Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Portraits’ Category

This Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) definitely did not seem to be thrilled with my presence last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Despite its looks of disapproval, though, it remained in place for our little portrait session and was still perched when I continued down the trail.

You never know how wildlife will react when they detect your presence. Most often they will crawl, swim, or fly away immediately, because they perceive you as a predator. Occasionally, particularly when they are young, they will look back at you with a mixture of wonder and may even come a little closer. On rare occasions, you seem to come to a silent agreement with your subject to peacefully coexist.

Generally I photograph wildlife subjects from a good distance away (with the notable exception of insects that I like to photograph at close range) and try not to spook them. Sometimes, though, you just can’t help it. This eagle was perched on some branches overhanging the trail that I had to use to get back to where my car was parked—I had to pass right under the perched eagle.

I tried to move slowly and stealthily, but I knew from past experience that an eagle’s eyesight is much keener than mine and its reaction time much quicker—there was no way I was going to pass by unnoticed. As you can undoubtedly tell, I took these shots shooting upwards from almost directly below the eagle. I made small adjustments to my position as I tried to frame the eagle through the branches, but I did not want to scare away the eagle.

As I departed, I was really happy with the encounter and the fact that the eagle was able to retain its chosen spot. The eagle, for its part, was probably equally happy to return to basking in the warmth of the winter sun after being momentarily disturbed by a pesky photographer.

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Last Wednesday was a wonderful day for photographing Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I spotted them at several locations on the refuge and even managed to get a few portrait-style shots in which the eagles look particularly regal and majestic.

Earlier in the day the sun was shining brightly and I had the brilliant blue sky as a backdrop, as you see in the second photo below. However, that eagle was buried a bit in the vegetation and the background is a little more cluttered than I would have preferred. Still, I like the expression on the eagle’s face, the kind of semi-smile that some people make when you ask them to pose.

Later in the day the skies clouded over and the color of the background was much more subdued. Somehow, that seems to fit well with the serious expression on the face of the eagle in the first image. I like too that he was perched on a “snag,” a dead or dying tree that is still standing, so there were no distracting small tree branches.

I am always happy when I manage to see a Bald Eagle, one of the symbols of the United States, and even more thrilled when I can capture images like this one.

bald eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Does a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) have a neck? Many birds look round in the winter, when they fluff up their feathers to retain heat, but that effect is exaggerated with Ruby-crowned Kinglets, because they have really large heads and no visible necks.

All in all the proportions seem all out of whack, giving the bird a cartoonish look. (Speaking of “whack,” I saw a wonderful cartoon recently. It showed an elevator with a sign that said “Out of Whack” with a subheading that added “More whack on order.” Sorry, I should have warned you that I have a warped sense of humor.)

I spotted this tiny little Ruby-crowned Kinglet on Monday as I was exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There is still a lot of snow in the untrodden, shaded areas of the refuge and there was a thin coating of ice on some of the ponds. Many birds were active, foraging feverishly in the trees and in the brush. This kinglet was full of nervous energy, constantly in motion, flicking its wings as it darted in and out of the vegetation.

Although the species name includes a ruby crown, that crown is almost always hidden. In the second photo, you can just barely see a little red stripe on the top of the bird’s head. Apparently when an adult male is excited, he flashes his brilliant red crown, but I don’t recall ever having seen anything that dramatic.

Given the modest size of the bird’s “crown” it is no wonder that he is known as a “kinglet”—if he had a more impressive crown, perhaps he would have been called a “king.”

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Did you know that woodpeckers have tongues? They use their long sticky tongues to probe the holes they peck for grubs or other small insects. Last Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I observed a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) pecking away feverishly and was delighted when reviewing my photos to see that I had gotten some shots of its tongue at work. You can see the tongue clearly in the first photo below, though you may need to zoom in to do so.

As I was doing a little research, I came across a fascinating article by Rebecca Heisman on the American Bird Conservancy website entitled “The Amazing Secrets of Woodpecker Tongues.” The article explained the anatomy and function of a woodpecker’s tongue in a way that was both understandable and fun. For example, when talking about the length of a woodpecker’s tongue, it stated:

“The total length of a woodpecker tongue can be up to a third of the bird’s total body length, although the exact proportions vary from species to species. This includes both the part that sticks out past the end of the beak, and the part that stays anchored in the head. If our tongues were the same proportion, they would be around two feet long!”

So where does the tongue go when it is not in use? The tongue is retracted behind the skull and helps to protect the woodpecker’s brain when it is hammering away at a tree. Wow!

