Up close and personal with a dragon fly

peach rose

I wanted to spend the day getting some yard work done, got out the wood chipper and worked away on the pile of brush out front.  Managed to get quite a bit chipped before running out of gas.  Once it runs out of gas and dies, it is too hot to get started again, needs some time to itself for a cool down.  Seemed like that was a good time to quit myself and get out the camera.  I had been seeing the hummingbird on my Weigala so thought I would go sit out there and try and get some photos.  After a 45 minute sitting session with no sightings, I decided to explore the gardens.  My first rose opened for the year.

rose peach

Well I was taking a few photos of the rose, I saw something off to the side.  It was a hummingbird moth. This is only the second time I have ever seen one of these in my life. 

hummingbird moth

I didn’t have the correct lens on for this but had to try.  Took a few shots and realized he was sticking around.  Ran in the house and swapped out my lens for a better one.

hummingbirdmoth1

He didn’t stick around long after I got the other lens, I had to move in closer and I don’t think he liked that.

hummingbirdmoth3

hummingbirdmoth2

He flew off, I waited around a good half hour hoping he would come back.  He didn’t.  At least not while I was out there.  The little bugger was taunting and laughing at me, I swear he was.  I came in the house to order dinner as it was getting to be that time.  As I was putting on my shoes to run to Joy Garden for our food, I looked up and this little bugger was at the window, looking in at me and laughing.  I think he was proud of himself having chased me away.  He had to come back and rub it in.

dragon fly

While I was waiting around for him to come back, this friendly feller posed nicely for me at least.

dragon fly2

dragon fly3

I think the faces on these guys is really cool up close.  So many facets to the face of a dragonfly.

dragon flybw

Had to try it in black and white to see how it would turn out.

dragon fly4

I kept inching in closer to see how close he would let me get.  He let me up close and personal, just sat and watched me.

dragon fly5

dragon fly7

dragon fly6

Now isn’t that just the coolest face? He is smiling…. :) You can pet him, so soft and cuddly. :) I don’t know why but I think bugs are the coolest and dragonflies are one of my favorite, probably my favorite actually.  They are all over on my walk, all different colors and varieties. 

 

 

 

 

Neighbor’s yard

bridge2

 

My neighbor has the coolest yard, I would give anything to be able to walk around it and take photos for a day.  I took this bridge from the road walking by, just one of two bridges in this fun yard.  They feed the geese, turkeys, deer and whatever other wildlife will eat what they put out.  As soon as the geese on my pond hatch their young and they can swim, they go to this pond where they have more room to swim and free food. 

bridge

It is a very pretty, peaceful yard.  They have a tree that blossoms bright pink in the spring and reflects off the pond, just gorgeous.

egret

This beautiful egret was taken from the road walking by as well, not a very good photo as he was too far away and after zooming in… just doesn’t work.

It was a perfect day to be out today. woodpecker8

I wandered down to the pond before starting on my yard work, had to see if anyone was around.  On my way back to the house, there was a humming bird on my Wiegala, she flew off before I could react and try for a photo.  I pulled up a chair and sat for a while hoping she would return.  While I was sitting, I heard…tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap…. looked behind me to see this guy in my weeping willow tree.

woodpecker9

Snapped a few shots of him before he flew off at least.  There is a much larger, louder woodpecker that I keep hearing in the area, sounds like a machine gun above my head.. not quite but very loud. haha  I haven’t been able to spot him yet.  When we first moved here we had a Pileated woodpecker in the front trees.  I haven’t seen him since but I wonder if that is what this larger, loud woodpecker I am hearing is.  I really want to find him….. I also keep hearing a loud Who, who, who every morning, want to find this owl too.  You can hear him while in the house with the windows only open a crack, another very loud sounding feller.  I need more time in the day to just sit quietly in the yard with my camera, a whole world of critters waiting to be found yet….

Day off relaxing…

goose lawn

Took a few days off from work to do some things around the yard.  I had hoped to make it to the park with the camera but was too tired after all the yard work.  After relaxing a while I decided to at least go on down to the pond and see who might be visiting.  Papa goose was resting in my yard. Hmmmm…. do I walk to the pond which would put me between resting papa goose and nesting mama goose?  Didn’t sound like a wise place to put myself.  I decided to try again later.

goose lawn2

Papa finally decided to venture off to his pond, I followed at a distance to check things out.

goose lawn3

goose wings pond

Once papa reached the pond, he let me know he didn’t care for me following him there.  I received quite the scolding.  My dog saw the wings go up and heard the scolding and he scolded the goose right back by barking up a ferocious storm at him.  Wasn’t quite how I planned my quiet pond visit to surprise the wildlife and maybe get a photo or two.

goose wings pond2

goose wings pond5

Papa did finally relax and so did my dog, papa is drinking water and swimming quietly.  He would take a drink and stretch out the neck, tip the head and swallow it on down. 

