I spotted this little guy between rows in a flower garden. It let me take several shots, like it didn’t care that I was there, and then, all of the sudden, it scurried off to cover.
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We’ve been watching a pair of ground squirrels scurrying around our yard since last fall. I suspected they might be up to something.
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I’m not a ophiologist, but I believe this is a Western Fox Snake – also commonly called a Pine Snake. This formidable looking serpent, measuring a bit longer than 4 feet, was spotted gliding across our lawn. My camera’s fast shutter speed stopped that quickly flicking tongue. My apologies to those who are creeped out by snakes.
Here’s a bit of info about this type of snake from a Wisconsin DNR publication…
Family: Colubridae Size: 36-56 in. Status: Common
The fox snake has many large reddish-brown, chocolate brown, or black mid-dorsal blotches along its back and other smaller blotches on its sides on a background color of yellow, tan or olive gray. The head of adults is usually a dark copper, rust or orange color. They live in a variety of open habitats including marshes, sedge meadows, prairies and old fields. Their diet consists primarily of rodents and ground-nesting birds. Young fox snakes will occasionally eat amphibians. This species is the most frequently encountered snake in people’s homes, especially if the house has an old rock foundation where the snake(s) may be hunting for food or hibernating in the basement. The fox snake is often mistaken for the venomous copperhead snake due to its head color, and subsequently is often killed. Copperheads do not live in or near Wisconsin. Fox snakes are also often mistaken for rattlesnakes, as they often ‘rattle” their tails in dry leaves, grasses or against objects when disturbed.
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Two Sandhill Cranes are up to the necks in wheat. This wheat field is in southern Door County, Wisconsin.
Sandhill cranes have always presented a challenge for me. They seem to be very shy and quick to take off when I try to get close. These two required a creative, persistent approach. Here’s how it happened.
Sara, my wife, and I were on a weekend getaway in Door County. We were heading to Peninsula State Park for a day of hiking through the woods. On the way Sara spotted these guys in a wheat field that we passed. We decided to go back an try to get a shot. I pulled over and we switched positions, so Sara was driving and I was free to take the photos. The plan was to approach the field at a relatively slow speed…but not too slow, so the birds wouldn’t get spooked. I would try to focus in and snap a few frames before they caught on and disappeared.
The first pass was a resounding failure. The movement made it hard to find and focus on the birds with my zoom lens and my exposure settings were way off. We turned around and tried it again. This time I had the right exposure but the birds sensed something was up and were on the move. Their heads were bobbing up and down in the field, always in a different spot than the last. Sara remarked, it reminded her of a Whack-A-Mole game.
We approached slower and even stopped as the birds headed for the brush at the edge of the field. Before they really took off, I got a couple of decent shots. There were actually 4 or 5 of them in the field, but with their concealed movement and head bobbing, I was never able to catch more than three in any shot. This is the one I liked best.
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I call this guy, Sneaky Snake. I stumbled upon him on a walk through the woods of northwest Missouri.
On vacation I got to spend some time in the woods with my camera. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I’m alone in the woods I like to walk slowly, stopping often to look around me, taking my time to spot anything of interest. It was at such a stop on a path that I noticed this snake in the grass. I really don’t know how I spotted it, it was so well hidden.
This was an unusual find for me because the snake wasn’t on the ground. It had coiled itself up on some of the stalks of grass, resting in its own stand, about a foot of the ground.
It sat motionless as I tried to move my camera into a position that would allow me to get a shot through the grass. After snapping a few frames, I decided to try and move some of the grass that was obstructing my view since the snake was holding steady, with only the a slightest movement of it’s head. Using a stick, I tried to part some of the grass nearest me. The moment a blade of grass moved the stake dropped to the ground and was gone. It was freaky fast. No way to follow it through the tall grass.
I have no idea what kind of snake it was. I’m guessing its overall length was about three feet.
This image is much more impressive in the large size. Click on the photo to see the bigger version.
It’s great to be able to get the kids outdoors for a little exercise. This family of Canada geese are making their way to the other side of the pond.
The “cute factor” makes this scene a winner. Beyond that, I was very pleased with the vivid green reflection on the water, created by the trees lining the shore. I’ll have to add this to my “favorites” category.
I captured this image on a recent visit to the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve, located along the west shore of the Bay of Green Bay.
To view as larger version of these cuties, click on the photo.
The early morning light bathed the scene in warm, gold tones. The way the water was reflecting that warm tone is what caught my eye here. The lone Canada Goose just added a point of interest.
This really isn’t a pond setting. It was taken at the beach in Algoma, WI, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. I was sitting in my van, parked on the road, using a telephoto lens.
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This duck wasn’t content to be photographed in a normal duck squat. She wanted to show off one of her more stylish features.
This wasn’t a momentary stretch. I have several frames of her posing like this. She wasn’t warming herself in the sun either, because the skies were overcast. She is standing on the edge of a small waterfall at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, WI.
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A ground squirrel finds a rare treat and makes quick work of the cheese popcorn dropped by a passerby.
This was taken at the the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If you’re into these little critters, there are an abundance of them along the pathways.
To view a larger image of this little guy, click on the photo.
This white crowned sparrow was an unexpected surprise.
While taking photos of a sunrise at the marina in Algoma, Wisconsin, I noticed some movement on the ground. Each time I would change position, this little bird would flit along the ground…but never far.
Eventually, I turned the camera his way. He seemed cooperative, allowing me to move within 10 feet for shots like this.