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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Backyard Arthropods

I still photograph nearly every day; the part I find myself not being able to do is write about those photographs.  That's life.  Weston is now 7; Brody is 5, and Megan and I are expecting another member of the family in mid-October.  The boys are excited about their new sister.  Yes!  That's correct- a girl Arbour.  My grandmother, 94 years old, had two sons.  Those two sons had five sons.  And those five sons to date have had three sons.  This is the first girl!

Here are a few of the backyard arthropods I photographed this evening.










-Tom

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Solstice Stunning Sunset



Those of us in Columbus were treated to a magnificent sunset last evening as a line of thunderstorms slid to our west, staying clear of the city.  The sun that filtered in behind this line just created one of the most sublime sunsets I have ever witnessed.  It was spectacular!

Happy Summer.

-Tom

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dragonfly Season is Here


Dragonfly season has arrived!  Before I had a digital SLR camera, way back in 2006, I took photos of a dragon on the Olentangy that I believed was a rapids clubtail.  These bugs fly in early June, and are easiest to find when the river is low.  Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, I've never encountered another one, that us until this afternoon.  I took several photographs that should be able to seal its identification.  What a beautiful dragon it is!

-Tom

Sunday, June 05, 2016

COSI Gadgets Cafe



On a rainy Saturday we headed to COSI!  The boys just finished preschool and kindergarten and summer is off to a fast start.  COSI has many exhibits, and since we're members, we usually only visit one or two each time we visit.  Somehow we have completely missed the gadget area there, which turned out to be a hit.  At the gadget cafe, we even ordered a science experiment where we learned about saltwater.  Thanks COSI!

-Tom

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Black-throated Blue Warbler in the Bur Oak



This year, I've really been diligent to glass the bur oak each day.  Earlier in the week, I saw a black-throated blue warbler, a first for the yard, during a quick morning scan.  I had to get to the office though, and didn't have time to photograph it.  Fortunately, later in the week, I had the opportunity to watch and photograph this wonderful warbler once again.

-Tom

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Morning Mourning Dove



I spotted this mourning dove through the kitchen window yesterday morning as I was preparing for work. I've been successful recently to tighten up my morning routine. On this morning I had a few extra minutes to run upstairs, grab the step stool, open the small bathroom window, and get a few shots at this inquisitive visitor before it was time to head to the office.

-Tom

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Purple Martins at Slate Run

Two pairs of Purple Martins- The males are midnight blue, the females are much more drab.

It had been a while since we last visited the historical farm at Slate Run Metropark.  Sometime since, several purple martin trees had been installed.  Our largest swallow nests almost exclusively in artificial nest structures in the east, while in the western part of their range, they nest in abandoned woodpecker holes.

It's been nearly a decade since I've photographed this species- the last opportunity came on North Bass Island before I had any decent telephoto lens capability.  Although the light was fairly atrocious on this day, I managed to capture a few images I liked.





What I noticed about the martins is just how large they are.  They forage quite high in the air, and even when viewed from a distance, they're noticeably bulky.  If I hadn't known they were around, it probably would have taken me a while to figure out what they were from their in-flight silhouettes alone.  Viewing my photographs after the fact, it's easy to see the blue colors of the males, but through the binoculars, I was pretty much only seeing their outline.

-Tom

Monday, May 09, 2016

Barn Swallows


I don't believe this male barn swallow realized that it was Mother's day yesterday.  If he did, he wouldn't be scolding her like this.  At least that's what he appears to be doing.  Maybe he's just trying to impress her with his wide gape?

Slate Run Metropark, just south of Canal Winchester, is really a great place to photograph barn swallows.  They nest in the big red barn, and they're quite used to people.  Wait long enough, and they're sure to perch on the fence rails just behind the barn. Fair warning, however- if the wind is blowing just right, you may be standing directly in the path of the malodorous pig pen!

-Tom

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Black-throated Green Warbler



The distinctive call of the Black-throated Green Warbler is unmistakable.  There's just no other bird that has the loud, piercing, zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee song that immediately grabs my auditory attention. So when I woke up yesterday and heard it, I immediately grabbed my camera.  I was able to make fairly decent image of the bird as it moved toward the lowest branches of our backyard bur oak. The migration is on, and, for the first time, I've made a conscious effort the check the backyard each morning for new arrivals.  The most excitement this week came on Wednesday morning, when we had multiple Cape May Warblers, joined by a Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. So far, it's been a slow, steady migration, but because I've paid it more attention then ever, I'm seeing more backyard birds than ever.

-Tom

Sunday, May 01, 2016

It's Been a Birdy Week



The migration is on here in Central Ohio!  I have photographed black-throated blue warblers, tons of yellow-rumped warblers, one orange-crowned warbler, a black-and-white warbler, palm warblers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, orange-crowned warblers, and even an American redstart.  All these encounters happened not in a high quality natural area somewhere, but either on the grounds of the office or in my backyard.  But perhaps my favorite image from the week is of this female red-winged blackbird.  I sometimes forget the nature photography opportunities that I have at my disposal on the grounds of my north Columbus office complex.  We have two female red-winged blackbirds that have carved out a territory on our cattail marsh.  There's used to people walking by, so getting close to them with the camera is as easy as it gets.

-Tom