Sunday, August 30, 2009

American Goldfinches foraging on Coneflower heads

The Goldfinches, usually the last species to nest, waits for an abundant seed supply. Here are a few shots of both male and female picking seeds from spent purple coneflower heads.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ghosts of the past times in Ozark County Missouri

A few building clustered around the North Fork and Bryant headwaters; off of Highway 181.

Debated whether to Post this or not (Pygmy Rattler)

Never even told Myron. There is a very deep and gorgeous canyon to the south side of the ROLF property. This past April I hike the entire length and continued west to a gravel road which eventually led me back to the Signed entrance of ROLF. Near the top of the canyon of rocks, where the canyon turns into a creek with ledge rocks, I spotted the first rattlesnake I have ever seen at ROLF sunning himself on a warm 75F day. It is a Pygmy rattler, small and looking out of place in southern Missouri, but a real rattlesnake. If I ever saw one at ROLF, I expected it to be a Timber Rattler.

I was amazed at the beauty of this snake and his relative calmness (probably because he has just out of hibernation). His total length was maybe 16-18". I watched him and photographed him about two dozen times. He never moved or rattled. I got as close as 4' and he did not even twitch, he was at peace with the world on this beautiful day; so was I. After 30 or so minutes I left still marveling at what I had seen.

Here is the description:

Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

Local Name: ground rattler

Image of Western Pygmy RattlesnakeThis is one of the smallest species of rattlesnakes in North America. General color is light grayish-brown, with a row of small, dark brown spots on the back and similar spots on each side. Most specimens also have a rust-colored stripe down the back. The belly is usually gray. The pygmy rattlesnake has a thin tail and a tiny rattle. Length averages from 15 to 20 inches (38-51 cm). This species lives under rocks on cedar glades and is so secretive that few people encounter it. The sound of the vibrating rattle is a faint buzz like the sound of a grasshopper. Food includes small lizards, snakes, frogs and mice. Although the bite of this species is not fatal, a bite victim should seek immediate medical attention. The pygmy rattlesnake should be respected and left alone.

Missouri Distribution: Counties bordering Arkansas and the eastern Missouri Ozarks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dawn hummingbird picture of juvenile rubythroat

as he approaches a stand of lobelia. Stopped a 1/1250th of at second shutter speed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scissor Tail Flycatcher

This May 19th, I came across two pairs of Scissor-tail Flycatchers. One pair about one mile south of Highway 181 at Crossroads and the second on the entrance field to River of Life Farm on the North Fork River. Both pairs were actively foraging for insects. Both pairs shown above and both pairs where using black cherry trees as landing bases.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Severe weather over the North Fork

A severe afternoon thunderstorm is brewing. I like the gold hues. This was taken in mid-May. Taken looking west from the main road into ROLF.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The bunting started it

All was peaceful and good; up until the point when the fight broke out. From the feeder near the ROLF office.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Look I'm getting my red throat feathers

A juvenile ruby throat male getting his feathers.

Late spring Nuthatch rooting for grubs

Nuthatches have always been one of my favorite birds because of the antics, mostly spending their time upside down. During the winter the frequent feeders and I do not find them as interesting as I do in the late spring summer when they work upside down looking of bugs. These pictures were taken from the Tree Top Loft.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The reason why bird watching is so good

You are nestled in the pines and oaks mid-canopy, so you can see all birds below you, very well, birds higher up in the canopy very well, and all the birds at 50' are at eye level. Birding from here is so outstanding; you have to see them to believe it. Try it soon. This is the TreeTop Loft and also has, as you can see, an excellent view of the river and water birds. Picture around May 2008.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A few Bluebird shots from mid-April 2009

Here they are from 70' to 125' from this past April.

Using a long lens to capture bluebirds

A picture of me taken by Myron, taking lots of pictures of the bluebirds coming and going as they feed their newly hatched chicks on April 18th, 2009. Canon 1DS MKII with a 600 mm Canon L lens with a 2X TC making the entire length 1200 mm.

Bluebird fledglings

Another of my favorite pictures. I took about 500 pictures of the bluebirds in mid-April at River of Life Farm on the North Fork of the White river; the house closest to the falls. Then, in May they had fledged their 1st brood of the year and it appeared that at least two survived until later May. Here are some May pictures of a fledgling and a fledgling being fed by a parent near the Walnut trees by the falls.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Morarch and Cabbage on old Liatras and Mint

A new Monarch on an old Liatras. A cabbage butterfly on mint.

River of Life Farm - Catbird

Another one of my favorite pictures from this late May; a cat-calling catbird that hangs out in the brush near the Tree Top Hideaway.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

One of my best 2 or 3 pictures of 2009, so far. A Yellow-rumped warbler from the TreeTop Loft, taken on April 19th. This guy spent lots of time posing for me. Of course when you are in Missouri's very best birding spot, it is not hard to get some good captures. Missouri Bird Watchers nee to make a point to stay in one of these cabins this fall for the southward migration or next spring for the northward migration.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rainbow Spring's blueish water

During May 2009 there were several storms and several inches of rain. This rain primed the springs. When this happens and as the flow of ground water increases, so does the turbidity of the water. Rainbow Spring (aka; Double Spring) take on a pretty blue hue until it clears again in a few weeks.

Beautiful Eastern Kingbird

This one on the road coming in near the Blueberry Farm. Taken with a Canon 300 f/2.8 lens from a car window.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Refections of the North Fork below Rainbow Springs

Taken last October toward dusk when a few sassafras and sumacs were beginning to change colors.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Northern Shrike on 181 near Dora this past May

This is a neat south and western Missouri lizard hunter. I caught him on a fence post near Dora.

Morning from the Treetop Hideaway

This is shortly after dawn, which is late, due to the massive hill to the east.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Very bad hair day

For this baby hummingbird.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From porch of Whispering Pines looking southwest

at dusk, you can't find a prettier place, the smell of pines, quiet and finally sunset, then stars rising.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Red-bellied Woodpecker in April at ROLF

Crop from long lens at, estimated 130 feet, from center of main field to the walnut trees along the river. Using 840-mm Canon  lens (EF600L + 1.4 TC) on a Canon 1DS MKII. These woodpeckers are very common year round at ROLF.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher from Tree Top Loft

My favorite bird; active pretty, feisty, and never stops moving. He nests 75 feet up old hickory or walnut trees. If you are not in the Tree Top Loft or the Log Lookout you will not have much of a chance to see or photograph one. Preferably in April-May.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mid May moonrise from Tree Top Loft deck

about 10:35 PM.

Under the falls in May 2009

this picture was taken in the morning on the opposite side of the river looking back at the ROLF side on May 24, 2009 using an Optima underwater camera. This was only 7 days after a minor river rise and debris, including water-cress, is still floating downstream. This picture gives you a good view of the clarity and color of the North Fork in the spring prior to summer's gin clear water.

Sulphur butterfly on clover

This photo was taken in the ROLF main field on May 24, 2009.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Large Spring at RockBridge in May 2009

This beautiful spring rises from a bluff base and flows about 25 ' downhill into the Spring Creek. It is located about 30 minutes from ROLF.

A Stormy May morning at River of Life Farm

This was taken in late May 2009 about 9:00 AM; by 10:30 we have a series of strong thunderstorms with small hail.

Common Cabbage Butterfly

Taken at ROLF in May, flying.