Friday, July 30, 2010

Sandhill Crane

Well! It seems I have another first! What you see in the pictures of today's post is a Sandhill Crane! I found this giant bird standing by the side of the road while I was driving to my real destination, which is another amazing tale!

Something made me think this Sandhill Crane wasn't real when I first saw it, but I was very happy that it was a wrong assumption. This bird is very real, and very big. I think this bird may be the biggest bird I have ever seen. A Sandhill Crane really is a giant among giants.

These birds stand about as high as a human, which is very accurate for this one because it seemed to be about as tall as me. These birds seem to have a similar diet to humans too. They like meat, but maybe not the same kind humans are capable of catching and eating. They only eat small animals. They like grains and berries just as much, so don't worry that they're coming for us all.

I zoomed in as much as I could to try to see it looking around, but the bird was just too big to get it all in the picture. So this was the best I could do. I guess I could have tried for a better closeup face shot, but I thought this was good. It looks like it was looking at me, but I think maybe it's one of those kinds of animas that looks from the sides of its face.

Just to let you know, and me too, that this bird isn't fake, I decided to bring you another episode of Rat TV. It obviously features this Sandhill Crane. Besides revealing the fact that this bird is indeed alive, the video shows this giant looking around and walking. I consider that a very amazing sight by itself.

This time maybe it really is looking at me. I wonder what it was thinking when it saw me. This time I was inside my truck to see this wild animal. Not because I wanted to, but because I was in the middle of the road with no place to park. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Something I'm thinking about as I write this. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to ride one of these birds. I know a person would probably really be too heavy, but what if we weren't? To ride a big bird as it walked around, ran, or even flew. The Everyday Adventurer, soaring through the air on the back of a great bird...

Nature Center Magazine - An endless boarded walkway through a secluded world of nature. What would it be like to be able to explore the world inside of today's Free Wallpaper?

Go visit Jingle and give the site a read. You might like it. I promised to leave a link to this post here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Orange Lily

Sometimes you see something that just makes you stop and want to take its picture. That's what happened with this Lily. Since I'm not very good at identifying plants, I'm not really sure what kind this is except that it is a lily. From the the things I've read, I think it is what is called an Orange Daylily. There are also other names for it too. I could be completely wrong though.

Even if I'm wrong, it is really the pictures that I wanted to share. The one at the top was taken only a week ago, but the bottom two were taken about a month ago. I didn't share them until now because I wasn't sure of what kind they were. They also may be different than the first. I just decided I like them too much to keep them to myself.

These flowers are growing wild all over Island Lake State Recreation Area. I've since seen them growing as part of organized gardens everywhere I go. I may be becoming obsessed with these flowers. I also think I'm becoming obsessed with Island Lake.

Island Lake is somewhat close to where I live, but not quite close enough to leave me with any extra time. But I still have been spending most of my time there. All of the places around my house have gone without my frequent visits these past few months. This place also leaves me with little time for anything else.

I got home tonight and began reading some of my favorite blogs, but I soon fell fast asleep at my chair. So many of you have not seen as much of me in your comments sections recently. I think it might have to remain this way for me until my obsession fades a bit. I know eventually I'll be back to haunting my old favorite parks, but I first have to let my obsession with this one run its course.

In the meantime I hope you just enjoy these pictures of this lily with me. They are now beginning to fade, as is my little obsession. Both actually very good things, but very distracting. Do you have an obsession that has driven you to distraction? Have you ever had one? How did you get over it?

I guess time is maybe the only thing that can change things. Soon I will either find something nearer to home that I want to see. Or maybe I will begin traveling the country like a vagabond, looking for nature parks everywhere I go. Today my little corner of Michigan, tomorrow the world! Mwa ha ha haaaa!!!

Nature Center Magazine - Do you want to know what the state of Kansas has to offer for a nature lover? Come on over to find out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I found this little guy (well not exactly that little) running around on the grass on one of my newest everyday adventures. I've actually seen this kind of bird many times before, but I never seem to have had time top show them to you until now. Now is not much different, but I thought it was time.

For those of you who didn't see the title, this bird is called a Killdeer. Doesn't sound like a very nice name if you ask me. But why is this bird called killdeer? Is it because it kills innocent deer? Nope! The name was given to these birds because their call sounds like they are saying, "kill-deer". A strange thing, but it's not the first time a bird has been named after the sound of its call I guess.

