Monday, November 30, 2009

Poll Results - What Describes You?

We have reached the end of another poll, and this time the results are going to be nice, unlike last time when I pulled that dirty trick on you. I gotta admit I still get a chuckle out of that one. Uhm... Well, anyway, I'm going to try something a little different than that this time. Let's just see what I've got for you.

This happened to be the most successful poll so far. We had a grand total of 52 votes! It also proved to be one of the closest polls of all too. This is quite understandable because probably a little bit of every choice describes me, and they may have been equally hard for you. We'll need to go through them a bit to see what's what.

Let's see... I asked you, "Which best describes you?" And your answers were...

#6 Hiker - 5 votes (9%) : It's interesting that hiking came in last, especially since hiking is supposed to be a major part of this blog. I guess I really don't talk about actual hiking as much as I do some other things. What's really more important to me anyway are the things I see while I'm hiking.

I also am not even close to the best hiker in the world. My hikes only last a few hours at the most, but that's part of the point here. I am trying to show some of the things that even a beginner can do and see. If I were to hike up the side of a mountain, or something equally as awesome, this blog wouldn't be for beginners.

#5 Reader - 6 votes (11%) : When I first think of it, this one also baffles me. All of us are readers. I'm sure many of you love reading as much as I do. But then on further reflection I completely understand. None of us are just simple readers. We are much more complex than that. We are more active than that. Sure we read, but we put that reading to productive use. We use that creativity that all readers have, and we write and we go and do things. Sure we are readers, but we are all also so much more!

As for me, you won't find me without something to read in my hand or my pocket. I keep an old PDA with me wherever I go. I can fit a whole library of books on that one little device, and I always do! There are so many sources for free books on the internet, and places where you can also buy them. By the way, for any of you who are interested, my favorite by far is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

#4 Hamburglar - 7 votes (13%) : Wow, hamburglar actually made it to 4th place! It's a widely known secret that I try to put in a ridiculous choice in every poll, and this is obviously it this time. Either several of you were playing along with the fun or you are legitimate hamburglars. But wait, don't most of us have at least a little bit of hamburglar in us?

I myself love a good hamburger more that any kind of meat with bones in it. Maybe it's a generational thing or just the way I was brought up, but I would rather have a hamburger than most other food, except for one thing. Tacos! Yup, I love tacos! They can come in just about any form. Legitimate Mexican food is the best, but I'm willing to eat at even a fast food place if it means having tacos. Is there an equivalent word to hamburglar for that?

#3 Photographer - 8 votes (15%) : Photography is a big part of this blog, so I understand this choice very much. Many of you also use photography to tell your stories. Some of you are mainly photographers and only sometimes use words to help the photos along. Others are like me, and you use the photos to illustrate your stories. Yet still others love both equally. Photography is important to us all, isn't it?

There's perhaps a strange side to this for me. I never used a camera until a few short months before I started this blog. I discovered the fun of photography while on a vacation. I just wanted to reproduce the fun of my vacation every day. I knew that a camera would have to be a major part of that, so I went out and bought the same camera I use today. It's perhaps the best camera that exists for a beginner, and there's plenty of room to grow with it.

#2 Nature Lover - 12 votes (23%) : Now we're getting to the top! Everybody that comes here, including me, loves nature to some extent. I'd say that 99% of my posts talk about nature in some form or another. Even my poll posts like this one mention it. A lot of you come to see my goofy squirrel pictures, or to read my stories of friendly deer or how I describe the sound that the forest makes. Yes, there is a very distinct sound. What it all comes down to is that nature is the main topic here.

Another strange thing relating to the photography section above is that I didn't start here intending to focus so much on nature. I was going to write about different places to go and see in a typical city or town. I wanted to write about it as I discovered it. I started with something familiar to me, which was my nature trails. I still haven't found those other things, but my love of nature has grown maybe one million percent!

#1 Writer - 14 votes (26%) : And finally we come to the winner! I love nature very much, but how do I express that to you? I write about it, of course! And since most of you who actively participate here are also blog owners, most of you would also be writers to some extent. I guess writing has become second nature to most of us, even if it didn't begin that way. Some of you began as writers, and found blogging as a great outlet for your creativity.

That could also describe me. I had so many ideas in my head, but I had very little experience in transferring them down in print. I had to do something that would spur me on. What better way to gain that experience and expose myself to embarrassment than to write a public blog? Writing in public can help develop a very thick skin to help get over any lingering inhibition. I now can write about almost anything without fear or shame.