There are so many cool things to learn about nature—I often feel like I am only beginning to scratch the surface of a whole range of secrets that are waiting to be revealed to me as I explore more and more.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I always admire the agility and balancing skills of tiny birds—I know that I could not hold a position like that of this sparrow that I spotted last week at Huntley Meadows Park. I think that it is a Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia), but I am always a bit uncertain when it comes to sparrows.

As for balance, I know that I can always use more of that in my life. When I was still working full-time, all my employers gave lip service to the importance of “work-life balance.” The sad reality was that most of us were workaholics devoting way too much energy to our work and neglecting our lives. It was only when I cut back on my hours during the final decade of my work life that I began to discover some of that mythical sense of balance.

Part of that process has been a deliberate cultivation of my creative side, which I have neglected most of my life. My photography and this blog have played a critical role in that journey of discovery and rediscovery. I really appreciate all of the support and encouragement that so many of you have provided over the years and continue to provide as my journey continues. Thanks.

Song Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I often see Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) soaring high overhead when I am exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I have always been amazed at the way that they effortlessly glide for long periods of time without having to flap their wings. I never really appreciated, though, how massive a wingspan Turkey Vultures have, because the the previous times I had seen a vulture at close range, they have generally been perched with their wings tucked in.

On Thursday, I managed to flush several Turkey Vultures that had been pecking away at something at water’s edge. They flew up into some nearby trees and began to preen themselves as they patiently waited for me to pass. I was quite surprised when one of them spread its wings wide open and then glanced back at me over its shoulder. The wing display was impressive.

I also took advantage of the situation to capture a portrait shot of one of the other vultures that was perched on a broken off tree. I not sure that I would call this bird “beautiful” in a traditional sense, but I do like the way that I was able to capture a bit of its personality in this shot—there is even a hint of a smile.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Most woodpeckers have simple patterns of black and white feathers and sometimes a touch of red. Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus), on the other hand, have a beautiful brown plumage that is richly patterned with black spots, bars, and crescents and also have brightly-colored wing and tail feathers that, alas, are often hidden from view when they are perched—I like to think of flickers as the “rock stars” of the woodpecker world.

I was fascinated to read on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website that there are two variants of Northern Flickers, an Eastern one and a Western one. “The key difference is the color of the flight-feather shafts, which are either a lemon yellow or a rosy red. Yellow-shafted forms have tan faces and gray crowns, and a red crescent on the nape. Males have a black mustache stripe. Red-shafted forms have a gray face, brown crown, and no nape crescent, with males showing a red mustache stripe.”

The flicker’s flight-feathers are not visible in the photo below, but you can see the male’s black mustache stripe, indicating that he is an Eastern variant. I highly recommend clicking on the image to get a closer view of the fascinating patterns in the plumage of this beautiful bird that I spotted on Wednesday at Huntley Meadows Park.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Chickadees are masters at staying hidden. These little birds seem to enjoy hanging out in the shadowy branches, where their lack of bright colors makes them hard to spot. It is amazing how often we tend to focus on colors to make something “pop” out of a scene.

I spotted this Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when it perched momentarily on an open branch. I really like the way the image turned out—a pleasant little portrait with a simple composition and limited color palette. 

Carolina Chickadee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday I went to a tree farm in Eatonville, Washington with my son Josh and his wife Lexy to cut a fresh Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun as we surveyed a large number of trees, looking for the perfect one, which turned out to be a chubby Nordmann fir tree. With a bowsaw in hand, Josh felled the tree and we loaded it into his pickup truck.

We set up the tree and decorated it later in the evening as we listened to Christmas music. In the Episcopal church that I attend, we are just beginning the Advent season and won’t be singing Christmas songs for a while. For me, though, it certainly is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Christmas tree farm

tree cutting

tree cutting

tree cutting

tree trimming

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It is a fun challenge to try to photograph tiny songbirds, like this Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) that I spotted last Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Golden-crowned Kinglets are approximately 3-4 inches (80-100 mm) in length and weigh about 0.1-0.3 ounces (4 to 8 grams) and they move about continuously, often high in the trees.

If you look carefully just above the kinglet’s eye, you can get a tiny glimpse of yellow, a small portion of the yellow “crown” that gives this little bird its name.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

I was so close to this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge that there was no way I could fit its entire body into a shot. I decided to zoom in on its head and captured this little portrait of the heron as it walked slowly through the water. Ever vigilant, the heron kept its eyes focused on the water, looking for signs of potential prey, and ignored me, though I am sure that it was aware of my presence.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

When I first spotted this stunning hawk last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I was really struck by the length of its tail. I suspected therefore that it was not a Red-shouldered Hawk, the most common hawk species in our area, but the colors did not quite match up with my mental picture of a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), the second species that came to mind. I scoured my hard-copy and on-line resources for information and similar shots and gradually came to the conclusion that it might be an immature Cooper’s Hawk.

