September 25, 2013

More Quackers

When Elsie and I visited the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University here in Harrisonburg, VA, USA, on September 8 we had a very pleasant stroll over the grounds. I missed the two photos below of Mallard ducks on my first go through of the results from that afternoon's visit to the arboretum, so you get to see them now.


a male Mallard duck at the JMU arboretum

A Male Mallard (I) (8-Sep-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

a male Mallard duck 

A Male Mallard (II) (8-Sep-13;© Richard L. Bowman)

I especially like the reflections off of the water.!

September 13, 2013

With a Quack-Quack Here and a Quack-Quack There

I do not live on "Old MacDonald's Farm," but late Sunday afternoon when Elsie and I visited the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison Uninversity here in Harrisonburg, VA, USA, we saw a lot of Mallard ducks. And according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "The Mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic duck breeds (everything except the Muscovy Duck)." So we were close to being on a farm!

I am not sure about a few of my identifications, so feel free to let me know what you identify if it is different from what I suggest. The male Mallard has a noticeably iridescent dark green head while the female is a bit more drab.

male Mallard in fron with a female Mallard duc behind

A Male Mallard in Front with a Female Mallard Behind (8-Sep-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

The patch of white, blue and black on the wing adds a beautiful elegance to the female duck, too.


Fale Mallard Duck (8-Sep-13;© Richard L. Bowman)

I would be very interested in anyone telling me for sure which species of bird the one below is.

an old male Mallard?

An Old Male Mallard or a Hybrid or...? (8-Sep-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

The flock of bird in and around the pond at the Arboretum numbered a dozen, more or less. Below is a sampling..

a good sampling of the flock of Mallards at the arboretum

Sample of the Mallard Flock (8-Sep-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

We must return for some more enjoyment of the Arboretum this fall. It is close by, and yet we have not been there for more than a decade!

September 6, 2013

Catching the Flitter

I am intrigued with trying to capture the small butterflies around our yard and garden on "film." So I was surprised and please when I actually did that right as we were heading out the door for a trip last Saturday. It is the Small White (or Small Cabbage White) Butterfly. Also check out the video I made.

Small White Butterfly

Small White Butterfly (31-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

When fully open, its wingspan is about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). Note that it is really more colorful than just plain white; light yellow-green color paints at least half of each wing with one black dot on each wing.

For more info, explore the Wikipedia page and "Gardens with Wings" page.

August 30, 2013

Caught in  the Act!

As the insurance ad asks, how delighted are their customers as they save money. I'll suggest, "Happy as a rabbit in a whole lawn of grass!".

a rabbit in a lawn of grass

A Cottontail Rabbit in the Lawn, Landisville, PA, USA (20-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Or maybe the two female House Sparrows below could say, "Happy as two sparrows eating bird seed together!"

two female hourse sparrows eating bird seed

Two Female House Sparrows Eating Bird Seeds (29-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Or I could say, "Happy as a person photographing animals and plants!" And that is being very happy!

August 16, 2013

From Small to Smaller

I have not put out seeds to feed the birds for some time, but with the fun I had watching them work on my stale bread loaf, I did add some seeds to the bird feeder. After the birds found the new seeds, they did eat. Here is a female House Sparrow taking advantage of the opportunity.

female House Sparrow

Female House Sparrow (15-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

And then there are some insects that are kind of interesting close up. Yesterday as I pulled old green bean plants out of the garden, I observed quite a number of young Mexican Bean Beetles.

Mexican Bean Beetle larvae

Mexican Bean Beetle Larvae (15-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Damage from the Mexican Bean Beetle is widespread in the USA, so many states have web pages describing how to identify them and how to control them. For example, look at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst page or the one done by the University of Florida

August 15, 2013

Who Is in the Clover?

I do not know whether or not this Cottontail Rabbit was eating any of the white clover I captured it sitting in when I captured in "on film," but this is the first one I have photographed in years.

Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit (1) (12-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit (2) (12-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

There must be more wildlife I can observe if I can take the time to do so. We have not been to the James Madison University Arboretum yet this year, and I keep thinking I do want to spend some time there. So we will see.

August 8, 2013

What's for Supper?

A couple days ago, I empty a "freezer-burned" loaf of French bread from our freezer and placed it on our deck for the birds to eat. Yesterday and today I broke off small pieces of bread and left them on the ground and desk as samples. At mid-morning I noticed both a male and female House Sparrow and a Starling working on the loaf of bread.

a male and a female House Sparrow and a Starling begin to eat the loaf of bread

A Male and a Female House Sparrow Begin Eating the Bread Along with a Starling (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

But it was the female House Sparrows who seemed to really devour the bread with flocks of 15 or more surrounding the loaf at some times.

HOuse Sparrows eating old bread

A Few of the Many House Sparrows Eating the Stale Bread (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Nothing like turning one's belly up so that one's head can turn more so as to get the best bites!

close up of one House Sparrow on its side eating

One Female House Sparrow Is Almost on Its Side While Eating (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

And below is one of those special finds that occasionally come when I actually review my photos at the computer. Notice the one Sparrow coming in to land with her "landing gear" down already! 

House Sparrows eating old bread

A Female House Sparrow Comes in for a Landing (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Late this afternoon, I rescued the loaf (or what is left of it) from the coming rain. Now who devoured all of the semi-soft stuff inside? Was it the birds pecing away at the loaf or did one of our hungry Squirrels do the job.

old bread loaf with center eaten out

The Hollowed out Bread Casing (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

The answer is probably seen in photos like the one below where only the tail of one bird is seen because the bird is almost totally inside the hollowed out loaf.

at least one bird is inside the loaf

One Male House Sparrow and Five Females (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

To help everyone get a better perspective of the size of this small loaf of bread, here is a photo showing my thumb next to the hollowed out loaf. The loaf was about 3 inches (almost 8 cm) along the longest length of its cross-section.

I'm holding the shell of the bread in my hand. 

The Hollowed out Bread Casing and My Thumb (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Moving from birds to insects, take a look at two Cucumber Beetles eating the leaves of a Red Root weed in our garden. The larvae are called Corn Rootworms in the southern US. To learn more about these small, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) long bugs, check out Cornell University's "Vegetable MD Online" or University of Kentucky's page on Cucumber Beetles.

Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber Beetles Eating the Leaves of a Red Root Weed (7-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

Or going back to the old bread on the deck, I also got a nice shot of a female House Sparrow perched on the edge of the deck. .

female House Sparrow

Female House Sparrow (8-Aug-13; © Richard L. Bowman)

I haven't really photographed birds for awhile, so it was very good to do so the past two days. Birds are very special animals for me.

--©2013, Richard L. Bowman

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