goose wings pond3

goose wings pond4

I decided to sit at the shore and watch for a while, see what else might happen along.  Too nice of a day to sit indoors and relax when I can be out on the dock relaxing and listening to the birds.  The redwing blackbirds sing back and forth to each other all day by the pond. 

redwing blackbird2

They usually stay on the far side of the pond but while I was sitting there, this guy came and sat right by me.  He stayed quite a while singing to his female pal on the other side.

redwing blackbird

redwing blackbird4

redwing blackbird3

They always seem to pick the weakest branch to perch on and wobble around. 

redwing blackbird 10

After a bit, he moved on to perch on the deck post.  Next thing I know, I was hearing a tap, tap, tap, tap, in fast pace above my head.  I looked up to find a woodpecker right above me.

woodpecker2

woodpecker

That head of his would bob and peck so fast there was no getting a steady picture of it.  He moved allover in rapid pace.

woodpecker3

He finally moved on and I headed on back to the house for the evening. 

rhubarb seed

I noticed the rhubarb was already gone to seed, seemed early for this to happen.  I thought the seed pod was pretty cool though and took a few shots. 

caterpilar2

I stopped to check out some other shrubs and plants as I was passing the gardens.  I came across my first caterpillar of the year. 

caterpilar

They really have quite the ugly face don’t they? 

Blanding Painted Duo

The other day while I was at the pond I had found the Blandings Turtle again, I don’t see them that often yet this year and when I do they are across the pond.  This one was just coming out of the water to take a rest and I saw the sun reflect off his shell. 

piggy back ride

I caught this painted turtle giving a piggy back ride to the little guy.  Thought this was pretty cool, she walked quite the distance with him up top.

multi turtle pile up

They had started out as a part of this whole multi turtle pile up.  It makes me wonder how many turtles are in our little pond.  I can go down to the dock at any given time and hear plop, plop, splash as tons of multi sized turtles are diving off the dock into the water to hide.  You will then see heads popping up out of the water checking on me.  They are everywhere.

Well, that is about my ventures for the week.  So much to watch in one little yard. 

 

 

Definitely Spring…

rhododendron

Spring is here for certain I believe…. the Rhododendron is starting to bloom.  This is the first actual open flower on it so far.  My deep cranberry Rhodo isn’t yet started but it took a pretty hard hid over the winter and seems to have been grazed some by critters.  I am hopeful it will come back in time.

flowers2

flowers

A few other flowers starting out in the gardens.  Everything is leafing out nicely and new growth coming up from the ground. 

sparrow

The sparrows have started visiting and singing their songs.

sparrow belly

sparrow6

sparrow3

sparrow2

The last few mornings I have gone out with the dogs, around 3:00 am.  There has been an owl out there hoot hoot hooting away.  Drives the dogs insane, very close and loud.  I would love to find and photograph him.

redwing blackbird

The Red Wing Blackbirds are back at the pond, they are always trying to balance on these flimsy reeds along the shores. 

mallards

The mallards have been making their presence known down by the pond again as well. I haven’t noticed any signs of them nesting as of yet.

standing guard4

Momma goose is nesting though, papa stands a close guard of her too.

standing guard3

standing guard2

I watched him stay very alert to every sound and movement, he would travel back and forth toward whatever he heard to make sure all was safe.

standing guard

standing guard5

Here he was taking a nap on the dock, what is left of the dock.  He got a little worried by my appearance and moved closer to momma.

standing guard6

grazing deer

The deer have also returned to grazing in the yard.  They look very thin and are shaggy with their winter coats as of yet.

grazing deer3

grazing deer2

As long as they leave my flower gardens and roses alone, they can graze in the yard all they want.  

grazing deer4

grazing deer5

They let me come right outside with them but they keep a very close watch on my movements.  As long as I open the door slowly and move cautiously they let me come out and shoot away.

grazing deer6

Of course my dogs aren’t too happy that I get to go out and they can’t come along, they would love to give chase. 

So there are more than enough signs that spring is here to stay, no more snow for a couple months at least. :)

 

 

Nice day for play…

reed reflections

It was such a perfect day to be out today.  I had hoped to have time to go to a park for photos but didn’t make it.  I did manage to spend a little time relaxing with a book and the camera down by the pond at home.  I am hoping that if I sit out there on a lawn chair in the same spot, the critters will get used to me and come around more.  This shot of the reeds reflecting on the water struck me as kind of cool. 

