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Posts Tagged ‘Phinizy Swamp Nature Park’

What was the mission that prompted this Great Egret to launch himself into the air?  His mission, it seems, was to continue to harass a Great Blue Heron that he had previous forced out of a prime fishing spot. As you can see from the second photo onward, the egret headed straight for the heron and only at the last minute did he veer off. (I may post some photos later of the initial encounter, but I especially like these in-flight photos.)

I took this series of photos a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Augusta, Georgia, at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The setting and the perspective were not completely natural, but somehow I ended up with an image of a female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) that I really like.

I ran across this cardinal almost two weeks ago when I was just starting my exploration of the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia. She was perched almost directly overhead on a wire and seemed to be warming herself in the rays of the morning sun. It was the start of a beautiful sunny day and already the skies were blue.

Georgia was already well into spring and you can see some of beautiful colors of the flowering trees in the blurred background. I managed to get the facial area of the cardinal in pretty sharp focus, which contrasts nicely with the background.

It won’t be long before we have flowering trees in Northern Virginia, where I live, but at least we have daffodils in bloom to remind us that spring is finally here.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am finally posting some more photos of the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) that I spotted a couple of weeks ago when visiting the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA.

Previously, I posted a photo of the armadillo standing on his hind legs, but I thought it would be interesting to post some additional shots of the armadillo in action.

I grew up in New England, so the armadillo qualifies as an exotic animal for me, although there are probably folks in Texas and elsewhere that view armadillos as pests. I am completely fascinated by the texture of his shell, particularly the tail, and tried to highlight it in the photos.

The armadillo spent most of its time rooting about in the grass and most often his head was not visible, which was a challenge for photos. Even when I moved relatively close, the armadillo seemed so focused on what he was doing (or so near-sighted), that he paid no attention to me.

I actually had two mini-encounters with him. The first time, he scurried pretty back to the swampy field from which he had emerged when he sensed my presence. I retreated from the immediate area and returned to find him in the same location. This time, after getting his fill of insects (or whatever else he was eating), he lumbered back to the swampy field.

So far, there are no armadillos in my neighborhood in Northern Virginia, but Wikipedia notes the armadillo’s rapid expansion northward, primarily because of the lack of natural predators within the United States, little desire on the part of Americans to hunt or eat the armadillo, and the animals’ high reproductive rate. Eventually, armadillos are predicted to reach as far north as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

As I studied up a bit on armadillos, I learned that armadillos can contract (and pass on) leprosy (yikes!), so you won’t see me handling any armadillos. Additionally, Nine-banded Armadillos have an unusual reproductive system, in which four genetically identical offspring are born, the only mammals in which polyembryony is reliably manifested, according to Wikipedia. This trait makes them particularly suited for certain types of scientific and medical tests that need consistent biological and genetic makeup in the test subjects.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Today I visited the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA, hoping that I might see an alligator. Although I did not spot an alligator, I did encounter this Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) in the Park. (You can actually count the nine bands).

Initially the armadillo was rooting about in the grass and he startled me a bit when he stood up. I was close to ground level and was looking through my telephoto lens, which made the movement seem a little threatening.

I was surprised to see an armadillo in Georgia—I tend to associate them with places like Texas and Oklahoma—but apparently their range is expanding. Information on the internet suggests that armadillos are mostly nocturnal and come out around dusk. I have no idea why this one chose to be out in the middle of the day.

I may post some other photos of the armadillo, but I thought that this pose was unusual enough to justify posting an image immediately.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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