Now that the weather is warming up maybe other birds will come over. I haven't seen any yet. The Woodpeckers dominate the feeder while the Juncos pick up the scraps. And the Juncos will soon be gone. What will replace them? I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

This big fella is called a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Well, it might not be a fella, maybe it's a girl. I saw this bird trying to eat at the bell feeder once, but it was just too big for it. It came to the new feeder several times before I was finally able to get any pictures.

This is a pretty big bird, perhaps twice the size of a Cardinal. When he shows up the other birds leave the feeder immediately. I suspect this is the bird that destroyed the last of my bell feeders. It's about the right size. All I saw was a blur when it happened so maybe I'm accusing the wrong bird.

The picture above is blurred because of the motion of the bird's head. I like it though because it shows the bird's mouth wide open and you can see its tongue.

I've had a few weeks now since I took these pictures, and this bird has been coming to the feeder on most days. I miss the Cardinals, but I have at least one new bird to replace them. I love Woodpeckers of all kinds so this is a nice treat to have another one visiting my feeder.

I've had pictures of Red-Bellied Woodpeckers in the past, but not for several years now until I got this one. I'm glad to see that there are a few more birds coming around. I still think there aren't many birds in the area for some reason. That's why I was reluctant to get a feeder in the first place.

I'm still not getting a huge variety of birds, but as you can see I'm getting more than enough to keep me busy. I'm at least getting plenty of posts to write. The weather is warming up nicely and I'll be off on some better adventurers soon. And maybe I can still get some stuff from the feeder to fill in at times. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Last Of The Cardinals

These pictures are the last of the Cardinals at my bird feeder in a long time. This is the only time either of the cardinals got this close to the feeder. They have never actually used it. They seemed to like the bell feeders just fine, but this new feeder just doesn't seem to be their thing.

The male Cardinal hopped around on the porch one day when there was some bird seed spilled there, but he didn't want to use the feeder either. After these pictures I haven't seen either of these birds for weeks now. I really hoped the day I took these pictures that they were back now, but I guess they just don't like it.

The female Cardinal flew away when she saw the Downy Woodpecker coming to the feeder. This is the last picture I have of her. The Woodpecker seems very possessive of this feeder and comes over every time any other bird comes near. Maybe that's why the Cardinals are staying away.

Oh well. I'm actually looking for pictures of new birds anyway. I already have pictures of Cardinals that I've shared. I can't keep showing the same birds over and over. I'm only sharing these pictures because I think this is kind of an interesting development with the Cardinals. Besides, I love it when I get a picture of a bird in flight. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Juncos Finally Use The New Feeder

My posts are about a month behind the pictures I'm taking. I can't help it. I'm going as fast as I can now after my little time off, and there is more happening than I can post every couple of days. It's mostly this little stuff at my bird feeder, but that's much better than I would normally have after still recovering a little from being sick.

After several days of having the new feeder, the Juncos have finally decided to use it. The only problem is that they still don't really like it very much. It seems that only the Woodpecker likes the feeder, and she likes it a lot. I've seen the Cardinals a couple of times, but they're also avoiding this new feeder.

I'm trying to be patient, but I hope getting this new expensive feeder wasn't a mistake. The Woodpecker loves it, but these pictures of the Junco is all I have gotten of any other birds in quite some time. Remember I'm a month behind and the time difference between pictures and posts is much different.

I'm glad the Juncos have at least finally decided to try out the feeder. Maybe now other birds will come over and give it a try. I know there are some other birds that were too big for those bell feeders. Maybe some of them will come after awhile. I'll have to keep watching. I have lots of time for that until they finally get some of my truck problems fixed. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rabbit Out Front

Last month I opened my door to let the dog out on her chain and I found this little rabbit sitting there waiting for us. The dog instantly went into predator mode and crouched down and got ready to sneak up on it. Well, the rabbit already saw us.

For some reason the rabbit froze in place for over a minute. That gave me the chance to step back inside and get my camera. The lucky thing is that my dog likes to sneak up on her targets nice and slow, so she hadn't yet moved off the porch. But she was watching.

I only have this one picture because they were all identical. The rabbit never moved. But then finally the dog leaped up out of her crouch and ran for the rabbit. The rabbit ran off to the left and over to the trees out of reach of the dog. I never had a chance to get any more pictures because both the rabbit and the dog were too fast for my camera.

My little town is just full of these rabbits. Whenever I go somewhere I see about half a dozen of them out my truck window running around the town. I see a few rabbits on my property most of the time when I go outside. Usually I don't have my camera with me. At least I was able to get this rabbit this time. I'll talk to you later.