May 29, 2013

Don't Mock Me and My Mistakes

First of all, I finally have seen (and heard!) a Mocking Bird on our house. Below is a photo of it perched on the peak of our "barn."

Mocking Bird on "barn" roof

A Mocking Bird on Our '"Barn" Roof (25-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Now as to my mistakes, I had incorrectly identified Carpenter Bees as Bumble Bees. Sorry about that folks. I thank Denton and Jake Yoder for putting me on the correct track.

The differences that I could have know are the Carpenter Bees have smooth abdomens, while Bumble Bees have hairy ones. Also, Carpenter Bees mainly nest in softwood that is unpainted and weathered, while Bumble Bees usually nest in the ground. (See the "Carpenter Bees" page at the U. of Kentucky College of Agriculture.)

Carpenter Bees seem to like the house that Denton and Janet Yoder built. Below is one trying to find the hole it came out of.

Carpenter Bee in flight

Carpenter Bee, near Christiansburg, VA  (26-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

And this time I really did stop the wings in their motion. It was a serendipitous event, since it was taken at f/3.5 @1/500 s (which is not much different than my previous attempts.

BTW, I have corrected my identifications of last weeks photos.

May 21, 2013

Insects Are Animals, Too!

You may look at the Flower Blog to see pictures of the Dianthus flowers blooming at our house. While I was getting those flowers, I noticed an ant apparently getting its fill of sweet nectar.  

ant's backside sticking out of flower

Ant Head First into Nectar (19-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Did you notice the leg streaks on the petals of the flower from the ants diving for its food?

ant leaving flower

Ant Leaving the Buffet (19-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

And I have made two attempts to capture a Carpenter Bee in flight. In the first one, my shutter speed was so slow that the beating wings did not even show up. (It was taken at f/5 @ 1/160 s.) 

Bumble Bee 

Carpenter Bee (against Virginia Creeper on shed) (17-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

The next photo was taken at a faster speed. (It was taken at f/4.5 @ 1/1600 s!) Note that the beating wings show up as a thin darker blur on either side of the body of the bee.

Bumble Bee 

Carpenter Bee (at edge of porch) (20-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

And the animals for this posting must include two shots of the Robin that visited our flower bed after we had stirred up the dirt by pulling and digging out the weeds. 


Robin Observing the Photographer (20-May-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Robin eating 

Robin Feasting (20-May-13;  © Richard L. Bowman)

So what does the Robin have in its mouth? Hmm....

May 9, 2013

At Home or Away, There Are Birds to See

Since April 20 this is only our fourth full day at home. And tomorrow morning we leave for another three days. All of this travelling is fun, but I do not get to my blogs very often this way. Here are just a few birds that we saw at home and away during that time.

At home we can always count on the Mourning Doves.  

Mourning Dove in a tree

Mourning Dove (30-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

two Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves (30-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

I have thought that I have heard a Mocking Bird here at home, but I have not been able to see it. But one day at our hotel  there sat one right on the ledge of the building.  

Mocking Bird in SC 

Mocking Bird, Yemassee, SC (26-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

On our way back from a conference in Orlando, Florida, we stopped at the South Carolina We3lcome Center. It was a nice place to stop, and it had plenty of squawking birds. My friendly bird experts, Holden Byler and Gordie Shantz have informed me that they were Boat-tailed Grackles.

Boat-tailed Grackle 

Boat-tailed Grackle (15-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Boat-tailed Grackle in flight 

Boat-tailed Grackle in flight, SC (26-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Boat-tailed Grackle 

Boat-tailed Grackle, SC (26-Apr-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Enjoy watching the birds you see this spring.

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