Sunday, April 24, 2011

They're coming after me

I was showing my daughter the latest pictures I had taken and she spotted this furry jumping spider on the back of my chair. No less than 8 eyes, it perched itself up on the corner of the chair while I took endless flash pictures. I then captured it and released it outside. These spiders have no fear and they WILL come after you! They are aggressive hunters no matter how big the prey.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

At the Lake Today

I took a walk with the girls this afternoon and Carina spotted this Great Heron on the shoreline. Last night while I was packing to come home from Madison, I found a North American Millipede on the garage floor. This one was about 5" in length but they can get to be over 8". Some people keep them as pets and they are easy to take care of. These particular millipedes are only found in North America.

A Great Heron fishing in the shallows

A North American Millipede up close

When disturbed, the North American Millipede will curl up to protect itself.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Downy Woodpeckers Were Busy

Yesterday turned out to be an exceptional day for a day that was so supposed to rain. Walking into the woods in the front yard, I discovered two Downy woodpeckers building a nest in a dead pine tree. I watched them for almost an hour when they decided to take a break.

Female Downy Woodpecker looking for her male

A Male Downy Woodpecker checking sapsucker holes for insects

The pair mating in a nearby tree

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aliens in the Back Yard

In recent days I have turned my lens from the trees to the ground. Most people don't spend much time looking at the aliens right in our own back yard. I suppose it's mostly because we are disgusted with things that have more than four eyes. Maybe also because some of these aliens are cowards waiting until after we go to sleep to wreck their havoc. Here are a few of these aliens we have in our own yards that we never get close enough to look at in any detail. Try not to look at these too late at night...sweet dreams! (Click on any image for a larger version...if you dare)

A wasp guards it's nest in a conifer

A very ugly spider with an egg sack. Note the fang!

Two black ants attack an inch worm which mounted a defense by secreting a sticky substance that bought it some time to escape.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Looking Down for a Change

Here are a few shots of some critters I took down in Madison, VA. I spend too much time looking up in the trees and not enough looking at the forest floor. All shot with a Canon 100mm Macro L lens.

A juvenile newt I found under a log

A Bumble Bee pulling nectar from a flower

A Hovering Bee pulling nectar from a purple flower

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Must Be Here!!!

Spring must be here. This Robin has built a nest outside our dining room window.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Went Searching for a Bald Eagle's Nest Today

A co-worker and I went searching for this eagle's nest at Lake Mercer but we turned up nothing. People on the trail say there is two of them but we only saw this one pictured below. It was the best of only three shots I got before it flew off. I'm constantly amazed at the abundance of wildlife to photograph at the lake. I go out to shoot something and come back with gigabytes of photo's to sift through. Below are a mother dove feeding her babies, a Sand Piper near the south west bog, and one of three deer we saw in the woods. They were curious enough to come toward us for a bit. We got quite a few pictures of them before they headed east up the trail. The herons have been elusive. We saw one perched on top of a very tall pine tree but neither of us got any good shots. We will keep trying.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bird Politics

These flycatchers were interesting to watch down at Lake Accotink today. They chase bugs all over the place. At one point they stopped to rest on top of a log in the middle of the creek and one began to scream loudly at the other. One can only imagine what was going on there.

Fly Catchers having an argument

A Tufted Titmouse

The center of a small pink flower

A Double Crested Cormorant Landing at Lake Mercer

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Bald Eagle Views

Here are a couple of new views of our resident Bald Eagle at Lake Mercer. Still looking for the nest but I have a good idea where it is. Click on the images for larger versions.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Storm Wins 1st Game of the Spring Season

A little rain came with this seasons opener but it didn't stop the Storm who won their 1st game this spring season. Go here to see ALL of the game pictures.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bald Eagles over Lake Mercer Today

Today started out very quiet at the lake. Not much was moving out there to take pictures of except for hundreds of Cormorants. If you want a lot of good subjects to photograph, come on down to Lake Mercer in Fairfax Station. I originally was hoping to find Herons but never found any. I walked nearly the entire south side of the lake and didn't find much so decided to go back to the dam by Hooes Rd. There I saw Ospreys circling overhead and one began a dive and caught the fish, shown here. As the Osprey circled overhead, a bald eagle swooped in and began to chase the Osprey. After about 15 minutes the Osprey had had enough and dropped the fish. The bald eagle caught the falling fish and flew off toward the south west side of the lake. Next time I will take a deeper approach to that side and see if I can find a nest. The shots were at the limit of my camera and lens. At 500mm and using an 18MP camera I still had to crop and process on the computer heavily to get what you see here. Shooting into the sky is incredibly difficult and with all of the action it's difficult to see, focus, and get the exposure right. However, despite the difficulty I am able to share these with you.

Adventures This Weekend with a Macro Lens

This weekend I am experimenting with a macro lens. I thought I would share this one since it's spring and we need a dose of color right about now. Click image to see the full resolution image.