Okay, there we are! That is my rundown of the poll this time. This was a long one, but I think it was well worth it. What do you think? I'll be back tomorrow with some more nature, some more writing, and a few other things listed above. Don't worry though, there will be no hamburglarizing here, at least publicly.

Update: I almost went back and scrapped this whole post because I became seriously nervous after realizing just how much I talked about myself here. That's funny.  -Tacobandito.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Mystery Bird

The tree in this picture seems to be a very valuable resource to birds. I have seen so many different birds perched in it and its surrounding neighbors. Awhile ago I moaned about not seeing any kinds of birds other than robins now that the weather has gotten colder, but I'm discovering that it's simply not true.

I've now seen a cardinal in this same tree, and then there are the birds like the one in this picture. I guess the reason I thought there were only robins is because I had trouble seeing all the way to the other birds. The robins are friendly creatures that aren't afraid to get a little closer.

I guess all it took for me to begin to realize how wrong I had been was to use my camera to get a closer look at the birds I see when I'm there. It took some time and practice for me to be able to do that. As you can see, I had to brighten the area up quite a bit so this little bird would show up.

I don't really know what kind of bird it is, partly because the pictures don't show the best angle to help me find out, and partly because I don't care to research yet. I'll do that if I get a few better shots of this little guy. I do know that this bird is maybe 3/4 of the size of an American robin, or maybe even a bit smaller than that. I guess that's a start.

Even if I don't know what kind of bird I have here I still feel good to have the pictures. Just knowing that there's a chance of having so many different birds around here makes me happy. Being an Everyday Adventurer is helping me greatly increase my knowledge of the variety of wildlife around me. When I started out I knew virtually nothing, and now I have some of these creatures following me around.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Geese Of The Fog

I guess since I started showing you these videos a few days ago I've become video happy! I really had no idea how easy it was to make this stuff, but now it's becoming fun. This one is another slide show because I didn't have the idea for the video yet. Slide shows give me an opportunity to show you some limited animation, and also show more pictures than I usually could.

I got these pictures from the fishing platform on the lake on that same foggy day when the deer came out of the fog to look at me. I was standing there trying to see even my hand in front of my face when I heard geese honking down at the other end of the lake. It then occurred to me that the sound was coming closer.

As I looked into the fog, they came into view! Those geese seemed to be flying right toward me! It all happened so fast, but it seemed as if it were happening in slow motion. As they got closer they turned a little toward my right, and they were soon flying right past me over the lake. Just like that it was over. Seeing them in the fog and hearing the eerie hollow sound of their voices was just amazing!

Little did I know that the lake was just full of geese. When I went down to the other end I found about a dozen more swimming around by the dam. Take a closer look at the goose on the left. Its mouth is open in mid-honk. It was really hard to see them, but what I could see was fascinating!

Here's a slightly better look at the larger part of the group. It's still only half of them. They were swimming away quickly, so I didn't have much time to get my pictures. As I was taking these shots another group came flying in above me. I heard them splash down into the water, but I saw nothing. They soon came swimming back into view.

Alrighty then, that's our little look at geese in the fog. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to get you some videos and pictures without the fog in the next few days. Which should I choose though? This is going to be tough!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rat TV - Mallards

Today is the official debut of Rat TV! This first episode will feature a few mallard ducks I found in the pond at the back of one of my favorite nature parks. I'll bring you video like this from time to time. I guess the other day with the deer slide show was kind of a preview since it wasn't an actual video, but this is the real thing.

You might want to turn your sound down for this one because I was there on a noisy day when I got this. You won't be able to hear the ducks, because of the loud rushing sound. I guess I could have silenced it while I was putting together the video, but I'm still learning.

The funny thing is that the sound is barely audible if you're really there at the pond. The camera seems to pick up every little thing. Maybe one of these days you'll even hear a bit of my voice on Rat TV. Then you'll run away screaming.

I don't want to forget about the photos though. This fallen tree is one of the favorite places for all of the birds that come out here. It provides a nice place for them to rest, and a good launching area when they want to swim away fast. It's also far away from the trails where any humans might be.

Here's a group of the mallards swimming away from their favorite tree stump in the last picture. There were a lot of ducks out there that day. They would swim in little groups like this, but there were several of these groups out on the pond.