And as for the size of this killdeer, it is about the same size as a pigeon or a dove. This bird is actually a medium sized plover. This bird is a very common bird throughout North and South America. So any of you in the western hemisphere have probably seen one of these birds before.

I found this particular bird, as I said before, running around in the grass at one of my many nature parks I visit. These birds would normally be found near water, but they like to go just about anywhere there is a wide open space, like a nice big lawn or any grassy area.

The really interesting thing about a killdeer is that if their nest is threatened they will walk around pretending they have a broken wing. This is to distract any potential predator so the killdeer's eggs can be safe. I've never seen this behavior yet, and I really don't want to be the cause of it. I don't like scaring animals for any reason.

This particular bird wanted nothing at all to do with me when I found it there on the grass. It also didn't seen interested in flying away. It just kept running away from me if it thought I was looking in its direction too much. I had to do it if I was going to get these pictures. I wouldn't like anybody staring at me either.

I soon left this bird to move on its way. I had other things to do and so did the bird. I just liked the way it looked, its nice pattern of rings. Other than that it wasn't much of an encounter, but it was good enough for me.

Nature Center Magazine - I should have probably followed a few good beginner hiking tips when I got myself soaked from my story yesterday. By coincidence I have some good ones right over at Nature Center Magazine today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fool In The Rain

When I stepped outside I saw a few raindrops, but I didn't want to let it bother me. It had been awhile since I had been back to my old favorite park that is so close to home. I've been traveling far away lately, so my favorite park has gone neglected.

I looked to the sky to the west to make sure this was a wise thing for me to do on this day. Even though there was a hint of rain the sky looked as if it was going to clear up. Besides, right after a rainy day is a great time to go to a nature park because that's when nobody else is there.

The sky stayed the same on my way there, but with a few more raindrops on the windshield of my truck. I still thought the rain wouldn't bother me very much. And even if it did, I would be in under the trees. If it began to really rain very much I would be protected as if I had a roof over my head. I would have plenty of time to get out of this smaller hiking park.

It still looked okay as I walked through the forest towards the middle of the park where the fishing platform and the lake waited for me. It had become a little darker, but there was not much more rain falling. I still believed it would end soon.

My only problem now was that the darkening sky was creating even more darkness in the forest, so my camera was laboring to get pictures of anything I tried. Darkness and cameras just don't agree much, especially when there are so many changing shadows.

I still was glad of the long walk through this park. Like I said, it had been awhile since I had been here, and I missed the place. I made a few stops along the way, but I soon made my way the the fishing platform. But that's when it began to rain just a bit.

I saw this rain on the lake as an opportunity to bring you another episode of Rat TV. This shows the gentle rain that began to fall while I was standing there on the wood planks of the fishing platform. Lucky for me that there is a large tree that hangs over the platform and keeps any rain away from that spot.

As I looked on, the rain began to increase a bit. So I decided to wait it out for a few minutes. I went back to the bench and took a seat and put my camera away. I regretted that I wasn't catching this more increased rain, but I wanted to make sure my camera was protected.

After a few more minutes the rain began to slow just a hair, but only just, so I decided it was time to think about leaving. As I walked back up the stairs to leave I thought it was a shame to leave in such a hurry. The rain wasn't getting through the treetops yet, so I decided to walk towards the back of the park instead. I'd be okay.

I walked towards the back as the rain increased again. I now knew I could only go to the back of the forest. There was no way I would go farther because my camera would become too exposed to the elements without the protection of the trees.

I made it to the meadow area in the back, but only to the edge. The rain was coming down too much for me now. I still looked out and saw that they had come and moronically mowed the place! Why would they do such a thing at a nature park? No pictures out here from me though. I was getting wet.

I turned back to the forest and decided it was time to move a little more quickly because not only had the rain increased quite a bit more, but there was now thunder rumbling ever closer. I even began to see a few flashes of lightning. It was time to walk faster. No running yet though because the rain still wasn't getting through, much.

When I got to the small bridge that led to the path leading back to the way out the forest finally couldn't hold the rain out anymore. I had to put the camera under my shirt. There was a lot of rain coming down in here, but I could hear that it was now pouring outside the forest. It was decision making time.

