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16 March 2010

Nature Study

We headed out for another nature walk this morning, and I felt like it was an uncommonly good one. I love this time of year for observing things! The animals are up and stirring, the birds are coming back, but the cover isn't very good yet, so you can actually see them. Gotta love it!

We were trying out a new-to-us nature preserve that I happened to notice signs for yesterday while we were out and about. The first thing Monkey wanted to do was check out their observation platform. It didn't look like much; I thought it was pretty short for an "observation" tower. But it had a wonderful view!

We saw a number of worthwhile things while we were up there. In addition to the next couple of photos, there were some chickadees that came and lit briefly on the platform's corner, just 4-5 feet from where we were. I thought that was amazing, though I'm not sure that Monkey saw them in the moments they stayed there.

At one point I was watching a pile of brush I'd seen a bird fly into. I wanted to see if I could get a picture of the bird, because it was one I didn't recognize, and even bad pictures are extremely helpful in identifying a new bird. It appeared to have a nest in the pile of brush I was watching. After a couple of minutes, I realized that it wasn't the only thing keeping cozy in there! This bunny was so well camouflaged that I looked right at him for probably 5 minutes and never saw him until he moved. He's really hard to see in the photograph too, so I tried to turn down the "lights" on the rest of the picture to help you find him.

Today, everything was lovely, but I'm not sure that I'm going to like this park very much when summer comes, as there were tons of wasp nests around, and I still struggle with a phobia of all bee-like objects. But since they still looked pretty dormant, I went ahead and showed the wasp nest to Monkey... from a safe distance.

Monkey also had a good time climbing on the rocks they had all around. I had to keep reminding myself that this stuff is good for him... even when I can hear the first red-wing blackbirds of the season and really want to get a picture. Those blackbirds just didn't have a chance to compete with the rocks!

This last picture I'm so pleased with. Bird photography is so hard for me! But we set and watched this female downy woodpecker for quite some time. Monkey got to see her searching and pecking for bugs on the tree, scooting up the trunk as she went. We stayed and kept an eye on her until some of the park's caretakers went by on a little tractor and sacred away all the birds.


misskate said...

Nice bird shots! Looks like you're learning a lot about photography (clear focus with fuzzy background) very nice!

Ritsumei said...

Sadly, that woodpecker shot is a happy accident. While I am getting more of those these days, I still can't do it on purpose. Though I did see a book about exposure that I'm probably going to add to my wishlist that is supposed to teach me to do stuff like on purpose. Thanks, though! I was plenty excited when I saw how that one turned out!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

This looks like a great place to take a nature walk with your children! I love the birds the best.

Thank you so much for your comment today on my blog. :)

Ritsumei said...

It was lovely this week, and if I can get past the wasps - I saw quite a few nests - it'll probably be a wonderful place for us to visit regularly. We're very fortunate to have a nice collection of parks with "wild" areas and several preserves in a very reasonable distance.

Carol J. Alexander said...

Hey there,
Popped over from the Carnival of HSing. Great pictures. Isn't the weather great? My kids keep arguing about whether or not we are going to get any more snow.

Ritsumei said...

It is indeed lovely! I think that around here we're probably done with serious you've-gotta-shovel-this snow, much to Monkey's dismay. He's been praying for snow... and more snow... and more and more snow... all winter long. And Spring is sort of a let-down to him: no more shoveling snow. But I'm so excited to be able to get out into my yard!


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