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Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Technically speaking, “great” is not a part of the name of the Green Heron (Butorides virescens), but I would argue that this diminutive bundle of personality is just as deserving of the honor as the more common Great Blue Heron.

I was thrilled to see my first Green Heron in quite some time on Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The little heron was perched on some vegetation growing out of the marshy, duckweed-covered water as it took a break from fishing to do a bit of preening. While the heron was grooming itself, it often had its head tucked out of view, so I had to wait for quite some time to capture this pose, a pose that highlights the beautiful colors and patterns of this great Green Heron

Green Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Six years ago today my photography mentor Cindy Dyer sat me down and told me that I was going to start a blog. She showed me the basics of WordPress editing and navigation and helped me set up my initial pages. I don’t think that either of us anticipated the degree to which I would grow to love the process of blogging, a process that has allowed me to express myself creatively in both words and images

WordPress data show that I have published 2768 posts and have had approximately 170800 views. Those posts have included 429649 words (about 155 words per posting) and well over 3000 photos.

The importance of my blog, though, cannot be expressed merely in numbers. More significantly the blog has helped me to develop relationships with a lot of different viewers, to share with you the different steps on my meandering journey into photography. Thanks to all of you for helping me along the way and sharing your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. I especially owe a debt of gratitude to Cindy Dyer for motivating me throughout this entire period, for pushing me at times when I was hesitant, and for serving as my museThanks, Cindy.

To celebrate this anniversary, I thought I would reprise a few of my favorite photos. These are not necessarily my most popular images or my “best” images, but they are ones that are particularly memorable to me. I am also including links to the original postings so you can read the accompanying text and additional commentary about the circumstances under which they were captured.

Links to original postings: Visible Song (8 March 2016); Fox on a frozen pond (31 January 2016); and Rescue of an injured Bald Eagle (4 November 2014).

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement over these past six years. The journey continues onward.

Visible song

fox on frozen pond

eagle resuce

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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As I was exploring Riverbend Park yesterday, I looked out into the Potomac River and spotted a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) standing on a small, rocky island in the middle of the river. Although I see Great Blue Herons pretty regularly, I invariably stop to observe them. This heron seemed to be particularly cheerful and appeared to have a smile of its face or maybe it was singing to greet the new day.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Even from a distance it is easy to see that the eaglets in one of nests at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge are no longer babies. When I saw them this past weekend, one of them was still hanging around in the nest, but the other had ventured out to a higher limb. I am posting an image of each of the two eaglets as well as a shot that shows their relative positions. As you can see, there are now a lot of leaves on the trees and I suspect that most folks walking by on the trail are not even aware of the presence of the nest.

The little eagles are still mostly brown in color—it will take almost five years for them to acquire the white feathers on their heads and on their tails that we associate with adult Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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We have been having so much rain this month that I have taken to carrying an umbrella with me much of the time, including when I am going out with my camera. It’s a challenge to take photos in the rain, because of the juggling required to hold a camera steady while holding an umbrella and also because there are fewer subjects to photograph—most creatures have the common sense to seek shelter when it is raining.

Here are a few photos from a walk I took this past Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. They are a different style than most of the photos that I post on this blog, but I really like the way they turned out.

In the first image an Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina) had a different way for handling the rain than the umbrella I was carrying—it simply pulled its legs and head inside of its shell. In the second image a Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) decided to brave the rain to get a breath of fresh air while perched atop a nesting box. The final photo shows a hummingbird view of a trumpet vine flower, one of its favorites. Alas, no hummingbirds were flying in the rain.

Eastern Box Turtle

Tree Swallow

trumpet vine

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you think about your photographic subjects one at a time? That’s the way that I tend to operate. One of my blogging friends, though, likes to organize photos of others around themes that transcend the boundaries of individual species. In this posting, Liz of Exploring Colour focused on the theme of Predators and Prey with photos that capture this reality of nature without becoming gruesome. Be sure to check out her other wonderful postings too that include her own photos as well of those of some other awesome photographers.

Exploring Colour

The reality of the natural world is that some creatures eat other creatures to survive. Nature photographers spend a lot of time outside and sometimes capture dramatic moments in the struggle for survival. Their photos and stories may shock us but we can learn so much from these encounters – animals seem capable of much more planning, strategy and applied knowledge than what most of us humans ever give them credit for.


** Click on any photo to view large-size version **

Note: Each photographer’s website/blog is listed at the bottom of this blog-post.


snake2_fish_blog

Mike Powell | Snake catches catfish | 20 July, 2017

  • Story plus 5 Photos showing the snake in various positions holding his catch, all the time in the water, until all of a sudden the snake somehow ingests the large fish and the last photo shows the snake with only the fish tail sticking out of…

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The eaglets in one of the two nests that I have been monitoring at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge appear to be almost full grown, but both of the parents were still keeping a watchful eye on them this past Saturday.

On this day I was shooting with my Canon SX50 superzoom camera and was able to zoom out and give you a sense of the relative position of the nest and the branches on which the adult Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) were perched. I have featured this perch, which appears to be a favorite spot for these eagles, several times in this blog, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first time to show you the nest itself.

As you can see, the leaves have returned to the trees and it is getting harder and harder to get unobstructed shots of the eagle nest. I was hoping to get a shot of both of the eaglets, but the second one remained elusive and was hidden from view the entire time that I observed the eagles.

It would also have been nice to shoot from an angle in which the lighting was better, but essentially there was only a single location from which I had a clear visual path to the nest. I did change position for the shot of the two adults—the lighting was somewhat better, though I was still shooting through a tangle of branches. Sometimes you just have to take what you get and make the best of it.

Bald Eagle eaglet

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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