I decided that when I reached the edge of the forest I would have to make a run for it. I didn't mind the rain, but my camera needed to be dry. It was a long way from the forest's edge to the parking lot and my truck, so I was going to have to prepare myself so I wouldn't get too tired. I kept only to a swift walk until then. No more pictures.

I got to the edge and I broke into a fast run all the way to my truck. I felt glad that I could unlock it with the little device on my keychain. I was soaked by the time I reached the truck. Rain was pouring down all around me. As soon as I got into the truck it increased enough that I couldn't see out the windows!

I uncovered the camera from beneath my shirt and saw that it was thankfully mostly dry. I sat there watching the rain begin to flood the area just a little bit. It rained like that for the rest of the day. I left the camera in the truck to keep it dry.

The skies are now sunny and bright. The rains of the past two weeks is finally gone. My camera is fine. But I won't become a fool in the rain again any time soon.

Nature Center Magazine - Emma Springfield has another Nature Site Of The Week for you today. I think you should make sure you see such a great website.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Squirrel On The Road

Another rainy day, but the squirrels came out to play. I saw this squirrel out on the road right after another big rainstorm. It was just sitting there eating a nut. I'm sure many of you have seen all sorts of creatures in the middle of the road before. Not a good place to be. But this one was odd for some reason.

It was partially because of the squirrel's behavior. It was just so casual as it sat there as I came barreling down the road. It didn't seem to care at all that I was coming. Of course I stopped to watch it in plenty of time. But the fact that I was able to do this before it even bothered to look up was odd.

Now this next picture is the other odd thing about this squirrel that I found interesting. The light on this very cloudy and stormy day was just right so the squirrel cast no shadow in the picture. Take a closer look by either clicking on the picture with your mouse wheel or by holding down Ctrl and then clicking. That will open it up full size for you.

The lighting effect makes the picture look fake. It looks strangely like I added the squirrel later. But that is not what happened at all. The squirrel is really on the road. This odd effect is the reason I noticed these pictures. I thought this one looked fake, but I was really there, waiting patiently while this squirrel finished its snack.

After what seemed like forever, the squirrel finally looked up and saw me. Maybe it could have been deaf, but I'm sure it would have felt the rumble on the road. It was a strange day, so I'm sure it's not normal behavior for this little guy.

Now take a closer look at this photo. This time you can see the squirrel's shadow because he's standing up. I just wanted to point this out because I emphasized so much before that the other picture looked fake. I may like to say, "Never trust a rat." But I always tell you later if I was trying to trick you. That's what makes it fun.

So the squirrel made it safely to the side of the road and ran into the forest. I drove slowly by just in case. And it was all over. Later I saw a flock of the biggest blue jays I had ever seen, but the darkness of the afternoon sky, and their shyness about the camera gave me no good pictures. Another day, another adventure.

Nature Center Magazine - Crows and ravens. Some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. But do you know how intelligent? Maybe they're almost as intelligent as us. Who knows? They could be the next rulers of the world! Come take a look at a video that demonstrates it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

13-Lined Ground Squirrel

I saw a new critter! I saw a new critter! As you might have guessed by the title of the post, this little fella's a 13-Lined Ground Squirrel!Yesterday's new critter was just an ordinary turkey. Many of you have already heard of those guys, usually as part of a great meal. But I bet most of you haven't heard of this little squirrel.

Well, I have barely heard of these squirrels myself. But there was something I remembered after I saw this one. There were some posts over at My Quality Day awhile back that featured 13-Lined Ground Squirrels. I didn't give a direct link to the posts on purpose. Go and dig around the blog for a bit to find them. You'll find some other good stuff along the way.

Anyway, at first glance many of you might think this little animal is a chipmunk, and so did I. He really does look very similar, and they're about the same size. Very small, you could fit him in just one hand. But there are a few tip offs. First of all, his snout is flatter than a chipmunk's pointy little face. His stripes are also different. This ground squirrel has more stripes than a chipmunk. And he has dots between the stripes. But wait, there's more!

I mentioned the shape of his face. His face resembles a groundhog more than it does a chipmunk. In fact, his whole head looks more like that of a groundhog, which is much much bigger; bigger than a cat. Of course, since this little dude is, well, little, that means he's much cuter than a groundhog.