That's it for this first official episode of Rat TV. The next one will be something special, but I'm not sure when I'll bring it to you yet. Tomorrow's post is also a mystery for me. I hope it will be something good. I like good things.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm back again with one last look at this deer of the foggy day. It's a very busy day for those of us here in the United States because we're celebrating Thanksgiving today. I'm still not going to disappoint any of you who might want to look in and see what I might have for you though.

In this top picture there is something strange. I didn't see it while I was out in that thick fog, but there is another deer to the right and behind the deer that wanted to be my friend. It was wandering around back there, and I only saw it when I looked at these pictures. I have said before that the camera saw through that fog better than I did, and it is very true.

This second picture shows the deer raising its head up in the air. What she was doing was sniffing in my direction. She was trying to determine what I was and what my intentions were. She must have thought I didn't smell too bad because she moved closer every time she did that.

Every time she made that sniffing motion, I would copy her exactly. She seemed to take that as a gesture of friendship too, because that also brought her a little bit closer. I did my best to coax this deer ever closer, but I didn't really need to because she seemed to be trying to get me to come closer. This was a very curious deer. I almost expected her to begin taking pictures of me.

This third picture was after I decided that it would be best if I moved away from the deer. I could hear the male making those aggressive noises, so I put some distance between me and them. The picture shows another reason that I don't touch the animals.

She probably just had a normal itch, but she also might have had fleas or ticks. I like animals but I really don't want parasites passed on to me because I felt the need to pet a deer. That's just asking for trouble.

Finally we come to the last photo I took of the deer. It's also the last I saw of her. Goodbye my animal friend. Goodbye.

And to all of you who are reading today I hope you have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! If you don't quite understand what Thanksgiving is, it is just a day where we as Americans give thanks for what we have. It was originally a day of thanks for food by a small group of Pilgrims here who had been having trouble getting any. They were given the food they needed by a friendly group of natives. And they all ate together to show their thanks and their friendship.

On this very busy day for me I'd like to thank all of you for visiting, your kind comments, and your friendship. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It Came Out Of The Fog

Here it is! This the the mysterious animal that most of you guessed yesterday in the game. Yes, it is a White-Tailed Deer. I told you yesterday that it came after me, and that's exactly what it did. I'm going to tell you the story of how that happened, and I also have something new for you at the end of the post. Let's start!

On the foggy day I've been telling you about, I was walking from the lake up the path toward the meadow where I frequently see deer. About halfway through the path I met a man with his dog. The man told me that he had see a few deer in that meadow, but they had scattered when they saw him and his companion.

Obviously I was not happy at that point because I had hoped to be able to see a deer or two myself when I got there. I figured the deer wouldn't be coming out any time soon after seeing that pair. So I made my way to the meadow with thoughts of just getting a few scenery pictures of that foggy place. It was soon after I got there that I saw the flashes of a deer's tail that I showed you in yesterday's game!

The deer soon disappeared into the trees, so I began taking my scenery pictures. Let me tell you, it was not easy to see out there at all! My camera was able to cut through the fog much better than my eyes could. I had just turned towards the trees where I last saw the deer when I saw a figure coming towards me out of the fog!

It was one of the deer! It was moving purposefully in my direction. I knew by its body language that it had seen me, and was coming to investigate. It was moving right for me so I stopped so it wouldn't run away. It was then that I noticed that it was thinking of coming right up to me!

I wasn't sure what to do by then because it didn't seem like it was being aggressive, but it was moving with a purpose. It kept looking at me as if it really wanted to find out what I was and what I was doing there. I guess it was much like I do to a lot of animals. This was another deer that was not one bit afraid of me!

I was kind of glad when it stopped about ten feet away. It began lifting its head in my direction sniffing the air. I learned a long time ago to mimic the gestures of a deer, so I did the same thing to it. That seemed to rouse its curiosity even more and it took another few steps forward. There was also one other thing I wanted to try.

When it inched towards me I turned as if I was going to run away. That seemed to embolden the deer. It still moved cautiously, but it came even closer to me when I did that. My fake show of fear made the deer actually seem to try to coax me back towards it though. It was trying to show me that it meant no harm. This was one of the strangest animal encounters I've ever had!

This deer was trying to get me to come closer for some odd reason, but I wasn't going to try it. Just as the deer didn't want to scare me, I also didn't want to scare it. I also didn't want to accidentally teach it that humans were safe to approach. I'm not sure it saw me as a human though.

