Martha Songbird

November 18, 2016 at 5:00 am (Autumn, Birds - Oklahoma, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bugs, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography)

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There’s a pretty little nature park in the middle of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, named after the last passenger pigeon on earth. Martha died in 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo. Her billions of other kin had been exterminated out of existence by greed and thoughtlessness.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Several decades ago, Fort Sill naturalists wanted to reclaim a part of the well-groomed military grounds for wildlife. They planted many native trees and shrubs, and let it go wild. Then they named it after Martha the passenger pigeon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Critters ‘n Flowers

November 9, 2016 at 5:00 am (Autumn, Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bugs, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wildflowers)

Mikey and his Doggles

Mikey and his Doggles

You never know what you’re gonna see when you get out of the car to stretch your legs. I was munching on an oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie when this little guy motored by at Queen Wilhemena State Park in Arkansas. Read the rest of this entry »

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Birds ‘N Bugs

August 25, 2016 at 4:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife) (, , )

Common nighthawk, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma

Common nighthawk, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma

Nighthawks can be hard to photograph because they tend to fly high and when the light is poor. This one gave me an opportunity for its flight portrait just as the sun was setting in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Common nighthawk calling

Common nighthawk calling

I have heard their “buick, buick” calls ever since I was a child in Louisiana. Matter of fact, I caught one once. It was a youngster and it whizzed past my head at dusk. I chased it (barefoot most likely, as I rarely wore shoes outside) until it landed in the field behind my house. I picked it up, carried it around for a little while, and let it go. Cool, huh? Read the rest of this entry »

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July in the Wichita Mountains

July 5, 2016 at 5:24 am (Birds - Oklahoma, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

Bobwhite male

Bobwhite male

Since joining federal service in 2009 I’ve been privileged to live and work in some gorgeous places. I logged thousands of travel miles exploring Far West Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, and California. Now that I’m in Oklahoma, my urge to explore beyond my backyard has been tempered by this fantastic national wildlife refuge only 20 minutes from home.

Lake Quanah Parker and plains coreopsis

Lake Quanah Parker and plains coreopsis

I try to visit once a week, and the thing is, I rarely need to venture far from the car. There are SO many treasures alongside the road, and frankly the car acts as a photography blind. Were I to get out when I saw the bobwhite, he would have disappeared before I got the door closed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wichita Mountains – Late June

June 19, 2016 at 1:26 pm (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

Cow elk and youngster

Cow elk and youngster

People who have been here awhile say the lushness of the wildflowers and prairie grasses is the best they’ve seen in awhile. There was a drought the previous few years, but this spring has been abundantly wet.

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The elk on the refuge were reintroduced in the early 1900s after the native Merriam’s elk were exterminated. The Rocky Mountain subspecies is larger, and numbers between 700 and 800 at the refuge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bear River Birds

September 10, 2014 at 7:15 am (Bird photography, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Southwest Birds) ()

Western grebe pair

Western grebe pair

Although my trip in July to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah was a bust (child-rearing was already over) I did get a few nice images.  The Western grebes look similar to the Clark’s grebe, but the black on the head covers their eyes.   See the difference.

Clark's Grebe

Clark’s Grebe

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Ants Do Heavy Lifting

July 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm (Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Parks, Nature) (, )

Western harvester ants do some heavy lifting when finishing off their distinctive homes.

Their nests are covered with an even layer of gravel – most of which is pretty much the same size.  What to an ant must be like a 50-lb boulder to us is lifted with seemingly little effort. Apparently the gravel serves the same purpose as shingles on a house roof.  It keeps the wind from blowing away all their hard work, and also provides shade from the summer heat and releases a bit of warmth in the cool nights.

https://vimeo.com/99730647 Read the rest of this entry »

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Piedmont NWR, Middle Georgia

May 9, 2014 at 6:21 am (Bird photography, Birds - Georgia, Dragonflies and Bugs, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Wildlife) ()

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

Enroute to Colorado, I stopped at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge north of Macon, Georgia.  I met two other ladies who wanted to watch birds, and we helped each other find some good ones. Read the rest of this entry »

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November Critters in the Okefenokee Swamp

November 22, 2013 at 5:38 am (Autumn, Birds - Georgia, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bugs, fine art photography, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography, Wildlife)

Male common yellowthroat and titi shrub along the Suwannee Canal

Male common yellowthroat and titi shrub along the Suwannee Canal

Fall in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge means an influx of migratory birds from up north, as well as greater visibility for the resident avians.  The frogs are mostly gone (hibernating?) and visible insect life has dramatically decreased, but alligators will be more prominent since they stop feeding in cool weather and bask in the sun to stay warm.

Alligator lurking

Alligator lurking

Along the Suwannee Canal there were catbirds galore, generally in pairs, mewing their displeasure at the intrusion of two kayakers.  I had a pair that nested in my yard every summer when I lived in Maine.  They loved the grape jelly I set out for them in little bowls at the feeder. Read the rest of this entry »

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No moon, but lovely evening on the boardwalk

October 19, 2013 at 5:35 am (Autumn, Dragonflies and Bugs, fine art photography, Georgia, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Photography) (, )

Dragonfly at sunset

Dragonfly at sunset

It was the night of the Photographer’s Moon (as I call it) – when the moon rises at sunset.  But there was a pile of clouds to the east, and I never saw it (or the partial eclipse).  But the Chesser Island Boardwalk at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had some lovely surprises on this late evening walk.

Coreopsis and burned cypress knees

Coreopsis and burned cypress knees

First of all, there is the riot of coreopsis (also known as tickseed sunflower) in the swamp right now.  After two weeks of Government Shutdown, the difference in scenery is amazing.  Truly autumn is a wonderful season for flowers here. Read the rest of this entry »

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