When I first found him he stared at me for what seemed like half of forever. Maybe he had never seen one of me before either. A guy dressed in a giant white rat costume holding a camera really is a rare thing I guess. And I think the only pictures of me belong to a fox squirrel named Flynn who says he's going to show the world, but has yet to do so.

After looking at me and any other thing that took his interest, the little 13-lined ground squirrel finally went back to snuffling around in the grass. He's so small that when he hunched down I couldn't see him over the short mown grass. These little guys are supposed to be a little bigger than chipmunks, but this one looked smaller.

That post on the left of the picture is a four by four sign post. That should show you how small this little beastie actually is. If you look closely you can see the stripes and dashes on his back. After this picture he disappeared into the grass. He was still there, but too small to see. I had enough pictures, so I let him be.

Nature Center Magazine - I have a new Free Wallpaper for you that you might not believe. Then again, you might.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wild Turkey Head

This one had me excited when I got it! It's a terrible picture, but it's the very first one of its kind that I have ever had! It's a picture of a Wild Turkey!!!

This may not seem like such a great thing to many of you because wild turkeys are common here in the US. But I have only ever seen one other wild turkey before. No kidding! I actually saw three of these as I was driving past.

I threw my truck into reverse to go back to get the pictures I wanted. It was the day of the thunderstorm I showed you before and I was on my way home, but this was important. They looked like squat dark shadows from my truck, but I recognized them immediately. But then when I was able to get the pictures they went over this little hill and disappeared.

That's okay though! If you take a close look at the center of the picture you can still see the head of one of the turkeys as it's walking away. I may have only gotten that much, but I did it! A new animal is always an exciting event for me, even if it's only a wild turkey.

And now since the picture above wasn't that good I'll leave you with this splash of orange color. The plant is called orange milkweed or butterfly weed. No closeup this time, but I'll get you something fun with a milkweed plant one of these times. I just liked the color.

That's it for now. I thought a shorter post for today might be fun. See ya!

Nature Center Magazine - Copas is exploring the nature of the great state of Iowa this week. Iowa is one of my favorite states because that's where my family comes from. I like living in Michigan, but I miss Iowa every day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swallowtail Butterfly

From violent storms to gentle butterflies, I cover it all. I have for you today what appears to be an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. This one seemed to be begging for me to take its picture. And who was I to turn him down?

I was walking a new nature trail when I saw this big butterfly flit across the path in front of me. It landed on a high branch next to the trail. I knew this was a golden opportunity that I shouldn't pass up, so I got as close as I could, even though the shrubs there were very thick.

There were several problems though. First of all, the butterfly landed in a spot where the leaves concealed it too much. I just couldn't get a very good view. Then a swarm of flies decided that they liked the taste of my face. I don't have infinite patience, so I called it quits and moved on down the trail in a huff.

You may have already guessed because of the pictures that I got what I wanted. On my way back I saw the very same butterfly. It was sitting in the very same spot! I decided to try one more time. But then it got up and flew away across the path! I thought it was gone, but it quickly landed on a branch not far away.

This time I had an excellent view, the one you see at the top. I took several identical pictures of this beautiful creature before it flew again. It's next destination was another branch only a few feet away from the last. It thought it was hidden this time, but I was able to get a few more good shots of it behind the leaves.

Nature always presents a new surprise for an everyday adventurer. That's sometimes easy to forget. I'm glad for these little surprises. These are what keep me going. I will always love this.

Nature Center Magazine - Have you ever wanted to learn how to get close to a deer? Come over and find out how.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heart Of The Storm

 The gathering storm I talked about yesterday hadn't fully gotten to the park yet, but I knew the best place for me was inside my truck. If I was going to be stuck out in the rain I might as well go to a place where I could see it better.

So I drove to one of the lakes there that could offer me a longer and wider view of everything when it finally got here. It was quickly approaching as I drove to my destination. I tried to pull over once, but I was in a bad place that might quickly become flooded, so I kept moving.

I arrived at my final destination to be greeted by a gaggle of geese that were trying to shelter themselves the best they could. They weren't very successful. Geese may be one type of animal where their only form of shelter is just to stay off the water. This lightning strike didn't bode well for any of us.

This episode of Rat TV is not just a tease of things to come. This time I bring you the full blown thunderstorm. It was difficult to get this from inside the truck. I had to be careful that the camera didn't get soaked. The wind was blowing the rain right inside the truck with me. I couldn't worry about the geese for the time being.