Just for a short break in the story, I wanted to show you this picture. It was one where the deer had been moving towards me. It's looking right at me. I really sensed no aggression on its part, but I did sense intense curiosity. It also showed an amazing amount of tenderness when it thought I had become afraid.

Now I know I implied yesterday that I thought I was in some danger. Well, I think at one point I really was, but not from this deer. In this last picture you can see that she is looking off into the distance. She was look towards a sound at the edge of the forest that we could both hear.

That sound was something that I've only heard on nature TV shows. It sounded like a male deer sharpening its antlers on a tree. It was kind of a clacking sound, and it was much too close for comfort. That sound means that the male deer is thinking very aggressively, and it's best to stay out of his way.

I thought I had seen movement through the fog in that direction before those sounds began, and the female here in front of me seemed to be checking out the sounds, but she wasn't too afraid. She did begin to slowly move away from me after they started though. That was when I thought I should get out of the meadow and leave these deer in peace. It was only the third time now that I've left an animal before it left me.

As you can see, I have added a video to my post today. It's the very first one I have ever put here on this blog. I guess you can say that this is the debut of Rat TV. This video is only really a quick slide show of the deer in the pictures. I wanted to give you some idea of what I saw when the deer came to me.

I came up with this idea after I remembered that I should have captured a video of the whole incident. I wish this could have been better, but I was torn between watching the deer and taking pictures when this all happened. I hope you enjoy it. There will be more and better videos in the future.

That's all for this huge post. Tomorrow I'll bring more pictures of the deer because I have a few more points to make here. There's still some interesting things to tell about this encounter, but tomorrow I'll try to keep it a  little shorter for you. See you then!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Game - Guess The Creature

As you may have already guessed by the title of this post, it's game time again! This game was inspired by something that happened to me while I was making my way through this thick fog. There was a creature out there. That creature came at me out of that fog, and it was almost on me before I knew it was coming!

Yes, it indeed saw me and knew I was there. It made no mistake when it came after me. The only warning I had was that I saw this flash of light color in the foggy distance. Before everything was done I got a very good look at what it was. I can only say that I made it out of there unscathed. Tomorrow I'll show you that creature and tell you everything that happened.

For today though, for the purpose of this game, what I want from you is to guess the identity of this creature that was so interested in me. All I will tell you is that some very strange things happen when you're walking in thick fog like this. Why would something come after me like this? It has happened before, but I so far I've been very lucky that there has only been one incident where the creatures caught up to me.

Just as in all of my other games, this is just for fun. I promise no prizes but the fun of playing the game and making a guess. As always, leave your guess in the comments section. Even if you think somebody already guessed what you think is the correct answer, you can still guess the same thing. And you can have as many guesses or comments as you want. One guess per comment though so it doesn't get confusing.

Okay then, guess what this creature was that accosted me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thick Morning Fog

I woke up very early in the morning, before it was even daylight. I looked out my window, remembering news reports that there would be thick fog rolling in. I thought they must have been exaggerating, because while there was fog it didn't seem so bad. But as night turned into day the fog came in at full force!

I had convinced myself not to drive all the way to the nature park when I saw how thick the fog had become, but as I watched a few other cars drive by I thought I'd at least go outside to take a look. Then since I was already started I got in my truck and I was on my way.

As I drove to the nature park I had trouble seeing even a few car lengths ahead of me, so I had to take it very slow. If I was very careful and watched extra close I thought I should make it there without a problem. When I finally pulled the truck through the gate of the park I knew I was right for making the trip.

What surprised me the most when I got there was that somebody was already there! I figured I would have been the only one foolish enough to make this foggy trek out to this place so early in the morning. If that wasn't enough, as I made my way towards the trail I heard, but couldn't see, another car coming down the long driveway towards the parking lot. Now it was a crowd!

I'm sure you've noticed by now that it's very difficult to see much of anything in these pictures. Well it was even harder for me to see anything. The camera was able to cut through the fog much better than my eyes could. I was able to hear the sounds of an occasional squirrel or bird, but I never saw anything.

This picture was all the way at the back of the park in the meadow. I took this one as I was thinking of going back into the forest to go back to the front of the park. I also made a couple of stops at the lake, with many pictures from there. And there are a good amount of pictures of this meadow to show you too. But I'll be showing these to you in the next few days.

