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Wildlife

That’s New Jersey, the state on the Atlantic coast of North America, not the island in the English Channel.

Okay, that was quite a lot of work. My apologies for any errors.

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A very quick post. I’ve been up all night trying to finish a dress and now I’m totally bleary eyed. However, there is a photo I’ve been meaning to throw up for a while now. Arkenaton, if you are not already aware, has quite a talent for capturing bugs. Ark lives in South Africa now, but he is originally from England. I like to take pictures of bugs myself, and it just so happens that on my first trip to England I took a photo of a butterfly. A few weeks ago, I organized my photos, so I now knew exactly where it was and intended to post it. (“My first trip” – I better ‘fess up now, I’ve only been twice.)

Then, today, or yesterday, or sometime recently, Daz put up a post about Ordnance Survey Maps. As it happens, shortly before that first trip, I read an article in the paper about them and how they showed, among other things, rights of way, and you could order some maps and take some fascinating walks. I am exceedingly fond of walking and to my mind this is the best thing to do if you go to Britain. In the end, I didn’t order any of the Ordnance Survey Maps because I didn’t really know where to go and I happened to find a book of recommended walks, although the walks in that book were based on those maps.

So, I took a walk from a town called Ironbridge, best known for a bridge made of iron, and walked along the river to a place called Buildwas Abbey. Along the way, I took this photo:butterfly-in-england

Blown up, it looks like this:

butterfly-in-england-croppedIf anyone knows the species, please leave a comment telling us what it is.

Now, I need to get a little nap before I start typing very strange things.

I was going through some of my old insect photos. One of the time-consuming things is trying to identify what type of bug something is. I came across a photo of a butterfly, well, two photos of the same butterfly.

Eastern-Tailed-Blue

Eastern Tailed Blue Female on a clover, underside and top.

I’ve seen quite a few of these around, so I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to locate. The photo was taken in Maryland so I looked on a site about Maryland butterflies. There are plenty of pictures of most of the butterflies there and the site even has a couple of pictures of two of these mating. (The blue in the name refers to the color of the males.) On one of the mating photos, there is a conveniently placed flower petal. The caption says: “Censored mated pair.” It made me laugh.

Again, I’m not going to write much. Here are some more photos, also taken on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For those of you who don’t know, the Eastern Shore is a penninsula. The Atlantic Ocean is on the east and the Chesapeake Bay is on the west. Along the bay, the land is very irregular with lots of little inlets.

I’m currently visiting Sissy in Baltimore. Yesterday, while she was at work, I spent a lot of time in her yard. I caught sight of this little fellow. He’s only about seven centimeters. This close up was taken with extension tubes.

snapping turtle emerging from the waterI’ve assumed that there must be snapping turtles in the lake in the park, but I haven’t seen one before. I caught a glimpse of this fellow today. It tickled my fancy to think that perhaps he was going to see Jurassic World.

According to my calculations, the goslings should have hatched on the first and the lovely goose is still sitting on her eggs. I’m starting to think that maybe they won’t hatch. That would be a disappointment. Meanwhile, I looked for other things to photograph. Sure enough, I found a raccoon.

A few days earlier, when I started anticipating goslings and visiting the goose more often, I saw a raccoon with a baby in its mouth.Racoon with Baby

It’s not a very good shot. I understand that when the young are little they will live in a hole in a tree, but when they get bigger the mother moves them to the ground. This looks like a pretty big kit, so perhaps that’s what she’s doing. Today in the same location, a raccoon quietly descended a tree right next to me, but I couldn’t get a shot due to all the leave between us.

When we were kids, our house had a porch and there was always something living under it. One year it was an opossum. Another year, a skunk. We were not popular in school that year. Our whole house and all our clothes smelled of skunk every time the creature got scared and sprayed. More often then not, however, the animal under the porch was a raccoon. For those of you who are not familiar with them, these animals are shockingly smart.