Here is another lightning strike I was able to catch on camera. It became easy capturing lightning with there being so many lightning strikes right then. I'm just glad they didn't get much closer. The storm came right to me, but the lightning luckily stayed away.

When the storm finally began to lighten up the geese were gone. I don't know where they went, but hopefully they found a safe place to hide. I never felt like I myself was in any danger, but I had no choice but to wait out the storm right where I was. A good storm can cleanse the Earth and refresh the soul. That's the way I felt when it was all over.

Nature Center Magazine - Emma has found another gem of a website. This one is full of bugs! Just like finding a mosquito embedded in amber.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Gathering Storm

I'm back from my little break. I didn't intend to totally disappear from the blogging world, but after reading some of your kind comments I thought it may be a good thing for this first weekend of no posts. I'm glad to say I was able to work on a few of my other little projects while I was away, which is exactly what I wanted. But now it's back to nature for me. I've missed it very much.

Today I want to share a little of my experience while I was out in a thunderstorm. The picture above was taken as the storm began to gather. The sky had started to turn a strange color. Everything around me was dark and light at the same time.

Most of the animals were much smarter than me by this time. They were either already gone or looking for shelter. I stayed right out there in the storm with my camera ready to catch something good. It's a rare thing to be able to capture action by just looking at the usually inanimate things around you, but I did it.

And now for an all new episode of Rat TV! I should tell you right up front that there isn't anything too surprising here, but it gives a little better idea of what the weather looked like at the moment I took the picture above. This was just the beginning of the storm. There is a nice flash in the sky showing a good preview of the lightning that was coming.

The sound isn't too good because of the sound of my truck in the background. I keep forgetting to turn that off. I soon had to stop recording though because I finally decided that the animals had the right idea by seeking shelter. It was inside the truck with rolled up windows for me. It was shortly after all of this that the storm began.

Nature Center Magazine - Our Cool Nature Video for this week gives an introduction to poisonous plants. Take a look. You might learn something new.

And I'd like to thank Jamie Dedes of Musing By Moonlight for presenting me with the Pink One Lovely Blog Award. It was a very nice thing to do. Please visit her blog and see what it's all about. I'm sure you'll be a new fan. There are usually rules for any award, but many of you already know that I'm a terrible rule breaker. This award requires that I tell a bit about myself. You can find out plenty by reading through my archives. And I pass it on to all of you who routinely comment here. I'm already your biggest fan.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alien Fire Flowers

You come across the strangest things when your out hiking. I found these alien fire flowers blazing in the sun near a lonely path I was on. I don't know how they got here to the planet earth, but their strange beauty is very welcome.

Ughhhgh!!! Wait a minute!

Did I say "Alien Fire Flowers"? Well yes, as a matter of fact I did. Is that their real name and identity? Um, no. But I don't know the identity of these plants, or if in fact these blossoms are considered to be flowers at all. So since I don't have a name already I decided to make one up.

Speaking of not knowing names of things, I talked about a bird the other day that kept trying to attack me. Go and find it for yourself, it should be pretty easy. I'd like to thank Sharkbytes for being the first one to help me out by identifying it as a Tree Swallow.

I thought it was some kind of swallow, but try as I might I couldn't find it. Then when Sharkbytes said the name I knew instantly that she was right. It also became so easy to find further information that I wondered how I could have missed it before.

Here's one last look at these alien fire flowers. Do any of you know what they really are? Think of it as a bit of a game, but I don't have the answer. If I find it I will share it.

Okay, on to some big news here at The Everyday Adventurer. Many of you know that I haven't been commenting in other blogs as much lately. It has simply been because I run out of time every day. It's usually just before midnight when I even write my own posts for each day. So I haven't been able to do all of the things I love. I have also been neglecting my Rat Tales blog for this same reason. So I have come to a conclusion.

I am not going to write posts on Saturdays or Sundays here anymore. So there will be no posts here until Monday. This has been something I have been trying to decide for a long time. This has been a very hard decision for me and I haven't wanted to have to do this, but I think it's the only way to give myself more time for everything else I want to do. Tomorrow will be the first time I will not have at least one post every day since I started this blog. I hope to see all of you back here Monday.

Nature Center Magazine - The Free Wallpaper for this week is more dandelions. I hope you like this one.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wayward Babies

I found quite a surprise when I got close to home recently. There were two baby deer out there in the grass having a good time playing and eating. They had obviously gotten away from their mother because she was nowhere in sight.