This is what I immediately saw when I entered the forest from the meadow at the back of the park. The fog had begun to lift very slightly from before, but it was still very thick. I have to say that I really love the spooky feel of the forest with all of this fog. For most people this would be scary and disturbing, but it was oddly comforting to me. It made me feel like I had been here for hundreds of years.

Another shot of the forest shows how the camera sees better than my own eyes. Still, the path ahead is obscured by the fog. Anything could jump out of that fog at me! And I have to tell you that something that was not human did at one point. I wasn't at all sure what to do when that happened! But I'll tell you that story in a few days.

For now, I hope you enjoy this first bunch of foggy pictures almost as much as I enjoyed being out there... all alone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bottoms Up

Why do they call them ducks? Could it be that it's simply because of this? The fact that they routinely duck under the water? I don't know, but this is one of the most fun things to watch. A whole bunch of ducks going down and then back up.

These ducks were an entertaining sight on an otherwise gloomy day. When I watched these ducks it was not on the most ideal of days. It was getting dark at about 3:00 in the afternoon. And on top of that, the sky was full of heavy clouds, and it was raining just enough to make it unpleasant.

The thing is that these ducks were still able to do the things they do all through this gloomy day. I realized while I watched them that the day didn't seem so bad after all. I wondered who else gets to sit there, yes I said sit, while watching as ducks somehow turn a gloomy day into a bright one.

Back up for air! She finally came back up from the water to see him waiting there patiently for her. As soon as she was up though, he took his turn to duck his head down into the water. This is a rare shot of both of them up at the same time. I was glad they were there helping me brighten my day.

Now for something completely different!

I received the Best Blog Award from my friend Nathan, over at Wild Facts. Go take a look at Nathan's blog. He features some of the most interesting and the strangest animals you've ever seen. Go ahead, you won't be sorry. And tell him Ratty sent you! You can find his post about the award here: Wild Award!

Thank you very much, Nathan!

Now the rules.
  1. Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great!
Nathan is a new friend so he may not know what all of you already know. That is the fact that I always cheat when I receive an award. I know, I'm terrible! I have my own very good reasons though. So what I'm going to do is present this award to all of you who comment here routinely who I haven't put in my sidebar yet. It's yours, all yours! Your official notification is when you read this post. It's a Best Blog Award, and I know you deserve it very much!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Birds In Flight

I have focused my attention to the sky from time to time. There are many different things up there that are hard to ignore. Whenever I plan to take pictures of birds I always heads straight for an area at one park where there are birds in the trees.

The only problem is that they don't stay there for long. They always fly away just when I try to get my shot. I usually stand there and helplessly watch them fly away. The other day though I lifted the camera in quick draw fashion, like a cowboy, and pulled the trigger. I was right on target.

That bird was lucky he wasn't an old west bad guy because he would've gone down with a thud while the townsfolk cheered me on. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm getting pretty good at aiming my camera at moving objects. I still don't know how I got so lucky to center this bird with only one shot.

This picture shows the first flock of birds that I've had the opportunity to get a picture of. I guess that's because I spend most of my time under the trees of the forest. There just isn't the same view when I have to look up through the branches.

Click on the pictures to get a better look at the different poses these flying birds are now frozen forever into.

Here's the second photo of this same high flying flock. This one shows more of the birds. They were flying by at top speed so I didn't have much time before they disappeared over the trees and they were gone forever. I'm glad I happened to look up just as they passed by overhead.

This last one happens to be one of the bigger birds I've seen out there. It was so big that it made a strange buzzing whirring sound as it flew over. It also didn't seem to have to flap it's wings very often because I didn't see it do it even once. And it had one of the strangest shaped tails I've ever seen on a bird. Odd, very odd.

So there we are! I hope you liked this short look at birds in flight today. I know it was kind of goofy, but this wouldn't be The Everyday Adventurer if it wasn't, now would it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Quiet Forest

When I got to the nature park this time there was no sounds at all. No birds, no squirrels, no anything. Not even any people were there to disturb me. I thought it wasn't going to be a good day to find any animals, so I figured I'd just concentrate on my hike.

After a little while I began to hear something. Don't get excited though because it was only the sound of a cricket. One lone cricket! That's all I heard as I walked through the first third of the hiking trail. It wasn't a problem, but it was kind of eerie if you know that this park is always full of the sound of birds and other animals.

