I started the day at the White Rock Bath House Cultural Center for Native Plants and Prairies Day. Robert Bunch and Ben Sandifer were giving a talk on the birds found at White Rock. It was a great presentation with outstanding photographs. It was informative and motivational. I definitely need to spend more time at the lake.
From birds to flowers. Even when I’m out photographing flowers I’m looking for birds. I think I’m hooked but that doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon the flowers and butterflies.
So…enjoy the flowers!
I saw two other photographers looking at something so, naturally, I walked over. They had noticed this Bluebird. I was able to get this before it flew away.
The wood ducks are getting very brave. They are getting closer so it is easier to get closer shots, even with a zoom.
The is the hawk’s nest that some people have noticed. Hopefully everything is okay in there.
Wildflower – I think.
Scissor tailed flycatcher – This is such an interesting bird to watch. I need a better camera so that I can capture it flying.
I spent an hour at the lake this evening and was able to see these different birds and flowers. I am beginning to have a better understanding of how the seasons affect the lake and the animals that can be seen. I should probably keep a small notebook in my backpack so that I can keep a few notes and make a timeline that spans a year.
Now that the barred owls and owlets have made it to the wooded area, everyone (photographers) has gone their own way. I saw a couple of them but not in the same place as I did when we were all looking at the owl family. It was really nice to be part of a small community that had nature photography in common. Now that I’m able to spend more time outdoors, I hope to network and build friendships with more photographers.
I decided to spend this morning looking for flowers around White Rock. That, I hoped, would be a peaceful start to the day. After a few minutes, I found a patch of colorful flowers along a road on the south side of the lake. I’m going to have to get better at remembering the different parts of the lake and the different roads along each area.
Looking for flowers was a great way to start the day. Very peaceful! I’m waiting for a patch of flowers that usually grows by Boy Scout Hill and another one by Poppy Lane. I checked at Boy Scout Hill yesterday but didn’t find many flowers yet. I did find birds – scissor-tailed flycatchers. They were quite active. I’ll go back to try to get more photos.
I have continued to join the group watching and photographing the owls. I try to stay away from their (owl parents)tree so that their flying pattern isn’t interrupted.
We had seen one baby owl, then two, and after a few days, the third one popped its head out of the nest.
I have been waiting, with mixed emotions, for the baby owl to appear. The group has grown and I sometimes feel that it’s too big. Were we bothering them? Were we keeping the baby owl from coming out of the nest? I don’t know.
So tonight I left and went to see the ducks. I knew when my phone rang that the baby had appeared. I didn’t rush over but I did eventually find my way back to see the baby. I couldn’t resist. Thank goodness I did. We got to see the mom come and feed the baby. It happened so fast. What an exciting thing to watch! I don’t know if I’ll spend more time watching for the baby. This might have been my last time for this season.
Food for the Baby
In February 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Services indicated that nearly a billion monarchs have vanished since 1990. The use of herbicides and the loss of habitat are the two largest contributing factors in the decline of the monarch. The use of herbicides leads to the loss of habitat, mainly milkweed, the only plant that the larvae eat. Asclepias curassavica (scarlet milkweed, tropical milkweed, bloodflower) is the species of milkweed that promotes the most overall monarch health. My goal is to find some of this milkweed and start a butterfly garden in my yard.
One of the baby owls made an appearance twice this week. The adult owls were hooting back and forth and something told me to keep an eye on the entrance to the nest. Sure enough, there was movement and then a little face staring out at all of us who have been anxiously waiting for some sign of them (hopefully there is more than one). It all happened so fast and as quickly as the little owl appeared, it was gone. We waited to see if it would come out again but it didn’t. The photo below shows just how far it is willing to venture out at this point.
I made it to the lake for about an hour tonight. It was quiet, probably because of the cloudy skies and impending rain. The Wood Ducks were definitely out and about and I noticed the Canada Geese after a few minutes. So, Why did the Canada Geese cross the road? To eat the grass, of course! 🙂
I didn’t get to check on the owls today so maybe tomorrow. We did see one of them taking food into the nest a couple of days ago. That is a good sign, so hopefully we see the babies in about a week.
Bringing Food to the Nest
Entering the Nest
Leaving the Nest
Crossing the Road
I overhead a little boy at the butterfly house say, “It’s snowing butterflies!” He was so excited about all of the butterflies flying around him. There were quite a few more than usual.
Butterflies can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the type. I wonder how long the butterflies live in the butterfly house? Probably closer to a week than to a year. While I do enjoy the butterflies, I feel sad at times because I see some who have obviously been touched during the daily noon release and I know they will never fly. For that week, or maybe longer, they should be able to fly and enjoy the environment created for them. If only people would stop touching the butterflies before their wings dry. Topic for another time: Should we have butterfly houses?
It’s amazing how different the lake can be on different days or even at different times during the same day. While I’m glad that people get out and enjoy the lake, I do appreciate those moments when I’m able to go out there and have it almost all to myself. Today was one of those days. I enjoyed about an hour of quiet time at White Rock. Even the ducks and geese were quiet. It gave me time to listen with my eyes.