These little fawns must have been only a few months old because they were very small. In fact, they were not even old enough to have time to develop a healthy fear of humans. They had come right up close to the small road that runs along this place. Luckily the speed limit is little more than jogging speed.

I was able to watch them having fun right from my truck. They didn't mind at all that I was there. They did keep watch, but it wasn't really enough. I think they watched out more for their mother, knowing they had disobeyed orders and gone off by themselves to the human area. Hopefully she gave them a good lesson when she caught up with those little rascals.

Since they were out there for so long I had a good chance to get as much footage as I wanted. I was even able to get some video of these very small fawns. So my newest episode of Rat TV features these two fawns looking very hungry, getting their fill of grass. This one can be viewed in HD.

This is actually one of the first pictures of them. They were still running around enjoying their freedom in this wide open area. I'm glad they at least knew enough not to come out into the area that is full of human structures and vehicles. They seemed content to stay on the grass running and playing.

After their good romp they began to get hungry. They soon started eating grass as if it was going out of style. Every few seconds one of them would look up towards the forest as if they expected something. I assume that was their mother they were watching for. I went back a little while later and they were gone.

I'm assuming the mother came and found them. Hopefully she gave them a good talking to. This was not a wise thing for the babies to do, but they did get a good sized audience of humans who all thought they were adorable.

It's good to be so young and carefree. Isn't that what we all want? I hope these two wayward babies have a long and happy life, wherever they are.

Nature Center Magazine - Do any of you live in Indiana? Have you been to Indiana? Maybe you want to visit. Copas will show you the way to all the nature Indiana has to offer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Attacked By A Bird

You see the title up there? That's what happened to me a short while after I met that hellhound I showed you yesterday. Thank goodness the hellhound wasn't real. If it was, I would be dead right now for telling you about seeing it. Since it was only a statue it only has some of it's power. It only gave me a bit of bad luck and a gloomy feeling.

But let me describe what happened here at the water's edge. I decided to go back and take some pictures around the shore of Lake Erie after my little hike. water pictures are always good. While I was taking my pictures I noticed that there were bird houses lining the shore.

There were these little birds flying back and forth from the bird houses. They looked like Eastern Kingbirds, but I'm not at all sure if that's right. They're a little smaller than the other kingbirds I've seen, but I've often seen them together. Maybe some of you know.

Anyway, I noticed one of them flying frequently back and forth from the lake to its house. I waited for it to come back, and I got lucky that it landed right on top of the birdhouse. But as soon as I began taking pictures it hopped down to the entryway.

I still kept taking pictures because I hoped to get some good shots of it perched on the front. I really wasn't very close to it, maybe about thirty or forty feet away, so I couldn't see it as well as the camera could. This made it difficult to center the shot on the bird. I still got a few decent shots though.

Then as I was taking my pictures, even though I was still very far away, I saw the bird turn its head and stare at me as if I was bothering it! I really was not anywhere near this bird! I had a passing thought that this was slightly peculiar, but it soon left as the bird went into the birdhouse.

I saw a place a ways down the shoreline that looked interesting. It looked like a viewing platform or a dock of some kind. So I decided to make my way down there to see if there was anything good. I had to walk past these birdhouses to get to that place. When I got near this bird's house is when all the trouble started!

I still didn't walk very close, even though I thought about doing so. Now I'm glad I didn't try! I watched as the bird once again flew out over the water. I kept walking towards my destination as it began to fly back.

That's when it came right over to me and hovered in the air between me and its house! Then it suddenly flew right at me! That crazy little bird actually dive bombed me! Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, I pointed my camera at it as it began to make its next run at my head.

All I could do was point the camera in its general direction. I hoped one of my pictures would get the bird in the shot. The only problem was that I had forgotten to bring the zoom back in from when I was getting the bird's pictures from far away. I don't normally make that mistake.

The blurry picture above is the best one I got of this birds multiple attacks on me. I believe that black shadow on the left just might be the bird. Even after the bird made multiple strafe runs at me it never actually touched me. I don't know if it meant to do more than scare me, but I got away from there quickly. I was glad that was over.

