a photoblog of God's handiwork.

Archive for April, 2014

Just Because…

I found this cute little Black-capped Chickadee foraging along Orono Lake, near Elk River, MN last week.

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Golden Beginnings – Part 1

Through the assistance of some friends, I have been granted access to a pair of nesting Golden Eagles. Evidently these eagles have nested in the same location for five years, each year starting with two eaglets. Every year one of the eaglets has fallen from the nest prematurely and perished. Last weekend I made my first trip to the nest and discovered that the pair is again starting with two eaglets, which were probably 4-5 days old at that time. So long as I don’t feel like I am disturbing the birds, my intention is to return each weekend to get pictures that document the growth of the youngsters. This post will cover weeks 1 and 2. (Reminder, click on the images to see them in a much larger format!)

The nest is about 40 foot off the ground in a Ponderosa Pine tree, located in the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana.

Eagle's Nest

I try not to approach too closely to the nest unless the parents are gone hunting. If they are present, I shoot from a fairly safe distance away with a long lens, so these images are cropped to a large degree.

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Last week (week 1) only one of the eaglets was very active, and it wasn’t until my third trip to the nest that I discovered that there were in fact two eaglets hatched.

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When I first arrived at the nest today, both of the eaglets were sleeping…

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Then the trouble-maker started to wake up, I will call this one Rowdy for now!

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With nothing else to do, Rowdy decides his dear sibling should be awake, too…

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Rowdy then picks a fight with his nest-mate…

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Evidence that sibling rivalry starts at a very young age! However Rowdy lost this battle, and is laying low in defeat behind the proud victor!

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Check back next week to watch the next episode of the real showing of Survivor!

Sibling rivalry is nothing new, and has been documented among the human race all the way back to Cain and Abel. The potential for sibling rivalry is built into the family dynamic, as the writer of Proverbs understood: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17.


Postcards from Medora

I made a short visit to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park this past week, catching the Bison actively grazing to regain body condition lost over a long, tough winter.

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The evening sunlight nicely illuminated the view from the Scoria Point Overlook.

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A Jay for Today

Among many other photographic subjects, I’ve been pursuing Stellar’s Jays for the past several years in an effort to capture a few nice images. We don’t have them near where I live, so I have sought them in my travels across the west. I find that they like to hang out in the shadows of trees, which makes photographing a dark bird kind of difficult. A couple weeks back, while at Bryce Canyon National Park, I finally had a good opportunity, and even though the bird was in the shade of a Bristlecone Pine, there was ample light to take home some good images.

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Signs of Life

High elevation, desert-like sand dunes; not a place where one generally expects a lot of native inhabitants. Yet, if you look closely and remain attentive, you may notice an abundance of life signs. Such was the case when I visited Coral Pink Sand Dunes near Kanab, Utah last week. The dunes at 6000 ft above sea level are created by wind erosion of the nearby red sandstone cliffs, driven by the funneled wind squeezing through a gap between mountains. The color of the sand is a pinkish-red, due to iron oxide in the sandstone. However I’ve noticed that the perceived color of the dunes can change depending upon the angle and intensity of the sunlight striking the sand. In harsh, direct light, the sand seems to be a rich gold color. Light filtered through clouds, and the low evening sun tend to bring out the unique pink color.

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My stay at the park was too short to find out what critters left behind the signs of their presence, but I think you’ll agree that each had a unique calling card.

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?????

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No idea, but almost looks like a bicycle track at first glance!

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Has a tail…maybe a lizard?

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Hops on all four feet, but no tail (or a very short tail)

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A veritable critter highway – the curvy worm-like trail caught my eye.


Communing with the Hoodoos

Last week I was able to spend a few evening hours wandering around in Bryce Canyon National Park. Snow still lingered in the upper elevations of the park, but the weather was very Spring-like. Despite visiting this park several times in the past, I never ventured down the road toward Fairyland Trail, one of the first and lowest access points. I actually found this one of the best areas to get out and among the rock formations, without having to deal with a lot of people. The sun was rapidly setting, so I was somewhat limited in my exploration, but enjoyed my short time there.

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Whistling Dixie in the Theater

Southern looking panorama of the Amphitheater at the Cedar Breaks National Monument, near Parowan, Utah.  The Dixie National Forest encompasses this region.

Cedar Breaks Amphitheater

To view an interactive panorama of this scene, click this link:  Cedar Breaks Amphitheater – Dermandar. You cursor or mouse will allow you to scroll anywhere within the image, and double-clicking will zoom into the scene.