All of this quiet had me listening very closely for any sounds of the forest, even something small. Eventually I did hear some quiet shuffling sounds in the leaves. I instinctively stopped and looked in the direction it was coming from. The sound turned into a squirrel right before my eyes.

I guess there were animals after all, but by this time I was in the mood to focus on the forest around me. The pictures that you see here are what this forest looks like today. The last time I showed it to you it was lush and green. A month or two ago I was depressed about this, but now I'm okay with it because I realize that this is the natural order of things.

Even with the forest like this there is a natural dignity that all good forests have. I also get to experience hiking in a completely different environment, even though this is the very same forest that I hike at least once a week all year long. There are also others that I travel at the same frequency. The changing seasons continue to give me a new adventure every day.

When winter arrives there will be times when the forest floor that is now covered with brown leaves will have a white carpet of snow on top. That will give me a completely new adventure. It will also give me a different challenge to consider. As time changes so do my adventures. That makes me happy.

(Before you leave, if you like short stories jump on over to Rat Tales and take a look at my latest story, It's Coming. You won't be sorry.)(I also have another post right below the one you're reading right now. I've been very busy, haven't I?)

My Two New Awards

I have received two awards in the last few days. They happen to be the same award, but from two different places. Think of it, two different people thought my blog was worthy enough to give this award to me. That makes me doubly grateful! I really appreciate it!

I received this first from my friend VanillaSeven, and here is his post where you can find it: Best Blog Award.

I also received this from my friend Chuck at Secondary Roads, and here is his post where you can find it: Another Award Received ~ Best Blog Award.

I want to sincerely thank you both for these awards. I am extremely grateful that you thought of me and my blog.

And to everyone else, visit their blogs and tell them Ratty sent you.

Now on to the rules for this award. You must post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted you this award and a link to his/her blog.

Pass the award on to 15 other blogs you have recently discovered, and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers you’ve awarded to let them know they have been chosen.

Well, as most of you know by now, I just simply can't do anything, and I mean anything, without being a dastardly cheater! So the way I'm going to bend the rules this time is to give it to you, the one who is reading this. Most of you have a blog, and I've already been reading yours. I know you deserve this award as much as I do, so that's why it's yours now. You've read this, so it's too late to give it back!

You don't have to do anything but accept my congratulations. But if you want to write a post about it mentioning me, I will be extremely grateful to you. And you should know by now how much I like visiting and telling you how much I like your site. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you very much!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My First Buck!

I finally got to see him! I saw my first male white-tailed deer, also known as a buck. This has been a long time coming for me. After seeing and taking so many pictures of female deer and their little ones I literally stumbled right into the meeting with this one.

I was at the same park where I've seen so many deer in the meadow at the back. I was actually looking for them back there, and I was disappointed that there were none there. For some odd reason I expected to see them that day, which I've never done before.

I had forgotten all about it when I was all the way back to the front of the park, getting ready to leave. I had one more turn before I could see the parking lot when I sensed something off to my right. There it was laying in the grass! He was looking in my direction, but he seemed completely unconcerned.

At first I didn't see his antlers, but I quickly focused my eyes, and there they were! I began furiously taking pictures for all I was worth! The funny thing is that he didn't move even an inch. I didn't even see a twitch of an ear! This was even after I moved from side to side trying to get a better view over the tall grass.

I actually began to suspect that maybe he wasn't real. I thought maybe he was only a stuffed deer that was put there for some strange reason. Why would somebody do that? After awhile I thought I saw him blink his eyes. It was a huge relief!

Since he wasn't going to move, I decided that I should just go away and not disturb him any longer. The pictures were close to identical, and I was guessing that he must just need to rest. Not wanting to interrupt that, I headed off towards the parking lot. But then I got an idea.

I came back around from another direction, doing my best to sneak up on him. I didn't want to get too close because even though he would most likely run, those antlers are there for a reason. I actually got pretty close to him before he made his move.

He got up quickly, so I thought he must have seen me coming at him. Then he did something unexpected. Instead of looking at me, he looked off to the right. I followed his head to what he was looking at. There was a guy standing in the exact same spot where I previously took my pictures from.

It was that guy that the deer didn't like. Why didn't he care when I was over there? Maybe I have developed a certain body language that says I'm not a threat. That could become dangerous for me in the wrong situation. The deer never once looked at me now.