Nature Center Magazine - Looking at fireflies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Dark Threat Of Evil

I recently found a new trail to hike while I was down near Lake Erie. After enjoying looking out at the water of the lake, which is so big that you can't see the other shore, I searched to see if there were hiking trails at this new nature park. I was very happy when I finally found them at the last place I looked.

I had a smile of anticipation when I got out of my truck and entered the trail. The trails were twice as wide as any I've seen before, so I wasn't really expecting a lot. A little too civilized I guess. I still didn't mind because it was an all new trail to search and discover. I was in heaven!

There was a long foot bridge I had to cross as soon as I entered the trail. The whole place is very wet because of its proximity to so much water. No matter because I like bridges of any kind. As soon as I got across the bridge though my smile was wiped away.

At the end of the bridge the small trees and large shrubs that edged the trail curved over the top to envelop the rest of the path in darkness. Right before I entered that darkness I saw something strange far down the trail. It was a huge dark figure of an animal standing there lurking in the darkness staring at me!

Startled, I stopped dead in my tracks. This thing had seen me before I saw it. Why wasn't it moving? The whole scene felt dangerous. As I focused my eyes to try to make out the identity of this dark creature, I began to realize that it appeared to be a very huge black dog.

The first thing that came to mind was that the sign at the front said there were no pets allowed here. And then in that same split second I began to wonder where the owner was. This was not a very good situation for me to be in at all!

This dog was much too big for even me to fight off. And anyone can instinctively know that when they see an animal of this kind standing so still, staring at them, there is a very good likelihood that it is about to try and kill them. This felt like a scene straight out of a horror movie.

I knew I couldn't outrun this animal, and it still was not moving. I would not turn my back on this beast, so instead of turning and leaving I moved slowly forward hoping that the owner was there but just momentarily unseen. That's when I found out the awful truth.

The awful truth was that this evil nightmare beast, this hellhound was in fact not real at all! I was fooled again by a statue!

But why is it there? Are they trying to give someone a heart attack!!! I exaggerate my fear a little bit for this story, but the fear was indeed there. I can imagine that many others didn't react as well as I did when they saw this hellhound at the end of this dark path.

I can imagine many other people turning and running from the trail in utter terror. What were they thinking when they put this beast here? Did they think it would be funny? Was there an actual good reason, like keeping people from running on this trail. The rules on the sign say no running. Maybe it's not humans that it is there to frighten. I wonder. I'll ask if I ever get to go back.

Here are a few more pictures of this hellhound so you can get a better look at him. Notice that it has a small clearing on the trail set out especially for it. I call it a hellhound for a very good reason.

Definition of Hellhound: A hellhound is a supernatural dog, found in mythology, folklore and fiction. A wide variety of ominous or hellish supernatural dogs occur in mythologies around the world, similar to the ubiquitous dragon. Features that have been attributed to hellhounds include black fur, glowing red or sometimes glowing yellow eyes, super strength or speed, ghostly or phantom characteristics, foul odor, and sometimes even the ability to talk. In cultures that associate the afterlife with fire, hellhounds may have fire-based abilities and appearance. They are often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and burial grounds, or undertake other duties related to the afterlife or the supernatural, such as hunting down lost souls or guarding a supernatural treasure. In European legends, seeing a hellhound or hearing it howl may be either an omen or a cause of imminent death. - Wikipedia

This dog fits the description well, doesn't it? I don't know about the omen of imminent death being true, especially since this beast I encountered is not real, but I can say for certain that I haven't felt quite right since that day. I feel as if there is a black cloud over me. I never associated this strange feeling with this hellhound until this second, but I wonder...

And that's all for this strange, superstitious sounding post. I keep imagining that things haven't been going quite right for me since that day. I still hope to change this strange feeling though. Maybe I just need to get out more. In the meantime I hope you all have a nice day.

Nature Center Magazine - The Nature Site Of The Week must be an excellent one this time because Emma keeps urging me to go take a look. I will as soon as it comes up today. I urge you to do the same.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Domestic Ducks

Along with the beggar squirrels and the goat the park where they all live also contains these domestic ducks and about two dozen Canada geese. And it makes perfect sense to have so many water birds because there is so much water.

A part of me wishes I lived closer to that place so I could explore it further, but most of me still loves my big hiking and nature parks with their wonderful forests. I think I feel the most at home inside a deep dark forest. Still, seeing all of these friendly animals that aren't afraid is a soothing sight to me.

