- Animals/Birds of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks 2016
- National Parks Landscapes 2016
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2014
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2014
- Animals of Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands 2012
- Yellowstone/Tetons/Badlands Landscapes 2012
- Animals of Yellowstone 2011
- Birds of Yellowstone 2011
- Yellowstone/Tetons Landscapes 2011
- Yellowstone Textures
- Custer State Park, SD
- Great Smoky Mountains NP
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Utah National Parks
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I had an opportunity to photograph the resident education birds at the Iowa Raptor Project near Solon, IA and Lake MacBride State Park. Each bird has a unique story of how it was injured and can't be returned to the wild. They are now education birds open to the public to view the birds and learn about raptors. This is a joint project of Kirkwood Community College and The University of Iowa Recreational Services. [Click the images to see larger and read the descriptions.]
I'm still finding lots of Monarch butterflies - hundreds in this prairie area near Galena, Illinois. I really enjoy taking photos of butterflies and prairie flowers and spider webs with morning dew among the prairie flowers. [Click an image to see larger.]
A molting male Cardinal wrestling with a very large Emperor Moth caterpillar hanging from a branch. The caterpillar put up a good fight, swinging back and forth and curling up in a ball to get away from the Cardinal, but after about 15 minutes it finally got knocked to the ground where the male and female Cardinal promptly pounced on it.
[4 photos and a video- click to see larger.]
Watch the short video:
I got a little carried away with fireworks photos from the first night of the PGI (Pyrotechnics Guild International) convention fireworks show in Mason City at the North Iowa Events Center. Several of the photos are multiple exposures in the camera to stack the explosions on a single image. Click to see lots of photos here -
I went paddling at the Venture Marsh and saw many birds including four new birds to me - a Marsh Wren, Least Bittern, Black Tern, and Common Moorhen. In addition there were the regulars - Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and American White Pelicans, among others. Paddling the solo canoe is always a great way to photograph birds. [Click images to see larger.]
We often have House Wrens nesting in various places in our yard. This year we had a nest in a birdhouse in the front yard next to the driveway, so it was easy to watch the adults building the nest, bringing insects to the nest to feed the chicks and then to watch three House Wren chicks ready to take their first flight yesterday evening. This morning they had left the nest box.
An interesting 'Birds of Prey' - raptors show at the North Iowa Fair with Jonathan and Susan Wood from the Raptor Project (not to be confused with the Iowa Raptor Project). They had some great birds as a part of their show and told some interesting stories about the birds. You can see the names of the the birds if you click the images to view larger.
A Dickcissel singing among the prairie flowers. Or perhaps I should say a Dickcissel on a thistle (try to say that five times really fast). They often look like a small Meadowlark (different beak) or a female House Sparrow. They are found singing in the summer along fields, meadows and prairies. While looking for prairie flowers, Dickcissels and other birds (and feeding mosquitoes) a rainbow dropped down from the sky. A nice addition to a beautiful summer day. [Click images to see larger.]
I photographed two Whooping Cranes in North Iowa! According to the International Crane Foundation, there are only 757 Whooping Cranes in the entire world - less than 600 in North America. They are the rarest and most endangered bird in North America and the tallest bird at about five feet tall - at least a foot or more taller than Sandhill Cranes. There are two major flyways: from the Aransas National Wildlife refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas to Wood Buffalo National Park on the northern border of Alberta, Canada; and from central Wisconsin to the southeastern U.S. These two cranes seem to have strayed off of those flyways. (Well, Iowa is a great place to visit.) I'm guessing that they are part of the group of Whooping Cranes hatched and released by the the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI, but I am waiting for confirmation. They have identification bands and transmitters on their legs. There was no sign of young birds so I don't believe that they are nesting. They have been hanging out with two adult Sandhill Cranes that do have a young colt (chick) - photo below. According to Paul Hertzel, records from the Iowa Ornithologists Union indicate that there hasn't been a successful nesting pair of Whooping Cranes in Iowa since 1888.
A special thanks to the person that helped me locate these birds. All the photos were taken from the car with telephoto lenses, so as not to disturb the birds. I would never get out of the car and attempt to approach them.
Click the photos below to see a larger.
The waxing crescent Moon setting tonight. (I think this is the one that the cow jumped over.) Venus was also very bright and close to the Moon in the sky, but I liked the image of the Moon alone better. When the sun hits the moon at an angle it really shows the shadow of the craters.
I missed the full Moon rising last night (I should put these things on my calendar), so I got up early to see it setting this morning. The moon set at 6:03 AM, so I needed to be out to the spot where I wanted to take a photo of it setting behind a local windmill about an hour earlier. When I went out in the dim twilight there was a clear, cloudless sky, bright moon and I could see clearly where I need to be, but the moon was still too high in the sky to get the photo that I wanted. Then it happened. Out of nowhere a thick fog rolled in across the fields and I could no longer see the windmill, and the moon was hazy. Ugh! Well, I waited around to see what would happen and as the sun came up, the fog did dissipate a little. I got a few photos, but the moon was rapidly fading away as it sank in the the fog. Not the sharp, clear picture of the moon behind the windmill that I had hoped for.
The morning was not a total disappointment. In the road ditch where I was standing to take pictures of the moon there were many wild prairie flowers blooming, Monarch butterflies flitting from flower to flower, and I got a photo of a Dickcissel singing on a fence post. Click the photos below to see larger.
Yesterday the sky over North Iowa was very active. It is fascinating to watch the clouds but hard to realize the flowing changes in the clouds until it is sped up with a time-lapse video. This was recorded as a time-lapse video with a GoPro camera with a 10 second interval between each frame. There are 30 frames in each second of video, so it takes 6 frames in one minute, five minutes to record one second of video, and one hour to record 12 seconds.
Click below to watch the short video.
It's dragonfly season again. Here are my first attempts as a few photos this Spring. I just wish they would sit still long enough for me to frame, focus and take a picture. A bit challenging.
(Click an image to see larger)
Just a few notes about my photos. See more on Facebook.