Wednesday, May 18, 2022

An Afternoon at the Beaver Pond

Early afternoon is a bad time to see wildlife but the morning had been taken up by chores and a Zoom gathering and there were things to do at home later in the day. For any chance to experience nature on this day it was in the afternoon or not at all.

Beaver ponds are one of the best places to see wildlife and to sit quietly, basking in the sun like an old turtle on a log; my favorite beaver pond beckoned so that’s where I went. Unfortunately there was a stiff breeze and harsh sunlight, therefore wildlife would probably be scarce and photographic opportunities few.

I set up my makeshift blind on the edge of the pond and settled down expecting to stay there for several hours. As expected, there was little wildlife activity: far overhead a red-tailed hawk circled lazily –

And out in the pond a Canada goose floated amid several old stumps –

The goose never left the stumps and the pond’s red-winged blackbirds and grackles never came close. In the sun’s warmth I almost took “an old man’s nap” and, after two hours, had just about decided to pack up and head home. The nap and the departure were canceled by the chirping of an osprey as one flew in carrying a fish it had caught somewhere else –

And proceeded to land in one of the dead trees rimming the pond –

With that it began feeding on what appeared to be a fairly large catfish –

The stiff breeze buffeted the osprey to the extent that it had to use its wings to maintain balance –

The wind made taking a video of the osprey difficult – the tree swayed, the bird moved and I swayed – but I tried anyway. Around the two minute mark you’ll see a raven make a pass at the osprey –

The raven, surprisingly, flew on without harassing the osprey further in an effort to get a free meal; soon afterwards the osprey left with its fish – and I left too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A Morning at the Beaver Pond

If you want to see or photograph wildlife there’s no better place than a beaver pond. And so, for a number of years, especially in the spring, I’ve spent time sitting at the edge of a pond where beavers make their home.

One of my camera traps has also been at the edge of the beaver pond for five years where it’s captured images of everything from white-footed mice to bears and a bald eagle; those photos and videos were the subjects of a number of blog posts.

Because my favorite beaver pond is in an area that’s open to hunting and May is spring turkey season, it was time to bring the camera in for a month. Since I was going to the pond to get the camera, it was a great opportunity to spend a couple of hours sitting at the pond in my improvised blind (three four-foot long plant stakes and a camouflage mesh military scarf).

I’d been at the pond for about a half hour when a male mallard landed with a grand splash. He was soon joined by another male – the ladies are probably somewhere along the edge of the pond incubating eggs.

The mallards soon disappeared among the beaver canals and vegetation on the far side of the pond. And then came the plaintive whistling call of a wood duck; soon one, and then a second male wood duck landed across the pond –

The wood ducks swam around and fed among the plants at the edge of the open water until one climbed up on solid footing and preened for a while –


As I watched the wood ducks, two great blue herons flew overhead followed by a lone raven; then a female wood duck flew in and landed.

None of the ducks came near, they were busy feeding along the far edge of the pond and finally disappeared into the pond's emergent vegetation. With that it was time to gather up the camera trap and head for home.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Looking Beyond 80 – the third three months

Four times I’ve undertaken a project to take a good or interesting photograph each day for a year, this time as a personal celebration of turning 80. In this post are photographs from each and every day of the third three months of my 81st year.

Fifty-two of those years were spent managing natural resources and for most of those years I carried a camera in forest and field. But I became a naturalist long before beginning a career in natural resources. My parents introduced me to the wonders of nature, and a fascination with the natural world has continued ever since.

During my high school years I began taking landscape photos with my father’s camera and then, while I was in college, bought my first 35 millimeter camera. My focus during those years was landscapes, including waterfalls and picturesque trees. A few years later I began concentrating on wildlife of all kinds and sizes and amassed a collection of 35mm slides. Shortly after good digital cameras became available I used my last roll of film.

And so here we are, continuing this collection of daily photographs that began last August 3rd, my 80th birthday. The photographs from the first and second three month periods were posted here and here



















Thus the third three month period of my 81st year on this green earth comes to an end. I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing my photographs as much as I’ve enjoyed taking them