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Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

As I was looking over some images from about a month ago, I realized that I had not posted any views of this North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) that I spotted swimming off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge one early morning. At that hour we both were moving pretty slowly—one of us on land and the other in the water.

As the beaver altered its course , the light falling on its face and body changed, occasionally catching a bit of sunlight from the just-risen sun. I love the way that the water was tinged with light blue and pink and how the mostly still water picked up the reflections of the swimming beaver.

North American Beaver

North American Beaver

North American Beaver

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I grew up in the suburbs, so even domesticated farmyard animals seem exotic to me, like this bantam rooster and Red Angus cow with her calf that I encountered last weekend in Montpelier, Virginia while I was out of town for a wedding.

I am also including an image of an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) that I also captured on the farm—I like the way that the color of the rusted barbs matches that of the robin’s breast and how their shape mirrors that of the robin’s clawed feet.

 bantam rooster
Red Angus cow
American Robin
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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All wild creatures seem especially beautiful in the early morning light, like this cute little muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) that I spotted last week in one of the small ponds at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Muskrat

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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 When I spotted a dark shape in the distance yesterday morning at the edge of a trail alongside the water at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I had no idea what it was—then it started to move. These images suggest to me that it was a North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis), the first time I have seen one at this location and the first time that I have seen one in the wild on land rather than in the water.
North American River Otter
North American River Otter
As my mind was busy processing what my eyes were seeing, the otter scurried into the brush and then into the water, where it was joined by a second otter. When I watched the otters swimming away, I was facing almost directly into the sun, so all I was able to capture was this “artsy” silhouette of one of them. I really like the way that the backlighting shows off the otter’s whiskers as it turned its head around and watched as the other otter caught up.
North American River Otter
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I know that rabbits don’t go south for the winter, but they seemed to disappear in late autumn and I did not see a single one during the winter months. Suddenly this past week, they started reappearing on the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Yesterday I spotted this cute little Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) as it gathered up stalks of grass. Initially the rabbit grazed a bit before it started to accumulate a mouthful of the long, dry stalks of grass—perhaps there are little ones that need to be fed.

Eastern Cottontail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I spotted this White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) this past Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge as it carefully made its way across one of the small streams that crisscross the refuge.

This deer was lagging behind a small group of four deer that I initially spotted. That group pretty quickly and I was not really ready for them, so my photos were not that good. I was quite happy when this final deer appeared and I was able to get some shots. I couldn’t tell for sure how stable the footing was where the deer was crossing, but the deer did appear to be very careful as it chose places to place its feet.

deer crossing

deer crossing

deer crossing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What was the first thing that you saw when you opened your eyes on Christmas Day? For me, it was the beautiful brown eyes of Freckles, the little Cocker Spaniel that is staying with me over the Christmas weekend while her owners are visiting family. Freckles lived in my house for over a year in the past, so she is totally comfortable with me and with my rabbit.

Freckles is amazingly photogenic—here are some shots of her from the last few days that highlight her soulful eyes.

Freckles

Freckles

Freckles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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