Moby peck

The big raucous pileated woodpeckers in our corner of the Ouachita Mountains have been the Moby Dick to my Ahab-ic photographic ambitions. For years, I’ve tried to capture a decent photo, but they’ve proven elusive, skittish and pretty good at hiding for something so large and loudly colored. But finally, FINALLY, one very vocal female lit in a tree this morning, not far from our living room window. And there she is.
8-7-2016-Pileated-Woodpecker-Web.jpg

Hatchlings

There’s a trio of waist-high holly bushes on the property that never seem to fill out; never seem to outgrow the term “misshapen.” Over the years we began to realize that all the pruning in the world wouldn’t help them achieve any sort of suburban landscape symmetry. Why? Because the deer do all the trimming, browsing tender leaves and leaving discards all over the front porch.  Earlier this month, we found the hollies supported another life — a tiny cup of tightly woven pine needles bearing three marble sized-eggs. Last night, we discovered the eggs had given way to tiny birds. Blind and almost featherless with their oversized yellow beaks straining upward for motherly fare.

Baby birds in nest.
Cupful of babies — Tiny birds wait on mom to bring some breakfast. Taken June 14, 2015.
Three eggs in a nest.
Three eggs carrying precious life — taken June 6, 2015.

Mother Goose

Goose and pair of goslings on a family outing in the rain in Goshen, Arkansas. There were two families of geese with goslings close in age. The group seemed to move together always in the two days we saw them.

Goose and two goslings.
Goose and goslings on a family outing in Goshen, Arkansas.
Two goose families
Two families of Canada geese stick together in a subdivision pond in Goshen, Arkansas.

Birdland

Been a while since we posted. We had a couple rounds of heavy winter weather and being trapped away from home for days at a time. Nice to be back home. Between bouts of wintry mix, the birds came out and did what birds do.

Weekly photo challenge: Serenity

Finding serenity any time is a challenge, and this week it IS the challenge.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to capture the latest comet Lovejoy in pixels. Tonight’s effort was flustered by clouds, but one shot — a test shot setting up — seemed to hit all the right notes.  The soft light in the cloud,  the familiar pinpoints of starlight and the warm glow coming from the house next door all seemed to be a little bit of serenity.

1-19 NightSkyTrees

Other bits of serenity from this week’s challenge:

Things you didn’t know you had

The downtime between Christmas and New Year provides temporal space to start cleaning those things that may not merit daily attention, but languish in that to-do list priority category just above “limbo” or “someday.” Today it was a handful of glassware reserved for celebratory use and a compact flash card that somehow found a hiding place in the LowePro backpack.  Among the findings from the latter:

July 12, 2014, supermoon
Supermoon framed by pine trees. Taken July 12, 2014.
Indigo bunting in tree.
Indigo bunting preening. Taken July 13, 2014.
Upside down butterfly.
Butterfly hanging on the underside of an azalea branch outside the office window.

 

 

Fox on the run

The wooded area behind our office building has a surprising amount of wildlife. Raccoons, tortoises and red-tailed hawks are common. A few years ago a rather thin coyote came trotting through and some months ago, state game officials identified a bit of roadkill on US 67 Business as a bobcat.

A few weeks back, what at first appeared to be a bushy-tailed feral cat emerging from the trees turned out to be a fox. By the time I grabbed the camera, sprinted down the hall and out into the parking lot he was beyond the range of my lens. The fox was probably keen on the sweet fruit that has been falling from the persimmon tree all autumn.

Fox near a parking lot.
FOXY — Fox, spotted, heads back to the safety of the greenbelt.