Red-Eared Slider

On my last kayak trip, it was pretty chilly starting out early in the morning, with temperatures around 40F. After kayaking/photographing for 2-3 hours, the temperature had risen, but still quite chilly. Even so, I found a single Red-eared Slider that found a sunny location to sunbathe. On a typical outing, with temperatures warm, there will be dozens of turtles sunning. But on this day, this was the only brave soul that I saw out of the water! Here are a couple of images I captured from the kayak as I exited the area:

Red-eared Slider sunning in the creek

Slowly gliding through the water, I managed to get a bit closer before he slid off into the water:

Red-eared Slider sunning in the creek

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from the kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/7.1
  • Shutter 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Reptiles and Amphibians | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Prothonotary Warblers

Yesterday’s post featured the Yellow Warbler during my recent kayak outing. Today’s post features the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), also captured during that outing. Both of these species of warblers are abundant and active right now. I also heard a couple of Common Yellowthroats while kayaking, but could not find them in the dense undergrowth where they typically forage.

Here are my favorite Prothonotary Warbler images I captured from the kayak:

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

A short break to preen:

Prothonotary Warbler

Then, time for a little song:

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Love these colorful little birds. They can be extremely active, making photographing them difficult. But they are worth the effort!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from the kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/80 sec. to 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Yellow Warblers

During another kayak outing the other day, I was fortunate to have lots of warblers flitting about the trees, foraging for insects. Today’s post features some of the many Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) that were busy searching for small insects. Here are a few of my favorite Yellow Warbler images that I captured from the kayak:

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Yellow Warbler foraging in the trees above the water

Even while foraging, they would stop periodically to sing out a cheerful melody for me!

Yellow Warbler singing a cheerful melody

In another post, I’ll feature another common warbler I found during my kayak outing, the Prothonotary Warbler.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from the kayak
  • ISO 320 (all images)
  • Aperture f/7.1 to f/8
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. to 1/200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Barney Status Update

I’ve been waiting for some definitive proof, but not quite there yet. However, there are plenty of signs telling me that the Barn Owl pair that I have been monitoring may be in the process of nesting at this time. When I went to the barn a couple of weeks ago to change out the batteries and memory card in my trail cam that is monitoring the nest box, things were looking pretty good. As I rolled the barn door open, an owl flew out of the nest and flew to a loft perch above me. Watching my moves, the owl spread his/her wings and held them at a downward angle, while hissing; this behavior was new to my encounters with the owls, which I’ve been monitoring over the past couple of years. Then, the owl immediately flew up to the top of the barn and exited the barn. I never saw the owl again during my camera maintenance on that morning.

Yesterday morning, I decided I needed to return to the barn and check the batteries, change out the card, and see if any other activity has been occurring. When I arrived, one of the owner’s sons met me and said he had been seeing a lot of owl activity in the barn. As I excitedly rolled the barn door open and entered, an owl flew out of the nest and up to the loft perch. This time, the owl screeched loudly for about ten seconds, then exited the barn, still screeching. I pulled the camera from the post I have it mounted to and began changing out the batteries. As I began this process, the owl re-entered the barn and screeched some more at me, then left again. I quickly changed the batteries and card, put it back on the post and left the barn. As I left, the owl was returning to the barn again, for the third time! With this behavior, I’m betting there are either eggs or little owlets in the nest box. I can’t wait to get over to the barn again to see what is going on!

While I was outside, I managed to capture a few images of the adult owl as it flew around the outside of the barn. Here are my favorites:

Adult Barn Owl in flight

Adult Barn Owl in flight

Adult Barn Owl in flight

Adult Barn Owl in flight

Adult Barn Owl in flight

These adult owls enter and exit the barn through the narrow openings at the top of the barn:

Barn where Barn Owls nest

Until recently, the Barn Owl was considered endangered in Missouri, largely due to loss of barns for nesting. But the owls have been making a comeback, nesting in deer tree stands and even in some nest boxes in trees! Still not a large number of barn owls, but at least they’re making a comeback! Consequently, the Missouri Department of Conservation is now advocating building/installing nest boxes at the edge of woodlines. Guess I will have to build another nest box and place it near my woods! :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/3200 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Wildflower or Weed?

I’m back after a day off … had such a full day on Wednesday that I needed yesterday to catch up and relax! And even then, I managed to get out for a few hours of kayaking a rural waterway near my house; I was fortunate to be able to capture some wonderful images of a couple of species of warblers that are busy on the water … I’ll feature those images soon.

