Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I didn't catch the cormorant at a rare time in the picture above. A cormorant will hold its wings open like that for long periods of time so it can dry them in the Sun. They have to do that because they don't have the same natural oils on their feathers that repel water that a lot of other water birds, like ducks, do.
From a distance these birds can sometimes look rather sinister or bat-like when they are perched like this with their wings spread open. Some people consider them to be pests, and they most likely are in some places. But there aren't very many of them in my lake, so they're just fine here.
They will dive under the water for a long time trying to catch fish. One second you see them, and the next second they're gone. They eventually pop back up to the surface far away from where they started. They're actually kind of fun to search for when they do this.
Okay, that's my post for today. I had to do this one quickly because I was having quite a bit of trouble getting onto the internet since my last post. As soon as I was able to connect I began typing this post up. I hate when it has to happen this way. Now I have to go and see about Nature Center Magazine. I hope to see you there.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
A camera with a good zoom lense can be a blessing and a curse for an everyday adventurer. My first camera made it necessary for me to get very close to every animal I featured here. It became an exciting game for me to see how well I could sneak up on any creature I targeted. That can also be a problem sometimes. Animals run away, and some bigger animals get angry.
With my present camera and its powerful zoom I am able to sometimes keep my distance. I still have to get the right position, but the game isn't quite the same anymore. My skills as a photographer get better while my skills as an animal stalker begin to stagnate a little. I'm still having fun though because I always have to keep my eyes open to new prey.
|Who guessed correctly?||Who gave the funniest guesses?|
I tried to get all the winners, but I'm not always perfect. Go visit their blogs. I know you haven't seen them all yet. These are each very good friends, and they can be your friends too if you give them the chance to know you.
Most of the time I find nothing, but my searching eyes sometimes are able to spot a hidden little critter in the distant forest. My pictures are my prize for winning the game. My games are an effort to share my prize with you; to share the experience a little better. Then we can all find the animal, even if it might be so hidden that we can never see it at all. I hope you find this as fun as I do.
Nature Center Magazine - Emma is featuring a blog today for her Nature Site Of The Week that many of you know and love. Go and see for yourself who it is.
Monday, June 28, 2010
There is a squirrel in this picture somewhere. All you have to do is find it! You can also make a random guess. Then in the comments section describe to me where you think the squirrel is. There can be more than one winner, so make your guess even if someone else has the same guess. This is all just for fun, so there are no official prizes.
Tomorrow I'll reveal where the squirrel is. I'll also list any winners. And I'll also list whoever leaves the funniest guess whether it's right or wrong, but keep it clean. I know you can think of something funny; most of you are very creative bloggers. I hope you all have fun with this one. And good luck. Make your guess.
Nature Center Magazine - We have even more fun with squirrels today! Our Cool Nature Video is called Chipmunk Fishing. This one is a very funny video where a young man named Jon actually goes fishing for chipmunks. Don't worry, no chipmunks are harmed. Go see if he catches anything.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I arrived at the park happy to be on one more everyday adventure. I moved onto the entry path, and was about to cross the bridge that leads to the forest when I saw a big creature standing there to the right of this small structure. It took me a second to realize that I was looking at a great blue heron that was in a very odd place.
I was in a very good position now because the heron was concentrating very strongly on something else, so it had no idea that I was there at all. I was going to be able to sneak right up on it. Yes! I began stalking it like a graceful cat. I'd be right up on it, getting pictures the whole way before it ever knew I was there!
The reason I'm telling you about this now is because of exactly what happened. It's because of the fact that I was embarrassed about it. I'm revealing even my blunders because if I do that then I will never be self conscious of myself in such a bad way. I never want to let embarrassment affect me. I only want confidence to remain. Telling any story like this will only make me stronger.
So now I invite all of you to go ahead and laugh at me. I mean it. I deserve it for this because I think what happened is honestly and truly funny. Laughter doesn't hurt one bit; it only makes us happy. I know I would find it funny if it happened to someone else. And if you'd like to share one of your blunders too, go ahead. We will all get a laugh out of it, and we'll know we are laughing with another human being. I think you'll feel better for it. I feel better for this.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Well, a forest ninja, or black squirrel, has many of these same qualities. In the deep forest these black squirrels are very difficult to ever see. A humans eyes have enough trouble, and a camera always has a lot of trouble focusing on these stealthy little creatures. Getting a photo of a black squirrel when the leaves are on the trees is one of the most difficult things ever to do.