Ares

My dogs weren’t exactly happy they couldn’t come join me.

wood duck4

This wood duck kept coming out from around the reeds to pose for me.  I think he wanted to get to where his wife is nesting but he would see me and turn around and go back to his hiding spot. 

wood duck3

wood duck2

The colors on these guys is so amazingly vibrant. 

wood duck swim

My turtles came out to visit me as well. 

peekaboo turtle

This little feller was playing peek a boo with me.

turtle dock2

turtle nails

Somebody seriously needs to trim these guys toenails, any volunteers? 

turtle dock reflection

turtle dock

I didn’t have a lot of time but I had a lot of visitors and really enjoyed the time I did have with them…. I like turtles… :)

Return of the turtles…

blanding

The Blanding Turtles have reappeared for the warm weather.  So nice to see them back, means spring is here for sure now.

blanding reflection

blanding2

I first spotted this one as a floating shell, the head was hiding under water.  I had to watch quite a while before he popped his head up.

turtle

turtle2

The painted turtles are also making their appearances.  I found one Blanding on the dock surrounded by 4-5 painteds.

turtle3

This little guy really wanted to get on the dock too. He came swimming up and gave it a strong attempt. 

turtle4

turtle5

turtle6

Poor little guy, try as he might he just kept falling back into the pond.

turtle7

turtle8

turtle9

He was very persistent, I was hoping he would manage but he just couldn’t get there.

turtle10

turtle11

He finally gave up and swam over to some reeds, he doesn’t look very happy either.  Love that expression on his face, grumpy old man turtle… :)

sparrow

Little sparrow came to watch as well.  I think he was cheering the poor little turtle on as well.

Wood Duck in flight

flying wood duck

 

Waiting for laundry to finish, figured I could take a few minutes and wander to the pond.  I startled up this wood duck, he took off, landed and took off again.

flying wood duck3

I managed to catch a few shots of him in the process before he disappeared completely.

flying wood duck4

flying wood duck5

flying wood duck2

The female was no where in site, probably on her nest.  They really are a beautiful bird. 

Wood Ducks return

female wood duck3

Looks like my pair of wood ducks have returned again this year, they nest in our swamp every spring.

male wood duck w goose

They seem to get along fine with the geese.  It is fun watching all my pets return for the spring.

goose wood duck2

female wood duck2

goose wood duck

They didn’t stick around long once I appeared, the geese are calm enough to stay but the wood ducks take off immediately.

female wood duck

male wood duck

The male took off on foot into the trees, wonder if this is where they might be starting a nest. 

 

Today

reeds

I took my dogs for their daily walk today and as I was walking past the neighbors pond I saw our beaver friend swimming in the water.  I didn’t have the camera with to do anything at the time.  When I got home again, I grabbed the camera and headed  down to the pond by my house, it loops around from the pond where the beaver was. I had thought maybe he would show himself.

goose watch5

When I got to pond I saw Mr. Goose very watchful and on guard.  My guess is that maybe Mrs. Goose was on the island behind him laying eggs……. He kept still and kept that head snaking around in the water, very watchful.  I think if the beaver did come to visit, Mr. Goose would let him know real quick that he wasn’t welcome.  Maybe he already had before I got there.  So, needless to say, no more sighting of the beaver.

goose watch

goose watch3

Every now and again, Mr. Goose would hear something that would cause his head to rise and watch for a while.  Very slow and stealthy though.

goose watch2

reflections3

goose watch6

It is cool that they nest on our island and I get to watch the new babies but as soon as they are old enough to leave the nest, they all flock together at the neighbors pond so he gets all the messy poop in his yard.  I can handle that. haha

While I was watching to see what was going on with the geese, a fat, red robin came down to say good evening.  Had to take a few pictures of her.  Spring is here for sure. 

robin

I played some with the reflections of the birch trees on the pond, just experimenting and having fun. 

reflections2

reflections

Storms have now moved in and my dog is in hiding from the thunder.  We need the rain to green things up.  I love the first storms of spring.  Have a good night everyone…..

Spring has arrived…

ice reeds

I finally had a chance to get out with my camera again, it has been a long and hectic winter.  Spring is finally here, the ice is almost out on the pond.  I wandered on down with the camera this afternoon, it is extremely windy out there today.  Noticed that our geese have returned to settle in their nest on our little island.

geese

We had a pretty mild winter in terms of snow fall, the island doesn’t appear to be in any danger of flooding this year.

goose2

It is fun to watch them return each year and start their family in our backyard. 

goose

As I was hanging out watching the geese, hoping they would open their wings and give me some fun shots, I saw some motion on the shoreline.

bluejay3

First one bluejay arrived and then a second one followed. 

bluejays

They would fly down to the water and bathe for a while before settling in the trees again.  It was fun to watch them.

bluejay4

blue jay bathing

Bluejays are a very pretty bird but I am not a big fan of them.  They are a very mean bird.

bluejay5

bluejays2

They will eat young out of other animals nests, I remember them digging up a bunny nest once when I was younger. 

cattail

Took a few other photos while I was out there, this is an old cattail gone to seed from last fall. 

pinecone

I thought this pine cone was interesting, dead on the tree but hanging on yet. 

birch

It did feel good to get out for a little bit, it has been too long since I had some new photos to work with.  I haven’t written on this blog since October, far too long of a time to go.