On Wednesday, I arose early and headed out with one of my photography students, with the goal of capturing some images of the Adam and Eve Orchid (aka, Putty Root Orchid). We did manage to find some and I’ll be sharing some images of those soon … after I find some time to go through the many images I captured! While we were in the area, we visited a nearby prairie where I captured the Goat’s beard wildflowers (Tragopogon dubius), which is in the Daisy family. If you’ve ever seen this wildflower when it goes to seed, you’d swear it was an oversized dandelion! And even in bloom, it resembles the dreaded weed in many ways. But still a favorite of mine! Here are a couple of images captured on Wednesday:

Goat's beard wildflower in bloom

Goat's beard wildflower in bloom

The Goat’s beard grows up to about 2-3 feet tall. I’ve read (but not confirmed) that these flowers will close by noon on a sunny day. I love the “rays” that surround the wildflower, giving it a much more elegant look than a regular dandelion. And when it goes to seed, the seedhead is so large and fun to capture using macro techniques (you can really play with depth of field with these seedheads)!

Coming up, more wildflowers from the area!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/3200 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Blog, Fun Friday post, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A “Lifer” Wildflower, a “Spinoff”

Playing off yesterday’s post, “A ‘Lifer’ Prairie Wildflower”, today’s post features a very similar wildflower as yesterday’s phlox. In fact, it likely is the same species, just a slight color deviation, a pinkish cast, rather than white:

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

More prairie wildflowers to follow :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 500 (all images)
  • Aperture f/3.5 to f/11
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A “Lifer” Prairie Wildflower

During my photo outing on Snowball Hill Prairie last week, I captured a new wildflower for me. After researching it, I believe it to be a prairie phlox, but not sure of the species. I thought it might be Phlox paniculata, but my wildflower book shows it blooms from July to October … and we’re a long way from that timeframe! So, if one of my readers knows the proper identification, please let me know.

Whatever it is, it is quite a beauty on the prairie! And especially so, whenever a clump of several plants is found. Here are a few of my favorite images I captured last week (note the early morning dewdrops on many of the flowers … the reason I love to get on the prairie before the sun gets too high in the sky):

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Prairie Phlox wildflower

Coming up, some more wildflowers captured on Snowball Hill Prairie, including a slight variation of the prairie phlox highlighted in this post.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 500 (all images)
  • Aperture f/8 to f/18
  • Shutter 1/100 sec. to 1/1000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A New “Play Place”

McDonald’s has nothing on me … I now have a new “play place” available for prairie wildflower photography! Last summer, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) purchased a natural prairie remnant not too far from my home. As a member of MPF, I attended a tour of this new prairie a few weeks ago and have since returned to photograph the emerging wildflowers.

Snowball Hill Prairie was purchased last summer. After taking an inventory of the prairie wildflowers/grasses there, the MPF conducted a controlled burn on half of the prairie, this past winter. As is usual, this controlled burn has resulted in a fantastic beginning of wildflower season here! There are many wildflowers either blooming, or emerging (for summer blooms) and I will be featuring a few of them in upcoming posts. Today’s post includes a few Spiderwort wildflower images I captured a few days ago at Snowball Hill Prairie:

Spiderwort wildflower

Spiderwort wildflower

Spiderwort wildflower

Spiderwort wildflower

As you can see in the last image, there are also lots of great critters that love this prairie, too!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6 to f/11
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. to 1/1250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Blog, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Yellow-rumped Warblers

Today’s post features another warbler captured during my kayak outing last week, the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata). These little beauties constantly flit about the trees along the water’s edge, seeking insects in the trees. As you can see in the photos, these little warblers are beautifully colored. Here are a few of my favorite images from the kayak outing:

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I’m planning another outing in a few days to capture some more images of the several species of warblers that can now be found.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”, from the kayak
  • ISO 1600 to ISO 3200 (a heavy overcast required high ISO)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all photos)
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Back in the Saddle, Again

Last week, I finally got out in the kayak again. It had been 2 years since my last kayak outing (due to my head surgery and extended recovery last year), so I was anxious to get back on the water. We found lots of warblers around the water. Today’s post features a few of the images of Prothonotary Warblers that I captured:

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

With lots of spring showers, I anticipate getting out many more times before the water level drops below the level needed to kayak!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”, from the kayak
  • ISO 1600 to ISO 3200 (a heavy overcast required high ISO)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all photos)
  • Shutter 1/25 sec. to 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2016, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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