I posted my photo and tentative identification to the Birding Virginia group in Facebook and was a little shocked to receive confirmation of the identification from multiple viewers. One response was particular helpful, because it helped me to focus on the reasons why they concluded that it was an immature Cooper’s Hawk—I love comments in which a person is willing to take the time to explain their reasoning. The viewer explained, “Long tail, short wings, outer tail feathers are shorter than the inner tail feathers, flat, squared head with a strong suborbital ridge. Yellow eye instead of red/orange, and brown feathers instead of gray feathers indicate that it is not an adult.”

I feel like I am always learning, gaining additional knowledge and honing my observational skills. Feedback really helps in that process and I always welcome questions, comments and suggestions from all of you.

 

Cooper's Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Increasingly I find myself peering into trees as we move deeper into autumn, listening and watching for signs of small birds that may be hidden therein. The process can be somewhat maddening and often results in a sore neck, but my patience is sometimes rewarded and I manage to get a clear shot of one of the birds. Getting the shot, though, is only half of the challenge—identifying the bird can be equally frustrating.

Sparrow species can be particularly problematic, because so many of them are so similar in appearance. Last Thursday I photographed this sparrow at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. As is generally the case, I did not worry about trying to identify the bird while I was in the field, but waited to do so at home. I went back and forth in my birding guide and concluded that it was probably a Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia).

I have learned not to be overconfident in my bird identifications, though, and posted it to a Facebook birding forum. I felt gratified when a more experience birder confirmed my identification. It takes time, but I feel like I am gradually getting better at seeing the details that distinguish one species from another.

In many ways, my photography journey is focused on learning to see the world in new and different ways. As noted photographer Dorothea Lang so aptly put it, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

 

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

“Not all who wander are lost.” Have you ever seen that slogan? It is so popular with van dwellers and RVers that it is almost a cliché, yet there is a real truth to that simple statement.

In fact, “wandering” is often my preferred method for encountering wildlife subjects to photograph. I like to wander along the trails (or sometimes off of the trail) and opportunistically scan my surroundings, watching and waiting for something to catch my eye.

I guess that is one of the reasons why I love the name of the Wandering Glider dragonfly (Pantala flavescens), a globetrotting species that is considered to be the most widespread dragonfly in the world, with a good population on every continent except Antarctica. According to Wikipedia, Wandering Gliders, also known as “Globe Skimmers,” make an annual multigenerational journey of some about 11,200 miles(18,000 km); to complete the migration, individual dragonflies fly more than 3,730 miles (6,000 km)—one of the farthest known migrations of all insect species.

This past Thursday, I was delighted to spot Wandering Gliders on multiple occasions as I was wandering about in Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I was even more thrilled when several of them perched for me and I was able to capture these images. The shots give you a good look at the beautiful markings of this dragonfly species and the broad hindwings that help these dragonflies to glide long distances.

Wandering Glider

Wandering Glider

Wandering Glider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I was absolutely thrilled to spot this bright yellow warbler on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Some more experienced birders in a birding forum on Facebook have identified it as a Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina). When it comes to identifying warblers, I tend to be wrong as often as I am right. I have learned that it is best to ask for help rather than apologize afterwards for my errors.

I was pretty certain that I had never seen this species before, but decided to do a search of the blog to be sure. I was shocked to find that I spotted a Cape May Warbler last year at the start of October—check out that posting entitled Cape May Warbler. I relied on the help of experts last year too and somehow never internalized the identification into my brain. Alternatively, I can simply blame the aging process for this minor “senior moment.”

Cape May Warbler

 

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I am helping this weekend to take care of three cats that belong to my friend Cindy Dyer and her husband. I mention Cindy fairly often on this blog because she is a constant sources of encouragement and inspiration in my photography and has mentored me over the years—she is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. She is also an amazing gardener and most of the times when I feature flower photos, I have taken the shots in her garden.

Cindy works from home, so her three cats are used to having someone around during most of the day. Over the years I have taken care of the cats multiple times and they are relatively comfortable with my presence in the hours. That being said, each of the three cats has his own personality and shows me varying degrees of attention and affection.

I took these shots of Lobo, Pixel, and Queso yesterday afternoon when I stopped in to check on them. All three cats seemed to be evaluating me and I like the way that I was able some of their personality in these informal little portraits.

