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.
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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 »