Thursday, June 30, 2011

Squirrel Week - Episode 4

The other day, after feeding the bird, I started sneaking up on this red squirrel cleaning up underneath one of our feeders. I kept moving closer to him until I could have reached out and touched him (or so I imagine). He looked like he was always keeping one eye on me.

I shot this with the 50mm prime lens at about f/2.0. It's fascinating to spend time with this lens: unable to zoom without walking or crawling, stuck with the same field of view, oblivious to shutter speed because you can get to f1.4 and getting wicked sharpness right out of the camera.

I'm also falling further and further in love with square cropping for so many photos these days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Squirrel Week - Episode 3

Enough swallows - let's get back to the task at hand.

This little guy was trying mightily to get up our steel bird feeder but kept slipping backwards. Truly one step forward for two steps back.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We interrupt Squirrel Week to bring you...

Swallows have nested in one of the birdhouses we put out this year and their young ones (which we can hear cheeping sixty feet away) are about ready to start trying to fly. As the day gets closer, they are getting bigger and hungrier. The parents are flying back and forth constantly bringing bugs home to feed the youngsters.

Meg snapped this shot of Junior opening very wide for a delicious bug dinner... Open wide!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Squirrel Week - Episode 2

I sat with this guy for some time in the late afternoon sun as he munched on black oil sunflower seeds. It would be an overstatement to say that he was "working with me" but he did seem to understand the flattering affect of the sun's rays.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Squirrel Week - Episode 1

We have tried over the years to cultivate an environment for birds around our home. We have seed feeders in the yard, feeders in the woods, we've put in a maple tree that has blossomed into it's own ecosystem and our rugosa roses are sufficiently tall and thorny as to provide protection from even the most persistent raptor. 

This has resulted in not only a nice variety of bird species (though no Northern Flicker this year...) but also a ton of grey squirrels, red squirrels and chipmunks. Though I know some regard these rodents as pests, we've come to enjoy observing the relationships between these various species and the various members of each species (red squirrels being the crabbiest of the group). They each have their own personality and their own level of tolerance for us humans.

This week we'll post some recent photos we've been able to snap of these guys.

There is no doubt  that red squirrels enjoy a good view. We found this fellow surveying the scene as we approached one morning to refill the bird feeders.

This is not the first time we've found a seemingly "human" appreciation in red squirrels for a good view. I posted this picture in February of last year of a red squirrel enjoying a morning snack while watching sunrise from the very top of our Christmas tree which had found a new home on our deck after the holidays.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gray Fox...

We've been experiencing visits from a gray fox (we think - do you agree?) which has discovered that our bird feeding, and thus our squirrel and chipmunk feeding, has led to a productive hunting ground for Urocyon cinereoargenteus.

Meg got a couple shots of this guy (gal?) lapping up sunflower seeds near the stone wall in our front yard (see below). It was only afterwards as he was shooed away that we realized he had already taken one of our little chipmunk friends.

It's tough to sympathize with the fox that kills the helpless chipmunk but of course he is what he is (a carnivore) and his family needs to eat as well. So it goes; no Hanover Co-Op meat counter for this fellow. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vermont ferns...

I love these ferns near our house this time of year. They surround and envelope the open areas of the woods. The solemn trees emerge from this sea of green to reach for the sunlight above. When squirrels and chipmunks run through them, they rustle like a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Somedays you wake up and you go to the Taj Mahal. 

Some days are otherwise... 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gray Tree Frog

In the seven plus years we've lived in our home, we have on three occasions found a small mild mannered toad-like creature on our porch or deck.

The first time was in August 2007. This fellow showed up near the welcome mat on our front porch. Not interested in us in the least and seemingly completely quiescent. We were leaving that day for a vacation in Maine and when we returned he was of course gone.

Two years later in May we found a very similar - though noticeably rounder - creature occupying a spot on our back deck. The patterns were very similar and we asked around to find out what this amazing toad (we thought) was. The answer was that it is probably a Gray Tree Frog.

This year - again two years later - we again found one of these fantastic frogs on our deck, this time resting right up against our back door.

Will we see one of these again this year or will it be another two years before they return? What causes them to come up on our deck? Why do we never see them in the wild?