Herons and goose butts

It cleared up early this afternoon, after raining all day yesterday and all night last night, so I went for a walk around Buttonwood Park, which never fails to have wondrous things to see and photograph.

First, there was this cormorant:

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Next, this great blue heron:

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Another great blue heron – I’m not sure whether he’s actually swimming here or not:

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But here he was definitely wading:

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Some water lilies and irises:

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Baltimore oriole nests that withstood all the rain:

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More bees in one place than I have ever seen in my life (sorry for the cruddy picture, they were way high above me – thank goodness):

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And some Canada geese with seriously cute babies:

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Hilariously, they would be dunking for goodies to eat and roll right over:

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The parents got spooked at one point (not by me) and actually flew across the pond, leaving their babies, but came back a minute later (whew!)

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For the Birds

This day pretty much blew except for one interlude of peaceful bird-watching and -photographing. It started with my BF coming home, announcing he was “wicked sick,” and then going into the bathroom with my best stainless steel pan to puke in. (I am totally buying a new one. And making him pay for it. Because I am NEVER cooking in that thing again!!) Then I went to the doctor’s, where I had to have blood drawn. I came home and took care of the bunny, since I didn’t want Ulysse touching any of the animals if he had a stomach virus. After that I re-photographed a bunch of jewelry for my Etsy shop, then packed my laundry bag and headed to my mom’s. While the laundry was in, I sat and watched all the activity in the back yard through my mom’s big picture window, and that was blissful. I saw grackles, red-winged blackbirds, robins, cardinals, chickadees, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, a red-tailed hawk in the distance, ducks in the river, and even a mama squirrel (the nipples gave her away). Then my mother came home and put on NESN to check on the Red Sox, only to hear the news of the explosions in Boston. (I think the last time there was a similar disaster, I was also watching birds. I always find it so… jarring to be living this quiet, do-no-harm kind of life, enjoying nature and whatnot, and then to be repeatedly smacked in the head by the reality of the ugly world in which we live.) After that I headed to a friend’s grandmother’s wake and then home. (Interspersed were THREE trips to various stores for things for Ulysse.) Here’s the hoping tomorrow is better – for everybody.

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Sandpiper Central

I’ve been away from this blog so long, I now don’t even know how to navigate WordPress anymore!

The winter months are always lean for photos, between a lot of things being dormant (or wintering elsewhere) and my being a giant baby when it comes to being out in the cold. I have, however, been to a few beaches over the last couple of months, so here are some of the sights I’ve seen:

Loon, Cape Cod

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Ruddy Duck, Westport Point

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Goldeneye, Wareham

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Absolute scads of Sanderlings and Dunlins, Gooseberry Point

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I have a Canon Rebel T3, which does some interesting vignetting (which may be the new 55-250mm lens). I think I like it,though…

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And this is a shorebird I haven’t seen before – a ruddy turnstone. Male, I believe. (Bird experts, please correct me if I’m wrong!) This is his winter plumage; their breeding plumage is striking, although I’d have to follow him up to Alaska to see it.

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BTW, I have a new shop on Etsy with both stock photos and fine art prints. The stock photos are the decent ones I’ve taken over the years, that I’m not necessarily in love with or attached to; the fine art prints are the ones I am most proud of and don’t want to essentially give away. I’m pretty happy with the logo I designed, which I also made a brush in Photoshop for easy watermarking.

September round-up

I haven’t posted for a loooong while… partly because the summer was hot (or maybe I’m just a giant wuss) and I haven’t been out a lot… and partly because, as usual, I’m doing far too much.

Anyhow, here is a round-up of some photos I’ve taken over the last few weekends, just so folks know I’m still shooting! ;)

Nasketucket Bay State Reservation:

Painted ladiesPraying mantisGrass

Praying mantis

At work:

Praying mantis

AC Moore parking lot

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Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

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Painted lady caterpillarBlack saddlebags dragonflyKingfisher

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Scusset Beach

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New Canon

So, I’ve been test-driving my new Canon Rebel T3, which is always risky, because what if I can’t get a once-in-a-lifetime shot for some reason? And I have bumped into some issues, mainly with the focus. The 75-300mm lens I got with the camera doesn’t have image stabilization, which the 18-55mm lens does, which makes ZERO sense. When I zoom in on something far away, I’m finding I can’t get the focus super sharp, like I want. Also, my “old” 75-300mm lens has a macro setting, which I knew I was gonna miss, and I do. Badly. But the color is very rich with the Canon, which I like, and I can spot meter and get the exposure correct, so those are two good things.

Anyhow, here are some images taken with my new camera that I am more or less happy with:

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Butterflies are free

It’s been a while since I posted anything new here – I’ve been working my tail off on my new Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpringAzurePhotos – but I just had to post some of the butterflies I spotted today at Nasketucket Bay State Reservation.

I hadn’t even gotten out of the car when Ulysse spotted a Red-spotted Purple in the parking lot. I’ve only ever seen them in Dartmouth; I’m hoping they get a foothold at Nasketucket.

Red-spotted Purple ButterflyRed-spotted Purple Butterfly

Viceroys are becoming a common sight at Nasketucket, which must mean they’re getting to be well-established there. There is a lot of birch for them to feed on.

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This is the best picture I’ve gotten to date of a Viceroy. I think they must have all just hatched; their colors were beautiful.
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And then there were these guys. I looked them up and believe they are Mourning Cloak butterfly caterpillars.

Mourning Cloak caterpillars

I took one home to raise and see what it becomes. I had to go fetch him some willow leaves at the park, and then set him up in a tank with them. I managed to drop him in the tank, where he just lay in a puddle, and I thought he was a-gonner, but then I managed to get him onto a spoon and really look at him, I realized the poor guy was just trying to molt his skin when I half-drowned him. He seems much better now.

After all that walking, I had to go to A.C. Moore, and damned if I didn’t spot a black swallowtail feeding on some clover right next to the parking lot! By then my feet were killing me, but I had to at least try to get a few shots of him since he was right there. (A strong breeze did not help matters.)

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