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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring Flower Edition

Spring flowers are open all around today. Yay! A quote from Iris Murdoch: "People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us." Click to enlarge. 










Sunday, April 15, 2018

Northern Shoveler Ducks

Here is a pair of northern shoveler ducks, Anas clypeata. The female is in front and the male behind. Shovelers are famous for their larger-than-duck-average bills, which are flattened on the ends, like shovels. The bill shape and their habit of using them to "shovel" food from the water gives the birds their common name. 
You often see them as in this picture, with their bills barely submerged. They sweep their heads from side to side to filter food from the water, finding algae and plant material, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and more. Click to enlarge. 
Shoveling. Makes it look easy, doesn't he?
Shovelers also sometimes up-end like this in a move called dabbling.  It distinguishes them and the rest of the surface feeding or dabbling ducks from ducks that dive underwater to feed. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

New Neighbors

One gray squirrel in the maple tree hole. Click to enlarge.
Wait ... there's two!
Make that three! Cuteness overload!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Still Cold

I have a new set of extension tubes to use with my macro lens. I've been practicing with them inside. Today was going to be the day I'd take them out and shoot stunning photos of insect faces. But thanks to the persistent cold, I have flowers in the snow instead. Click to enlarge. This has to end eventually, doesn't it? Insect faces hopefully coming soon. 


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Finding Spring

It's cold outside. There are still piles of snow out there. There's more snow predicted for Tuesday, the first day of spring. But walking around the neighborhood today I found abundant signs that it has already begun to unfold. Here are some. Click to enlarge.



And once again, it is time for my favorite lines from my favorite spring poem. 
"Hounds of Spring" from Atalanta in Calydon by Algernon Charles Swinburne. 

For winter''s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins; 
The days dividing lover and lover, 
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remember'd is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, 
And in green underwood and cover, 
Blossom by blossom the spring begins. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another Snow Storm Coming?

Last week. And maybe again tomorrow. Click to enlarge.
But winter won't last much longer. Helleborus and snowdrops are blossoming and spring officially arrives in just 9 days. 
Here's an apt bit of poetry by Robert Seymour Bridges:

While yet we wait for Spring 

While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry
And blackening east that so embitters March,
Well-housed must watch grey fields and meadows parch,
And driven dust and withering snowflake fly;
Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky
The sun is warm and beckons to the larch,
And where the covert hazels interarch
Their tassell'd twigs, fair beds of primrose lie.
Beneath the crisp and wintry carpet hid
A million buds but stay their blossoming;
And trustful birds have built their nests amid
The shuddering boughs, and only wait to sing
Till one soft shower from the south shall bid,
And hither tempt the pilgrim steps of spring.