The Doomsday bud from Star Trek I.
Poor tiny little baby groundhog, barely more than a bag of noodles. Ripped from your nice downy grass bed by the instinct of a Dachshund. Good luck little fellow, hope you get a warm spell.
Here he is kicking snow in the face of a 9 oz. weakling to impress the chicks.
Rocky the Flying Squirrel takes a half-gainer approach to the "squirrel-proof" birdfeeder. Incoming!!!
I tire of these parlour games. There had better be a pig's ear in it for me after all this.
That laser-beam stare which hath broken the will of many a grandmother with treats in her hand. Okay, just this one time...
That's right Monty, that would be W - I - D - E angle kaleidoscope - In Sensurround!!! (Copyright Irwin Allen, All Rights Reserved)
A female cowbird boldly defends her stick.
Two Box Elder bugs doing the uh, um Bump. On a railroad track. Is there no shame?
Elderberry blossom revisited. Sort of. In a different place.
And how often during a lifetime do you get this rare opportunity? Seeing an actual knothole being formed! This is the roof of one of our bluebird houses. It must have gotten a tad warm in there after a good wetting down, as the knot - she is a poppin' out. I tugged on it to see how loose it was (hence the chipped edge, sorry), but it was tighter than a landlord's wallet. Vacancy available - now with skylight!
I saw my first dragonfly today (actually three) but failed to get a recognizable picture of one.
My friend Bob loaned his autofocus Nikon lens off of his F100 to me to try for awhile. It's pretty fun, it's a 28 -105 macro at 3.5 - 4.5D. I'd forgotten how heavy macro lenses are. Especially autofocus. Nice glass tho.
The Flicker sets sites on an overhead target. Dinner on the observation deck today, maybe? Your table is set, sir.
A pair of nesting bald eagles, along with many loons, mergansers, grebes, cormorants, ducks and gulls of many flavors.
Meanwhile the little misses is back home awaiting take-out food.
There is a word about water that I've always admired, describing the "thalweg" of a stream. I was taught it means the "definitive flow channel" of the river, which may not be the dead center of a straight stretch or the outside bend on a corner, as you would expect. It's where the river is "determined to go." Others say it just means the deepest part of the river or valley.
The stream here at the Bass Ponds today (which has been restocked with Brown Trout as it was many years ago) shows a meandering thalweg of clear, fast water, bounded by stationary mats of watercress as far as the eye can see.
To have this vibrant green alive and glowing there where the woods are still mostly gray bark and the dingy leaf duff of last fall, borders on the surreal.
During an afternoon training session along the Mississippi River Gorge, (the ONLY true river gorge for the entire length of the river I just found out, and it's right near our neighborhood) Chrissy & Fred pointed out this amazing tree bud they found along the path. They said, "You've got to take a picture of this, it's like two hands holding a broccoli!"
Indeed it is. I'm told it is an Elderberry bush.
It's cool to think it could be the same couple come back to our little bend in the creek year after year, to celebrate their anniversary or stay a few days in the Cattail Motel, on their way "Up North."
The Savannah Sparrow staked out in a tangle of woody shrubbery.
And another little buddy we haven't seen for quite some time (I haven't anyway, tho he was probably still there) : the mink. I'm sure this musky fellow is anxiously awaiting some nests with nice tasty eggs in them.
The Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is unfurling. Hmmm. "foetidus?" Fetid Cabbage...? That's kind of an ominous dark void in the center... What's in there? Let's have a look...
Whoa! Is that thing licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? And what's that, um, smell...?
Motherwort. Always the first one out.
Phoebe??? Phoebe!!! Phoebe??? Phoebe!!! Phoebe??? Phoebe!!!
I started my construction by buying two of the peeps, a 180 degree with a 1/2" barrel and a 200 degree with a 5/16" barrel. Then I just held them up to the lenses of my digital cameras (carefully) to see approximately what I could get. I didn't have much luck with my lenses on the Nikon D80, but the Canon G2 (point & shoot) looked decent, so I got a 1 1/2" PVC cap at the hardware store (the P & S doesn't have a thread on end of the lens), found the center, drilled the hole and screwed the peep in:
I had to put a layer of transparent tape on the inside of the PVC for a snug fit, and screwed in the peep lens a bit to make up for the rounding of the cap inside.
I still want to get back and try some ideas on the D80, but for now this is what I had time for. It seems to work best with the P & S lens telephotoed out and set to "close-up", and with a - 2/3 stop compensation. You have to play with it a lot tho, and expect to do some clean up in Photoshop as this lens isn't quite up to Hubble specs. It's super fun experimentation tho, and made for the digital camera, where you can see it right away and make some adjustments. I want to play with cutting down the peep barrel as the back lens is in quite a ways. I also have some other lenses to combine with it. Sometime.
This is the most definitive source for info I have found so far, there you can download a 26 Meg pdf tome of some people's "research" of the idea. I have some other collected links if that's not enough. I will also post some of my experiments with it as they come out of the "lab."
Ahhhh! It's ALIVE!!!!!
What some thought on April 12, 2008, to be a Barn Swallow has now been cross-analyzed, discussed and verified thru pattern-recognition to be an Eastern Bluebird. Welcome back to Minnesota!
The creature I called a moth on April 5, 2008, turned out to be a brush-footed butterfly (Order Lepidoptera) of the family Nympalidae. Or more to the point, a Nymphalis Antiopa or "Morning Cloak" butterfly. I just saw another one yesterday. I whole-heartedly apologize to your entire family, and to your order. I'm sorry.
Also, on March 29, 2008, I mistakenly referred to two ring-necked ducks as scaup. That proves it Honey, I NEED A LONGER LENS!
In the future, look for more consistency in my putting the captions UNDER the images. I realize sometimes I put them on top, sometimes under. It's a mixed up, jumbled up, shook up world. If I find myself with scads of extra time (ya!) I'll fix it all up.
Meanwhile, if you see something that needs correction, speak up, by all means. The things I have to fix are the things I have a greater chance of remembering next time.
Quick story: Yesterday I was driving home from errands after the nature center and I saw a cool thing. As I was driving up Minnehaha Avenue in my nappy little car (Minnehaha is a two lane street that used to be a street-car line, many of the houses are at a 45 degree angle to the road, pretty surreal) I was going about 30 and I saw something moving equal to my speed out of the corner of my eye. It was a Cooper's hawk just rocketing thru people's yards, over hedges, around trees, about 8 feet off the ground. Just about the time the last w of Wow! came out of my mouth, he sped up and I noticed there was another one of equal size, color and vigor chasing him. I had to slow down for the traffic lining up at a stoplight and they both buzzed past, around trees, over the parked cars, then down the middle of the street traffic, around somebody turning left, then straight down the empty avenue past the intersection. Gone in 10 seconds. It didn't seem like anyone else even noticed. Thanks, you guys.
American Robin enjoying the sunset at the dogpark.
A scappy American crow catching a ride on our 40 mph gusts today.
A shy Gadwall snuck in amongst the mallard crowd this morning, but our neighbor Diana "Eagle-eye" Doyle tipped me off and I ran out in my PJ's for some snapshots.
While on the Gadwall stake-out, a not-so-shy goldfinch landed on the branch right in front of me and began his morning song. He was so close I was not sure I could focus my telephoto!