That peaceful stream looks perfect for ducks and geese to swim around in. I didn't check but I'm pretty sure this little river opens up into the big Detroit River as it circles around the island. The grass here looks like it is routinely mowed and manicured to seem inviting to most people.

It does all seem peaceful and calming but I still prefer wilder areas. It may seem a little more inviting to me personally if I knew this place didn't draw such huge crowds of people every day. I guess some people like to be around a lot of other people more than I do. My preference is to be alone more often.

I guess it might seem by what I've been saying that I don't like this place very much, but I actually enjoyed myself a lot while I was here. This is a nice change of pace from my usual adventures. I've often admired seeing places that looked similar presented by other people in their pictures. This place comes close to what I sometimes see from them.

It's just that my favorite places as a kid were where I could explore forests and hidden creeks. Now I get to do that again every day. It's like being able to regain some of my lost childhood. This is as good as a fountain of youth.

I guess it doesn't matter what kind of place you find, as long as it has some nature there. These are places where you can go and all your troubles just melt away. As adults we have all placed heavy burdens on our shoulders. It's nice to shrug them off for at least a little while sometimes.

Nature Center Magazine - We have five more little ducks for you in this week's Cool Nature Video.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Pet Goat?

I don't get to do this often, but today I have a picture of a domesticated animal. A goat! And why did I choose a goat? Well, that's simply because I didn't see any other farm animals there. The goat was the only one around, and I happened to like the way it looked.

You may also notice that there is a car in the background. I don't exactly like showing any indications of nearby humans in my pictures, but I think since this animal is associated so closely with humans that having more evidence like this car is kind of appropriate. Don't you?

This is also my opportunity to tell you something a little strange about myself. While I lived in many types of places when I was a kid, including places in the country, I spent most of my years growing up in the city of Detroit, a pretty big city. And what is the strange part about that? Read on to find out.

While my family lived in the middle of this big city we still had farm animals at times. We once had a goat that we kept to keep other people out of our yard. Don't worry, we had plenty of room for him. Some people think a mean dog is good for keeping bad people away, but a mean billy goat is even better.

The reason we had these farm animals was because we had extra land around our house, and because my dad missed the farm he grew up on. We also had pigs and chickens too, along with a few other animals, but not all necessarily at the same time though. Even though we had a lot of room, we still lived in a city after all.

Some of you have dogs, some have cats, some have horses if you live away from the city. But have any of you had a pet goat in the middle of the city? You may think it's strange or even funny, and that's okay, but it was just the way I grew up. I have to say that I prefer dogs or cats now, but my dad is happy living back on a farm.

Oh, and Tigers. Since I'm from Detroit I like Tigers too, but only the kind that play baseball.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Best Black Squirrel Photos Ever

This is the very best look at a black squirrel I've ever had. These are my dream pictures. These are what I always wanted to get, but never thought I would. Black squirrels are so elusive where I live that I never get very close to them. In this faraway place the black squirrels are much more relaxed and friendly.

It was still the fox squirrels that came right up to me, but the black squirrels didn't run away. The gray squirrels still seemed to hang back a bit. They are all braver than they are in my forests, but the behavior compared to each other is still very similar to that of my familiar forest friends.

I took several pictures of this little guy, but I selected the two that I consider to be the best. They are all similar, so these two pretty much cover them all. I wish I had a cute little tale to go along with this account of this black squirrel, but I've already told you that story. I guess I'll just have to settle with the pictures and what I have here.

I'll tell you that these dark little squirrels seem so mysterious just from their appearance. I guess it's similar to the idea of a black cat for me. It's just that I never imagined that black squirrels existed until those now many years when I finally saw my first one. I was just so amazed and excited to see that dark little figure running around my new neighborhood so long ago.

The few days that took me to this far away place where I got these pictures also saw me with a little bit of trouble. It's been very hot up until yesterday. I was out a little too long and the heat got to me. I ended up sick from it, so I had to stay inside for awhile. That's just a warning that even if you're prepared, which I was, extreme heat can get the best of any of us.

I have another look at the place I was over at Nature Center Magazine. Photos like that will probably never find their way here. I was at the place where the Detroit River ends and Lake Erie begins. A very beautiful place. Our Great Lakes are so big that you can't see the opposite shore. Even with the heat, I had a wonderful time.