Lobo

Pixel

Queso

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I am fond of challenging myself by photographing difficult subjects like tiny spiders and dragonflies in flight. However, I find equal joy in capturing the beauty of more common subjects in simple portraits, like this image of a male Big Bluet damselfly (Enallagma durum) that I spotted on a recent trip to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Beauty is everywhere.

Big Bluet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I have already shared some more serious portraits that my talented photographer friend Cindy Dyer took of me during a photo shoot last month. She is amazing. After we had finished the more formal shots, we decided to try some action shots to show off my special Pride edition high-top Converse All-Star sneakers (plus a turquoise low-top pair that I own). As you can see, I was having a lot of fun being a little silly. Be sure to click through to Cindy’s original posting to see all three fun photos.

Cindy Dyer's Blog

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

When Michael P. and I were doing our fun portrait session last month in our shared studio, we decided to “loosen up” and get some silly shots. We were trying to decide how to show up the shoes (especially the soles) and not just by him sitting down. So the ever-energetic Michael came up with jumping and I must say I tired him out after about 20 shots! I told him to pretend he was a Rockette dancer and he should be very proud that he can kick his leg up THAT high at 66 years old (and in a suit, no less)! We knew the background wouldn’t hold his tall frame (especially when jumping that high), so we decided to share these anyway—consider them behind-the-scenes studio shots! Also, I’m not known for action shots, so there will be a technical learning curve if…

View original post 25 more words

Read Full Post »

We are coming to the end of the season for the Sable Clubtail (Stenogomphurus rogersi), so it was really exciting to spot Sable Clubtails last Wednesday as I was exploring a small stream in Fairfax County. As some of you may recall, the Sable Clubtail is an uncommon dragonfly species in my area.  A month ago I was really concerned that the increase of silt and vegetation in the stream where they have previously been seen seem might have caused them to disappear.

I am somewhat more optimistic now that I have seen them several times over the past month. During my most recent trip, I think I may have spotted at least two individual Sable Clubtails. If you compare the front wing tips of the dragonflies in the second and third images, they appear to be different. I photographed the dragonfly in the first photograph later that same day in the same general area, so it could have been one of the others that I photographer earlier or a third individual.

It is always fun to try to figure out the best way to photograph a dragonfly when I encounter it. To a certain extent my options are dictated by the way the dragonfly perches and the habitat in which it is found. In the case of the Sable Clubtail, I usually find them perched low on leafy vegetation overhanging the stream. If I am lucky, I’ll find myself in a position to attempt a close-up shot like the first image—I was crouched low as I straddled the stream to capture that image.

Although the Sable Clubtail will soon be gone, other dragonflies will be appearing on the scene before long. I expect to be busy chasing after these newcomers as we move deeper into the summer.

Sable Clubtail

Sable Clubtail

Sable Clubtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

On 17 June I was really happy to photograph some Yellow-sided Skimmers (Libellula flavida) while exploring a pond in Prince William County with fellow blogger and dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford. This is a fairly uncommon species where I live and I have knowingly seen it only a couple of times previously. Yellow-sided Skimmers at certain stages of development look a lot like Needham’s Skimmers, a species that I encounter much more frequently, and I sometimes have trouble telling them apart.

As several readers have noted in commenting on the portraits of me that I have recently posted, the eyes and the smile are critical in capturing the personality of a subject. I think that is equally true for this stunning female Yellow-sided Skimmer. Her beautiful eyes and toothy grin convey a sense of warmth and friendliness—it was like she was happy to be posing for me.

If you would like to see Walter’s take on our encounter with the Yellow-sided Skimmers, check out his blog posting entitled Yellow-sided Skimmer (female, male). Walter included photos of both genders of this species along with additional information about its preferred habitat and its geographic range.

Yellow-sided Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I guess that I could be accused of shameless self-promotion by reposting more photos of myself, but I am so happy with the way that they turned out. Cindy Dyer is such a talented photographer who so perfectly captured my personality in these photos.

Our initial goal for our little photoshoot was to shoot some colorful images to help me celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month, an annual month-long celebration in June. As stated in a recent presidential proclamation, “Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.”

The goal of this month quite simply is to highlight the efforts of so many people to live freely and authentically. It is my firm conviction that diversity is one of the elements that makes our human communities stronger and more vibrant.

Cindy Dyer's Blog

In the studio with Michael #ConversePride
Michael P says: I am celebrating Pride Month 2021 with sole. T-shirt from the Converse 2021 Pride Collection, hightop Converse All-star Sneakers 2020 Pride Edition, and white Levi’s 501 jeans.
Michael is an accomplished nature/wildlife photographer as well as a gifted storyteller. Check out his blog here: https://michaelqpowell.com/

View original post

Read Full Post »

If you read the title of this posting before you saw the photo, you might have assumed that I was the one behind the camera in the studio. In this case, however, I was the one in front of the camera.

