A Special Interest Article by Paul Gagner
I like to be outside…. a lot. Photography is my way of connecting to the wonder and beauty of nature. The majority of these photos were taken from my deck. Step onto the deck, take four steps and shoot….
They are handsome fellows with their red caps. The males are feeding on niger seed and the females are feeding on sunflower pieces. They always seem so peaceful and not quite as edgy as Goldfinches and they do not mind being photographed. I have had as many as thirty at one time !
Red Bellied Woodpeckers are skittish and wary when feeding. Beautiful ladder marks and a fiery orange cap! He is eating a custom mix, but is selecting the sunflower hearts and peanuts from the mix. Red bellied woodpeckers fly in a cool staccato flight pattern (a characteristic trait of woodpeckers). I see a lot of these all year round.
Pileated woodpeckers: I thought that this might be a parent teaching a youth to forage. More than likely they are a pair?
Anyway , they had a grand time playing hide and seek around the base of the oak. They would circle the tree upward and then move to another tree. We have 12 oaks in the back yard, so no shortage of play and forage area for the birds. The Pileated, like a number of other birds, seem to pick out another bird’s stash under the bark from time to time (perhaps, they stashed it themselves). With the bright red crest and white hood they become striking, majestic and appear to be somewhat prehistoric.
I had never seen a wood duck perch on such a thin branch. I do know they nest in boxes on trees but found it amusing to see him perch like that. Again, I was standing on the deck when I took this photo! We are very fortunate to have such a great area to attract all these birds and animals. The male wood ducks are incredibly beautiful. Vibrant colors, green , brown, buff. They seem to be very proud of their “clothes”.
He flew away as soon as I snapped the picture. The wood ducks in this area start their lives at small woodland pond in Evergreen park (as far as I can tell). I suppose they really could be from anywhere around here though.
8:00 a.m. seems to be a great time to get good light for photos. I wanted to get the light on the trees and timed it from the previous morning so I could achieve that.
We have had as many as 24 turkeys cruising through our yard at once. They have a pretty broad range and are very prevalent throughout the area. All you need to do is look. This shot was taken in mid-spring and later in the day. I was standing off the deck for this photo (It was exhausting having to walk ten more feet!)
Not sure if they were eating gravel or bugs.
A doe, 2 years old? She was feeding on the violets on the ground and looked up when I made a small peep. We have had many, many deer come through. When the time is right, I can always count on a fawn photo, as well.
This owl was watching my cat very intently. I retouched the eyes as they had “red-eye” that actually looked as though the owl was burning a hole through the cat.
A tree frog. He was hanging out in my “Mother-in-law” plant (yep, on the deck) . He sat there for a “looong” time.
The actual name for this butterfly is Anglewing, but I call them “angel wings”. No better name applies. A stunning butterfly. At the edge of our yard on the fence warming up .
” A Great Blue Heron and a dragonfly – the Story”
We were in a canoe scattering a pal’s ashes in a lake that my pal and I would escape to for many, many life-long adventures. The heron seemed to have an injured leg and was standing thus, when we paddled slowly by. He swiveled his head as we glided past. As I dropped the last few ashes into the water, the dragonfly perched and stayed on my bride’s paddle while I reflected on the ceremony. I attribute the dragonfly’s presence to my friend.
Good Night !
A beautiful , crisp October night. The halo around the moon and the oaks lend a “Sleepy Hollow” effect to this photo. I can almost feel the air on my face as I – yeah, I know – stepped out onto the deck !
I take most of my photos with a Nikon D50 and a Nikon DX 55-200 zoom lens.