So, today, after seeing the goose get up and gently turn her eggs over, so I knew they hadn’t hatched yet, I went to a locale at the edge of the lake, near a bridge, where I’d seen a raccoon. Indeed, there was a racoon where I’d seen one before. I don’t think it was the same raccoon since his face was not as white as the one I’d seen before.

raccoon at the edge of a lake in shallow water standing on his hind legs looking up

If you’re not familiar with raccoons, take a look at these hands… oops, I mean paws.

raccoon-hands

With their long digits with no webbing between them, the are remarkably dexterous. The sense of touch is extremely accute. According to Wikipedia:

The most important sense for the raccoon is its sense of touch. The “hyper sensitive” front paws are protected by a thin horny layer which becomes pliable when wet. … Almost two-thirds of the area responsible for sensory perception in the raccoon’s cerebral cortex is specialized for the interpretation of tactile impulses, more than in any other studied animal. They are able to identify objects before touching them with vibrissae located above their sharp, nonretractable claws.

Indeed, if you watch a raccoon, it’s hard to not notice that they seem to want to touch everything.

A raccoon with its hands in the water.Here, you can see the raccoon making the washing motions the he’s known for. Although they’re famous for eating just about anything, a large portion of a raccoon’s diet it comprised of invertebrates, which is probably what this critter is feeling around in the mud for.

raccoon-2I saw at least three different raccoons in the late afternoon.

Finally, a raccoon raiding the garbage.

Raccoon-ofw

Being more a photographer than a birder, I don’t just have a list of birds I’d like to see, but a list of birds I would like to photograph. It’s not a formal list since it exists mainly in my head. If you asked what birds are on it, I’d have to think for a bit. Not infrequently, they’re birds I’ve seen but somehow missed getting a decent shot.

Today, as I was checking up on my lady goose to see if the eggs had hatched or not, it started to rain. I was tucking away my camera in my bag. The sky cleared for a few minutes and I heard a bird call close behind me. I turned around to see on the top of some stairs a Norther Flicker. They’re not uncommon birds, but I don’t see them very often. There was a pair that lived somewhere near my sister’s yard. I think they’re quite beautiful birds. They’re a type of woodpecker, but the prefer to eat ants and beetles and spend much of their time much close to the ground than other woodpeckers. They’re about 30 cm in length with a wingspan of about 45 cm.

The bird flew down and landed in a shaft of sunlight at the top of some stairs, putting it on eye level with me.

The bird flew down and landed in a shaft of sunlight at the top of some stairs, putting it on eye level with me.

This is clearly a female since the males have streaks on their cheeks that resemble a mustache. From this angle, you can see part of the black, breastplate like, mark on her chest. With their colorful splotches and spotted undersides, I think they resemble circus clowns.

This is clearly a female since the males have streaks on their cheeks that resemble a mustache. From this angle, you can see part of the black, breastplate like, mark on her chest. With their colorful splotches and spotted undersides, I think they resemble circus clowns.

In this photo, you can see the yellow feathers under the tail.

In this photo, you can see the yellow feathers under the tail.

You can also see the wing feathers have yellow on them, which is hidden when they are still by is visible when they fly. It's this flash of yellow when they fly that gives them their name.

You can also see the wing feathers have yellow on them, which is hidden when they are still by is visible when they fly. It’s this flash of yellow when they fly that gives them their name.

Here's the last photo, taken as someone approached and scared her away. You can see the red mark at the nape of her neck.

Here’s the last photo, taken as someone approached and scared her away. You can see the red mark at the nape of her neck.

Today, I saw an American Redstart. It’s another tiny little warbler. First I noticed the male, and then a few minutes later a little gray bird caught my attention. I didn’t know what it was, so I snapped a picture. I believe it’s the female.

Redstart-Male

Redstart-Female

At the edge of the lake, I saw a sizable bird that resembled a heron but was not one of the herons I know. Looking it up, I found out it was a Black-crowned Night Heron.

Black-crowned-Night-HeronWhen he turned his head, you could see the long plumes.

Black-crowned-Night-Heron-GroomingBy some bushes, I heard some loud cries. I watched and an adult American Robin hopped along the ground followed by two fledglings. The adult continued to hop forward and the babies followed making quite a noise. The adult appeared to be showing the young ones how to forage for themselves. It was very cute.

Robin-FamilyFinally, I saw the irises have started to bloom.

Iris-by-Lake