Take a look at the photo above. There is a black squirrel there, but he is not the easiest thing to see. Go ahead and click the picture if you need to see it better. The light has many shadows lurking in it, and the black squirrel uses it well.
Even the eyes are black on these black squirrels. They are very hard to see when they hide. I think that's why they seem to thrive in certain small areas, but are never seen in most others. This is an example of a very specialized creature. Most squirrels are a shade of brown, and that serves them well. But these black squirrel forest ninjas have their own special color. They demonstrate more of the wonderful variety of nature. I'm glad they exist, aren't you?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Nature is my main passion here anyway. And boy do I have nature for you today! About a month or two ago I was complaining that all of the geese have disappeared from my normal haunts, but I recently found out I was dead wrong about that. They weren't gone, they were only hiding better than before!
Last year there were two families of geese on my favorite small lake that formed a bigger flock together. Well this year there are not two, but three families of geese out there on that lake! They are proudly parading their young ones back and forth, up and down that lake.
I suspect these families were hiding at the other end of the lake, the place where no humans go. I always watched for them there, but I never saw them at all. But I could only really see that from the edge of the hiking trails. Maybe I needed a further adventure.
All of that doesn't matter now anyway, because they're here out in the open now. Some of the babies are even changing their baby fuzz to legitimate adult style feathers. They don't fly yet, but I've seen these same families out across the road that runs parallel to the river, but not too close.
Many people consider geese to be pests, but I personally love these noisy creatures. They're such friendly sociable creatures. Their intelligence is debatable, but they are certainly friendly. I think these are the birds that are thought of when someone says the term bird brain in reference to a dimwitted person.
I still like 'em anyway. Geese are such fun creatures. They're my friends.
Nature Center Magazine - We have a new Free Wallpaper for you today. Others offer free wallpaper too, but not this good.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
It would be a very bleak and dark place if we thought there was no hope for humanity, if we thought of ourselves as inherently evil. The one great thing about humans is that we have the power of choice. We can choose what we think of ourselves. Are we really here to destroy all that is around us? Are you?
Or are we here to do the best good we can? I know I am. None of us are perfect creations, but that is what makes us special. Each one of us is different. There can be no perfection; only goals of improvement to achieve. We all want to be better, but does that mean we are not good now? No. But what does it mean?
There is no one way to make things better. The ways are unlimited. That's what is even more special. As long as we do what we think is best, and try our best, the world around each of us becomes our own individual paradise. Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but that is why we keep on trying. Without the need to improve, we would all whither and die. Living is our ultimate goal, so we continue.
But remember that there is also danger there. To treat others with respect, we must first respect ourselves most of all. It is the only way we will understand how to treat all of the others. We must think of ourselves as the greatest creations that have ever existed, and then strive to be happy. That will then project automatically out to all others around us.
And that's my completely different post for today. The message was always there. I just brought it to the front this time. How did you like it?
Nature Center Magazine - Did you ever wonder what what Idaho has to offer a nature lover? Whether you did or not, you can find out today. You might be very surprised.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I've been specifically watching for bugs on my recent hikes because they are some of nature's sometimes unappreciated creatures. Besides, I've been seeing so many of them. It seems only right that I get as many pictures of these small animals as I can while I have the chance.
These may be my most excellent bug photos yet. I'm very proud of them. As with all of my pictures, you can click on them to see them at full size. You may use them for your own personal use, as long as you don't alter them in any way. These aren't the original photos, but the originals are sometimes available upon request. Requested photos will possibly be made available as Free Wallpaper at Nature Center Magazine.
Oh, a small bit of info on these little creatures. Many people get Damselflies confused with Dragonflies, which can be quite understandable. They really do look similar. I'll give you the easiest way to tell the difference. When they land, a dragonfly holds its wings out from its body, to make the shape of a little cross. A damselfly holds its wings in the same direction as its body. You can see in the picture that the wings run parallel along the back end of this damselfly. Pretty easy, huh?
The last thing I want to bring to your attention about creatures like this is the cool metallic look they have. I always thought it makes them look like something robotic from a science fiction movie when you see them up close. Wouldn't it be something if there was a little man in there flying this creature?
Check out Nature Center Magazine today for a bit of interesting nature news.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The squirrel turned and looked at me, so I thought my hopes of getting the picture had been ruined. But that's when it happened. That crazy squirrel came running straight for me! I had no idea what to do! And I equally had no idea what this squirrel was going to do! Why was it after me!!!
I then remembered that if an animal was running towards me that I should stand my ground. Running away would be a bad thing. So I waited right there to see what my new adversary might do. He obviously was coming for me though, so I had second thoughts about not running. But when he got close enough to pounce on me, he suddenly climbed up on a fallen branch and held up his front paws! He was holding something very odd!
|Click To Enlarge|
To my surprise I heard him say in that very strange high pitched voice, "Hold still now..." Then there was a sudden clicking sound and a bright flash of light from that silver thing, and I was momentarily blinded! Oh lord help me, I've been shot! ...Oh wait, I felt just fine, but there were still bright spots of color in front of my eyes.
When my sight returned I saw that strange fox squirrel trotting leisurely away into the forest. I called out to him, asking who he was. He paused and looked back at me, and said, "Flynn, simply Flynn." Then he ran off farther into the forest, and was gone.
That was a name I knew from the past. That little rascal Flynn had gotten his revenge. I remember taking a few pictures of him nearly a year ago, while he stood there bragging about riding dogs and rescuing damsels from certain death. I never mentioned his power of speech, in fear of being thought crazy. Nah, nobody would ever think that.
Nature Center Magazine - It's the day of the week that Emma brings you another Nature Site Of The Week. Go take a look. Maybe it's yours.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I point my weapon at it, and then, FLASH, I hit my prey right where it counts! There is no movement whatsoever as I now confidently approach, but I know there still might be others. I then pounce into action! I'm upon this little morsel before it knows I even exist! This mushroom never suspected I was coming.
All I have for you are pictures of animals and other cool beasties from the world of nature. And this time I have this strange mushroom. These things seem to like my forest. At one time I knew just what this one might be, but I'll just be content to show it to you today. Who needs all that technical mumbo jumbo anyway?
I sometimes pretend I'm a wild predator, out there to hunt the other cute little animals. They don't like that, but I find it amusing. Sometimes I pretend to be the main character in one of those shoot 'em up video games. My camera is the gun. I have to use stealth to shoot my targets. Getting what I want helps win the game. And sometimes it's just me, enjoying the peace and harmony of nature and all its creatures. Ain't Nature Grand?
Nature Center Magazine - Some of you have requested it, so I have a Cool Nature Video this time like never before! In this video I finally give you a glimpse into what a typical day with Ratty is really like. This is a look into my own personal nature fantasy world. The main character may be familiar to many of you. Can you guess who he might be?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The first thing you might notice in my pictures today is the bug that is crawling around on that white flower. The bug appears to be a type of wasp. Now wait. Before you think of the urge to run from a stinging little monster, there are a few kinds of wasp that are harmless to us humans, and even to those of you readers of the feline variety. This may be one of those.
The other thing you are sure to notice is the daisy-like flower that the little wasp is sitting on. This flower and all the others in these pictures are actually called Fleabane. There are two kinds of this plant in my area that I know of. One is Daisy Fleabane, and the other is Common Fleabane. This plant is one of those two, but I'm not good enough with plants yet to know which one. Maybe you know.
Sometimes it's the little things in nature that make me happy. Watching a bug crawl around on a flower can be fun and relaxing, especially if you know the bug is there to help the flower. I like to think that all living things are trying to help in some little way. These two help each other. And maybe we humans are in some way the caretakers of the whole planet.
