Posts Tagged ‘pond’

The water level in the marsh at Huntley Meadow Gardens here in Alexandria, VA has been getting lower and lower as the summer has progressed. I suspect that the situation had made it more difficult for some of the inhabitants to find food and may have increased competition for the available food.

Previously I posted photos of a Great Blue Heron catching a fish in the remaining water of the pond of the marsh. Last week I had the chance to watch a series of confrontations between a Great Blue Heron and a snapping turtle. It seemed to start when the  heron grabbed a fish out of the water just as the turtle was approaching him. I had the impression that the turtle might have been pursuing that same fish. The snapping turtle made a series of aggressive runs at the heron, getting really close to the heron’s legs. I have seen pictures on-line of a snapping turtle pulling down a Great Blue Heron, so I waited with fear and anticipation to see what would happen. The heron left the water this time without any bodily injury. (I have some photos of this initial confrontation that I might post later, but their quality is not as good as those of the second round of confrontations.)

The heron eventually went back into the water and it wasn’t long before the snapping turtle came at him again. (I could almost hear the music of the movie “Jaws” in my head as the turtle made a run at the heron.) Like a matador side-stepping a charging bull, the heron awkwardly avoided the turtle who was approaching him faster than I’ve ever seen a turtle move. The heron then turned his back on the turtle and started walking away, perhaps feeling the hot breath of the turtle who continued to pursue him. Finally, the heron took to the air, deciding that he had had enough of the persistent turtle.

I managed to capture the highlights of the confrontation with my camera. I continue to marvel at the wonders of nature as I observe new creatures and see familiar ones act and interact in new ways.

Snapping turtle approaches Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron steps to the side as snapping turtle gets aggressive

Great Blue Heron walks away with snapping turtle in pursuit

Great Blue Heron decides to leave his problems behind

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I was at a nearby pond photographing mostly dragonflies. After shooting them I decided to make a quick walk around the pond (it’s only a small man-made pond) to see what other subjects I could find. I managed to find a colorful butterfly, a small green heron, and some lotus flowers that I will post later, assuming the photos came out ok.

The subject that really caught my attention, though, was a frog. Really? Yes, really.

I was leaning over the green-colored pond water, gazing at a distant dragonfly when I happened to glance down to my right. There, almost camouflaged in what my friends say is duckweed, was a semi-submerged frog. I was able to get my camera’s lens down pretty low and got in close and captured an image I really like. The frog’s gold-ringed eyes shine out clearly amidst all of the individual particles of duckweed that cover much of his expressionless face.

There are a couple of blades of grass that were partially blocking my view to the frog but they blurred out and are not really much of a problem.  After I took some shots, though, I decided to try to carefully remove one of those offending blades. As I made the effort,  the frog, who had remained motionless up to then, literally leaped into action. He sprung powerfully into the air and skipped across the surface of the water, like a rock throw by a dad showing his son how to skip rocks.

I was so startled by his sudden motion that I almost fell over into the water. Later in the day I did end up getting wet when I belatedly noticed that one foot was planted in the water while I was intently focusing on composing a shot. I guess that’s the price of being a photographer.

Hiding frog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have always admired my friend Cindy D’s photos of an unusual dragonfly that she has featured in her postings.  He is called a Halloween Pennant dragonfly (celithemis eponina).

Wikipedia has some interesting information about this dragonfly including the fact that, “Sexual activity normally occurs between 8 and 10:30 am.” Who knew? I imagine there are scientists somewhere keeping track of the mating habits of the different species of dragonflies using stopwatches.

Today I was happy finally to see a Halloween Pennant dragonfly at Brookside Gardens and take some photographs of him. I love this shot but his wingspan was really wide. I decided to crop out part of the wings so that you can see the details of his face and his wings. I find that dragonflies have wonderfully expressive faces and didn’t want you to miss this face. How can you not love such a face?

I’ll soon be on the lookout for new dragonflies to photograph. Do they have one named for all of the American holidays?

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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