He soon ran off into the woods and was gone. I got this picture of him leaving. It's a little blurry, but it illustrates exactly why they call them white-tailed deer. They lift their tails like this when they sense danger. It acts as an instinctive flag to warn any other deer.

So ends my exciting encounter with the first male deer I've ever seen. The first set of antlers I have ever seen up close. Nature is such a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Fall Cardinal

There is an area of the nature park that I've told you about many times before. It's full of birds almost every day. Lately that hasn't really been the case. As the weather has gotten colder most of the birds have gone away. Now the only birds I usually see are all American robins.

I like the robins but I only want to feature them here so many times before I show you something new. Even so, I love looking at the animals while I'm on my hikes, so another robin is one more fun sighting for me. My main focus is on the hiking, but I really do like sharing the animals I see along the way.

Anyway, I was looking up at the trees hoping to get a glimpse, and maybe a few good pictures, of a few of the robins that like to populate the trees in this place. I remember seeing a hint of red when I pointed the view screen at the first bird I saw, and I thought that confirmed it was indeed the robin I was after. I guess I couldn't have been more wrong.

Thanks to my zoom lense I was able to get a nice clear shot of this beautiful Cardinal! That's right, what I thought was a robin turned out to be a cardinal. The bird was so far away that I didn't know just what I had until I got home. I thought the red I saw looked a little more vibrant than usual, but I really didn't expect this.

I have to say that this is one of the greatest parts of nature; it's when you come across something as unexpected as this. I had been resigned to the fact that the only animals I would be showing you for awhile would be a select few, and then this red burst of color found its way to my camera. Ahh, the greatness of nature!

This last photo of this cardinal is actually the first picture I took of him. Yes, I said him. It's only the males that have this red color. The female cardinals are a light gray color, but they look the same otherwise. Hopefully one day I'll be able to show you a good picture of a female. For now though, I'm extremely happy to be able to show this bird to you.

I wonder what kind of creature I'll find in the forest next. Could a Bigfoot be out of the question? I'll be watching!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Evil Robin

This evil looking bird is one of the creatures I encountered the day after I met Flynn the Fox Squirrel. Surprisingly it is just a robin. Robins aren't known for doing any harm to humans, and this one was no exception. But it still looks kind of sinister to me.

In reality I watched this robin and a few others for several minutes. They were all eating the berries from this tree. One by one they flew away to a bigger tree across the hiking trail. This was the last one left on this tree so I moved a little closer for some better pictures.

Right in the middle of several shots the robin jumped into the air and flew right over my head to the tree behind me. You don't know how glad I was that he didn't decide to drop any bombs on me. What I was left with though was this picture of him getting ready to swoop down right over my head.

Here he is just the way he was when I first got there. He looks like a perfectly peaceful robin searching for a meal. Well, except that he looks a little darker than a typical American robin. There's a reason for this. You see, I happened to be out there as the sun was beginning to go down.

That has been a problem for me lately because I haven't had much time to get out to my hiking trails before night begins to fall. It's getting dark so early here that by the time I'm finished on my trails it is approaching nightfall. Not fair! Not fair!

This same day I had a couple of excellent opportunities to get some excellent pictures of black squirrels, but the light had gone down so far that I just didn't have enough light to get them. I can get pictures in poor light, so that wasn't exactly the problem.

The light had become uneven. There was a little bit of light and a little bit of dark, which is common in a forest. That's when my camera decides that it just can't think, and it refuses to focus correctly on my subjects. That's exactly why it couldn't get those black squirrel pictures. So they all came out blurry.

The same type ofthing ws happening here with these robins, so many of the pictures of them came out blurry. Another problem was that the camera was determined to focus on all the wrong things, such as those branches in the background. I guess it was because they're so much lighter.

In the end I got these few pictures to come out right, but they ended up having this curious effect of having this shadowy look to the birds. I'm kind of glad it happened in this case because these pictures came out looking kind of cool. Ahh, what a world we live in!

One last thing I want to mention is that I brought you as much as five pictures this time to make up for my very evil joke yesterday involving the super powers poll. Of course I planned it all along. It all came about after I talked to a mysterious white-suited man in the woods. He suggested the whole thing. I felt oddly compelled to do as he said.

My new poll will be a much kinder and gentler poll. Even though being bad is so much fun, I decided to try and make being good just as much fun this time. I hope it works. Besides, maybe if I change the poll for the better my pictures of robins will begin to come out bright and vibrant again. I hate being cursed!