I'm sure there are other caretakers on Earth too, but we are one kind of them. I personally think we are doing a good job. Why? Because we are still alive. All of us, no matter how little some of us think we care, do little things to try to help our world, even if there are mistakes sometimes. I try to look for those little things, no matter how small. It makes me feel good when I find what I'm looking for.
I guess our planet really knew what it was doing when it created both of these living things. There is a harmony there that we, being more of the living beings created on this planet, may never full understand. I wonder what purpose the planet created us for. We'll probably never know, just like this little wasp.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
The green color of this parasite blends in well with the leaves, but the odd shape really makes these things very easy to spot. I can tell you one thing for certain. My policy of not touching anything was in full strength when I was looking at these awful parasites.
They almost look like pointy seeds or something, but I've never seen any seeds grow on leaves in that way. This is the kind of thing I imagine seeing in a horror movie. The dumb guy touches one of them, and then they inject themselves into him and devour him from the inside out. Disgusting!
I attempted to get a few pictures of the bugs, but that's when the mosquitoes struck! It was very hot out there, and I was sweating profusely. That's like candy to a mosquito! Every time I stopped walking the mosquitoes tore me up! So the mosquitoes are to blame for my lack of pictures of the other bugs.
After all of that, I figured I had overstayed my welcome in the forest this time. I quickly fled from the mosquitoes, the parasites on the plant, and any other parasites that might be lurking in the dark. It just goes to show you, it's better to at least attempt to escape parasites when they first show up. They come in large numbers, and they're totally relentless. I hate parasites!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Now, what I'm about to say may seem like such a small thing, but in my mind no new adventure is a small thing. And what adventure am I talking about? It's this trail in front of us in the picture above. It leads straight down to the edge of the lake. I finally decided to take a walk down this very short trail. But why did I never do it before?
And it has such a great view of the lake. I have shown numerous pictures from that very place. And I've also looked over and seen the little path at the edge of the water and thought to myself that I should walk down that one day. But being on the platform, I have already passed that little path.
This all may seem like a very small thing, but it's the small things that take us closer to our goals. If you take a few small steps through the front door of your house to the outside, then you will have taken a giant leap to the world of nature, even if you live in a city. Inside is a completely different world than outside. Taking a few small steps in a different direction can give you an all new perspective too.
Nature Center Magazine - Come see what the new Free Wallpaper is today. If you don't come look you'll never know what you've missed.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I saw it come flying down towards me from the sky in front of me. It was flying in a direct line towards my head. I make it a habit never to touch the animals if I can help it, so I ducked quickly so it would just fly past me. But then it did the oddest thing!
It flew right back around in a tight circle and tried to land on my head again! I did another quick duck and it actually changed direction to try to catch me anyway! It was very determined, and this whole thing became an odd dance with me trying to fend of this butterfly without touching or hurting it! Me being chased by a butterfly would have been extremely funny to any onlookers.
The butterfly then waited there on the ground while I began taking the pictures. I began to think maybe there was something wrong with the creature, but its behavior while it was on the ground seemed normal enough. And what is normal? Well, that would be sitting there slowly moving its wings while also slowly turning in a circle. Watch a butterfly some time; you'll see.
The only real problem I have is that even though I know this is a fairly common butterfly, I can't find out what kind it is. I've looked through so many pictures and guides that my eyes hurt, but I never find this kind. So does anyone have an idea of what kind of butterfly this friendly little creature might be?
So there you go. A strange story and a mystery to go along with it, plus some closeup pictures of a butterfly. I guess that makes a story that at least I think is entertaining. And that's good enough for me. I'll be back next time for another thrilling story of creatures and things.
Nature Center Magazine today brings you Copas, with his look at the State of Hawaii, and a good sampling of the nature you might find there. Don't miss it.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Did you notice I said mostly and not fully satisfied? Well, that's because of where I took these pictures. Oh, it was indeed a wild animal that could fly away and everything like that. It was only that in this place the animals are a little more used to humans than where I usually go. It's not a big problem, but I was more than a little conscious of that fact. And I have to add that this heron was finally frightened away by a woman with a loud mouth.
