Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Woodbridge VA’

I hope that the title did not lead to an expectation that you would find photos of tiny deer in this posting. It may have been a stretch to use that title, but I wanted to give a hint of the fact that I captured all of these images with my macro lens. In fact, the first two images are uncropped, which gives you an idea of how close I was to the deer.

Yesterday I set off for Occoquan Regional Park to search primarily for dragonflies and butterflies. I put my Tamron 180 mm macro lens on my camera, a lens which is my go-to lens for much of the spring and summer. Now I must confess that the reach of this macro lens is a bit longer than the average macro lens, which generally has a focal length of 100 mm or so, but it certainly would not be my first choice for wildlife photography.

I was sitting on a log taking a break when I heard some nearby noise in the underbrush. I stood up, expecting to see a scurrying squirrel, and suddenly was face-to face with a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). For a considerable amount of time the deer eyed me with curiosity before slowly moving away. As I watched the deer depart, I noticed another deer, one with amazingly long ears. As I prepared to photograph the second deer, the first one photobombed us, resulting in the third image.

This situation reinforced to me the importance of shooting with whatever camera or lens that I happen to have at hand. It may not be the optimal option, but it can often yield surprisingly good results.

Whiite-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

The sky was mostly covered in clouds yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) decided to fly right at me after it had caught a fish.

I love the look of a head-on shot of a flying bird, but capturing such a shot is not easy. First, the bird has to cooperate and most of the time, it seems, birds like to fly away from me and not toward me. Secondly, I have to be able to capture and maintain focus on the bird as it is approaching, which can be a challenge with a heavy telephoto zoom lens. Finally, I have to calibrate my shooting speed so that I don’t fill up the buffer of my camera before the bird gets close.

Things worked out pretty well for this shot. If you click on the image and zoom in on it, you will see that I managed to keep those yellow eyes in reasonably sharp focus and even the beak is in focus. You don’t get a very good view of the fish—you will have to wait until I capture of profile shot of an osprey with its catch.

osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Many of you are aware that I have been keeping track of a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. When the eagle couple occupied the nest earlier this spring, the authorities set up barriers to keep the eagles from being disturbed, because the tree with the nest is close to the intersection of several trails.

I have checked the nest several times in the past month and there has always been an eagle sitting in the middle of the nest. As I looked through my telephoto zoom lens this past Friday from one of the barriers, I could see that an adult eagle was sitting at one side of the nest, leading me to believe there might be babies. I waited and eventually was rewarded with a view of one eaglet.

Last year there were two eaglets born at this nest. Perhaps there is a second eaglet this year too, but at a minimum I am thrilled to know that there is at least one new eaglet birth to celebrate.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Last Friday I spotted this Common Loon (Gavia immer) in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Willdife Refuge.  I don’t think that I have ever actually seen a loon before, but this bird pretty much matches the image of a Common Loon in breeding plumage in my bird identification guide. The range maps indicate that Northern Virginia, where I live, is in a migratory area for this species. I am guessing that this loon stopped for a while on his journey northward.

Common Loon

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Most of the warblers that I am fortunate enough to see are partially hidden by branches. Although hope is usually not an effective technique for taking photos, essentially that is what I do when I spot a hidden warbler—I start shooting and hope that the little bird will reveal itself enough for me to capture a clear shot of at least its head.

That was the case on Friday when I shot numerous photos in an attempt to capture an image of this Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) at Occoquan Bay Naational Wildlife Refuge. Unlike many warblers that are found bushes and in trees in more open area, Prothonotary Warblers are creatures of the swamp. I initially spotted one of these beautiful birds in a marshy area and was thrilled when one of them eventually made its way into some vegetation overlooking the water.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church. This background information is fascinating, though I must confess that it is hard to find an opportunity to inject the word “prothonotary” into an everyday conversation unless I am talking about this bright yellow bird.

Prothonotary Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I was excited to spot a colorful little bird that was new to me. A search through my bird identification guide and some help from my Faceboook friends helped me to determine that it is a Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor).

I am hoping to be able to spot some more warblers this spring while their plumage is particularly colorful. I observed a few warblers last fall and noted that their coloration was a lot more subdued than it is now.

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

What is your first thought when you see these three turtles together? Are they just friends or more than friends? The turtles seem to be pretty comfortable sharing a confined space and there is plenty of space in our minds for varied interpretations on the nature of their relationship. According to the old saying, “two’s a couple and three’s a crowd”—is that always true?

Whatever the case, the turtles at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge have been definitely been enjoying our recent sunny days. My turtle identification skills are not very good, but I think these all may be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), though there is a chance that they might be Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

I love images like this one that allow viewers to use their creativity to interpret what they see and to generate in their minds their own mini-narrative of what is going on. Ménage à trois or just friends—you make the call.

red-eared sliders

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »