April 2012 – Wildflower madness

I’ve been out repeatedly with the Plant Field Biology class.  We’re all photographing wildflowers as much as we can.  They are required to complete a “virtual collection,” while I’m doing it just for fun and to work on my technique.  Fortunately, I have a new lens that’s perfect for this type of photography, a 24-105 mm Canon.  It’s the first “L” lens I’ve bought, and the highest rated one in my kit.  I tested it out on some of our daffodils first, and also practiced some dog photography.  I’ve gotten more action shots of our puppies.  It’s pretty good for the invertebrates and insects I’ve run across as well.  I’ve identified a few new (to me) fungi on our hikes.

From March 2012

I have more interest in landscapes these days, apparently.  I’ve captured a few sunrises and sunsets.  For a long time I’ve wanted to get a good shot of a field covered in Henbit.  This little weed springs up suddenly and can cover a large area in purple.  I finally found a field with a background interesting enough to shoot–a group of farm buildings, silos, and even a windmill.

From March 2012

From March 2012

On one short jaunt to the creek next to my campus, we were surprised by a small orange animal that flew out of the leaf litter and landed it a shrub.  It didn’t look like any bird I knew, and closer inspection showed that it was an Eastern Red Bat, and likely a female.  Everyone took photos, and the darling mammal just hung there on the bush the entire time. 

From March 2012

To my delight, the small trees and shrubs I planted in the back yard years ago are beginning to mature.  I just found that our Paw Paw tree is in bloom.  Downward-hanging brown flowers arise along the branches, even before the leaves are out. 

From March 2012

I’ve been out fishing to Lowell’s a couple of times.  The bass have been biting, and Lowell picked up a few crappie as well.  Stacey and I went kayaking at Wakonda State Park one fine Sunday.  I fished, but got no bites.  We finished that off with a barbecue lunch with the LaCounts, who happened to be camping nearby.  Yum!

From March 2012

I recently joined Twitter, and have been tweeting almost daily the new species (usually with photos) I’ve been seeing with the advancing season.  Right now I only have about 5 followers, so if you are on Twitter please follow me @showmejoe1.  I was also recently forced to join Google+.  I don’t have big plans for it, but feel free to friend me there.

One day while driving to work I spotted two turkey vultures fighting by the side of the road.  It took awhile to figure out that they were not mating or fighting over food.

From March 2012

The left hand bird is holding the head of the other in its foot and biting its neck.

From April 2012

Dog-tooth violet.  I love this one.

One day Lowell and I were out looking for a place to eat lunch when we spotted a fox in a field.  Two quick U-turns and I got a distant shot of the thing.  Seeing foxes is rare, photographing them even more so.

From April 2012

Red fox.

From April 2012

I love predation, even at the small scale of things.  Jumping spider eats Eastern Tent Caterpillar.

From April 2012

Dutchman’s Breeches.

From April 2012

Nice skink out at Lowell’s.

Stacey, Savannah and I spent a lovely Easter break out in Indiana visiting the Nicholas side of the family.  We stayed with Jarrod and Becky, who graciously allowed us to bring our dogs.  They really enjoyed running in the fenced back yard.  They had a mockingbird that would sing early in the morning and periodically visit their suet feeder.

From April 2012

Mocker

My class had a great day out at Siloam Springs State Park, where they picked up many new species of wildflowers.  They were in a spot very close to the parking lot, but I had never been to that area.  In fact, I had had terrible luck in the past, and often skipped the Park entirely.  One of the students actually led us to this site.

From April 2012

Columbine

As usual, click on the link under each image to go to the web album, where many more fascinating images lie.

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