But before all of that, I was able to get some very good pictures of this magnificent bird. I was at the edge of a pond behind the nature center at Kensington Park when this heron flew over. It never came very close, but it also never saw me. And I watched something fascinating. Take a close look at this bird's neck. It's a little fat for a heron.
Now, after you've done that, you can see that in the picture above his mouth is open. Yup, you might have already guessed just what he's doing, especially if you cheated and looked at the picture below first. If you didn't, let's all go ahead and look at it now.
And this bird is no small creature at all, no. It has a wingspan of about 6 feet or 2 meters! That's a pretty good sized bird. If you've ever seen one in the air, the first thing you think of is a pterodactyl; you know, a big flying dinosaur. It really looks a lot like one, and the huge size helps that idea along. It's really amusing to see one of these birds flying overhead while you're driving along the road.
Okay, I think that's enough from me for today. I got to whine a little bit, I got to complain, I got to exaggerate, and I got to cheer. What else is there but to say goodbye, for now. See you next time!
Nature Center Magazine has some excellent nature photography tips from Steve of Out On The Prairie today. I think you should go take a look. It'll make you happy.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Even though the pictures look sort of bright, it was actually very dark in the forest where I was. I kept hearing a bird call that sounded different than I've ever heard. It was an odd pinging sound. I've heard cardinals before, but they never sounded like this. I knew I was hearing a bird, but I thought it was a new one for me.
The sound echoed through the forest in a very eerie way that made it hard to tell just exactly where it was coming from. I knew the general area, but I couldn't tell really from what height it was coming from. Then I began hearing small rustling sounds on the ground. I guess that may be why I didn't know the height, because it was so unexpected. Usually only robins go to the forest floor.
I still kept watching for that pinging sound though. It didn't sound like it was coming from the floor of the forest. I kept looking up into the trees. Finally, a I studied this cardinal some more, I saw that it was indeed the creature that was making that odd sound. It was somehow projecting its voice up and away from it. Maybe more deception?
After awhile it finally grew tired of this game and flew away to another part of the forest. Maybe I missed something significant here. Maybe it was a magical bird that wanted to grant me a wish or give me riches beyond my wildest dreams. A once in a lifetime chance, and I blew it by not being smart enough to understand a birdbrain. Oh well. Better luck next time with the next magical wish granting bird.
Nature Center Magazine - Find out what site Emma is featuring today in her Nature Site Of The Week. I know you're all nature lovers, otherwise you wouldn't be here. So go see what she has for you. Don't miss out like I did with that bird.
Monday, June 14, 2010
I think these birds were teasing me, because whenever I'd get close enough to see them they'd fly off to another tree next to the one they were in. They never did fly very far away, but just far enough for me to not be able to see them. The frustrating thing was that I didn't have to get very close. My camera can see a long way. But I did have to be able to find them through the leaves.
As you can see though, all I have to this day are exactly two pictures of this one bluebird. This was definitely not one of the three that was laughing at me in their little birdy voices, but these pictures from the past are at least better than nothing. I'm not saying these are not good, but I was hoping for the spectacular shots that make you go ooh and ahh as soon as you see them.
What better way to spend a day than to chase bluebirds from tree to tree? I don't think I've ever had it any better. Ahh, the joy of being an Everyday Adventurer.
Nature Center Magazine - My newest Cool Nature Video shows the birth of a giraffe.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I didn't want to disappoint anyone with only the babies so this first picture has the whole family in it. Let's rundown a few things about a family of swans. An adult male swan is called a cob. An adult female swan is called a pen. And the little baby swans are called cygnets. And that's your swan lesson for the day.
It was the story about the ugly duckling. Many of you know it, but let me give you a refresher. There was an ugly duckling that was big and awkward compared to all of its brothers and sisters. It always felt bad because of this. But there was a secret about this ugly duckling. It seems that it had been somehow switched at birth. And it grew up to find out that it wasn't really an ugly duckling at all. It was really a beautiful swan.
Now tell me something. Do any of these little cygnet swans look ugly to you? They look like beautiful little fluff balls to me. I'm not sure there is anything more beautiful than a baby. I don't think these could possibly be considered ugly, even if they were ducklings.