Cindy and I share a studio space with a video production company. When we moved to a new and much larger space last year, one of our goals was to expand her portrait shooting business. The pandemic restrictions, though, have severely limited the number of opportunities for her to shoot portraits.

Cindy is a really talented photographer and over the past year we have talked about doing a colorful photoshoot to help me celebrate Pride month. This past Sunday we finally did that shoot and Cindy also took advantage of the opportunity to do some more formal shots of me, like this one, and even some crazy action shots. (Stay tuned—you might see some of them in the future.)

I do not consider myself to be particularly photogenic and am not really comfortable in front of the camera. Cindy gently guided me through a series of poses that occasionally felt awkward, but ended up looking really good.

I love the way that this shot turned out. As I commented in Facebook when Cindy posted a similar shot, I definitely need to write a book now, because I already have a photo for the book jacket.

Thanks, Cindy. Be sure to check out Cindy’s blog and her portfolio to see some amazing images.

Cindy Dyer's Blog

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

View original post

Read Full Post »

Some say that the secret to capturing an effective image is to eliminate all of the non-essential elements. This image is about as minimalistic as I can get. The raindrops on the vegetation provide a sense of what has been and the shadows a hint that the sun was shining again when I spotted this stunning female Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata) at Occoquan Regional Park on Friday.

The image itself is simple, but I am amazed at the details that I was able to capture of this tiny creature and encourage you to click on the image. If you do, you may be as shocked as I was, for example, at the length of the “hairs” on the damselfly’s legs—clearly leg shaving is not practiced among the ladies of this species.

Ebony Jewelwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Last week I photographed my first Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) of the season, a stunning female that I spotted while exploring in Prince William County. I really like all of the different shades of green in this image and the linear stalks of grass that provide a perfect perching place for the pondhawk.

Before long Eastern Pondhawks will become a frequent sight in my area, but it is always special for me to greet the first member of a species each year.

Eastern Pondhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I was thrilled to spot this beautiful male Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata) on Monday, at Occoquan Regional Park, the first dragonfly of this species for me this season. I just love the way that the distinctive markings on the wings really make this dragonfly “pop” with a golden glow.

Painted Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes the colors in a photo draw me in as much as the actual subject, as is the case with this image of a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) that I spotted last Saturday at Occoquan Regional Park.

The soft shades of brown and gray harmoniously create a mood that I really like. Even the wispy, dried grasses in the foreground, which might have bothered me under most circumstances, add a nice texture and organic feel to this in situ portrait.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It was early in the morning when I spotted this Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Utterly fascinated, I watched the eagle methodically preening, moving from one area of its body to another, adjusting the feathers and removing some small wispy ones. When you are a national symbol, I guess you have to try to look majestic at all times.

This particular eagle was pretty relaxed and I managed to walk almost underneath the overhanging branch without disturbing it. If you look carefully at the final photo, you can tell that I was shooting almost straight up in order to get the shot. Remarkably the eagle remained in place when I continued on my way down the trail. I would like to be able to claim that I was really stealthy in my movements, but I think it was more likely that the eagle was simply willing to tolerate my presence, of which he was undoubtedly aware.

Bald Eagle

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Frost covered the ground early on Tuesday morning when I arrived at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The first creature that I spotted was an Eastern Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) foraging in the wintery grass that has not yet turned green. The sunlight was soft and low, making the bunny glow.

It was a wonderfully gentle way to begin a new day.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) often sport a Mohawk-style crest, but this female that I spotted last Thursday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge seemed to have applied some extra gel to make her “hair” stand tall. Her outlandish look and defiant attitude make me think of a punk rocker. I looked closely at her body, expecting to see tattoos and body piercings, but as far as I could tell, there were none.

Rock on, my little punk rock cardinal, rock on.

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I couldn’t help but feel that this male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was irritated with me when he glared sideways at me as he momentarily ceased his pecking at water’s edge on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On the other hand, he might have simply been trying to pose in a way that minimized his double chin, about which he was very self-conscious. Have I committed a cardinal sin in my initial assessment?

What do you think? Have a wonderful weekend.

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

A small flock of Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) disappeared into the underbrush on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but I kept on eye on them and managed to get this first shot as one of them made its way through the dried stalks of vegetation.

Later that same day, I had another sighting of turkeys and captured a familiar view of a turkey hurrying across the road. I like the way that the second shot shows the turkey’s “beard,” the tuft that looks a bit like a miniature horsetail dangling from its breast.

Wild Turkey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: