September 21, 2019 Jonesport, Maine

 

Pearl Exploring the Blueberry Barrens

Blueberry Barrens Forever

I arrived at the Pleasant River RV Park in Addison Saturday afternoon after a long (expensive) trip north on the Maine Turnpike. Having never stayed here before, and reading that there were only 6 campsites here, I was pleasantly surprised to get this very nice spot with full hookups and a nice view.

Sunrise the next morning!

I came through some startling colors in vast blueberry fields, I think they are called barrens, on the way down to the campground. So soon as I was settled in, I drove back out to see if I could get any decent late afternoon shots. These wood ducks merit a return to the side road I found them on, but my noisy approach, as I was not expecting to see wood ducks, spooked an entire flock of them.

There is some color here and there on roadsides, with some vivid colors in the wetlands and around the pond edges. Certainly not peak foliage here yet, but the blueberry barrens are another story!

I went back Sunday morning to see if I could get some better color with the early morning light.

Driving the narrow, very dusty gravel roads through the barrens, I had to just keep shooting away, so, once again, I apologize for the number of photos, but the colors fascinated me.

Incredibly, looking at images of these blueberry barrens online, I don’t believe these are at peak color yet, but still impressive to me as I have never encountered  them before.

The fields are picked clean this time of year, but on a few little steep hillsides heading into the woods, there are areas that the mechanical harvesters probably can’t access, leaving a few berries here and there. Being a commercial operation, I did not get out and pick any of these, though I was tempted!

 

 

September 13, 2019 A Search for Foliage Yields Turkeys and Butterflies

I took off very early this morning and headed up to Florida, MA and Rowe, MA., driving the back roads looking for any sign of early fall foliage color. Usually the swamp maples and other trees near water turn way before the overall colors arrive in October, …

… but in over 100 miles of driving today, I found just a couple of trees that had started to turn. Well, it is still very early and they have had a very dry summer up here, so I will just have to wait and see what happens a little later.

One thing I did find were wild turkeys … everywhere!

Every time I have gone out I have spotted flocks of wild turkeys, really don’t ever recall seeing many, or any, around here when I was growing up.

I passed many fields of ready to pick corn …

… and some very suspicious looking new farm crops, that I have to assume might be hemp?? since there were signs around these fields saying ” This is not WEED”.

Not finding much on the back roads I headed south to Deerfield, MA.  and bought some delicious fresh sweet corn at a roadside farm stand. I know it was fresh since the farmer was just unloading the corn from the back of his pickup as I pulled in.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

So, since I was in the area, I decided to visit the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory , a place I happened to discover by accident many years ago when I lived in NH.

I am not going to attempt to identify all these butterflies since I didn’t take notes while I was there.

There are feeding platforms with over ripe bananas as well as these colorful glass feeder bowls, scattered throughout the exhibit.

In addition to the butterflies, there is quite an assortment of exotic flowers …

… in the enclosed butterfly exhibit …

… as well as a few colorful birds ( ones that don’t eat butterflies, I presume).

If you are ever in the area of Route 5 in Deerfield, MA, I highly recommend stopping by to visit this place, located just a short distance from I-91.

 

February 8, 2019 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Imperial Dam Sunrise
Imperial Dam Sunrise

Another Uneventful Week in the Desert

A couple of sunrise shots from this morning.

Sunrise Clouds
Sunrise Clouds

A Couple more Boring Desert Bird Shots

Doves
Unwanted Crowd

To think that just a few weeks back, I was wondering if I would ever get the birds to discover me out here. Unfortunately, the Mourning Doves and the Red-winged Blackbirds have come in droves, making feeding a little expensive now that I have to put out seed two and three times a day to keep the Quail and others coming in. The Doves number forty or fifty at times and the Blackbirds often as many as twenty.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

And I have to feed them all in order to keep the Quail coming back, now almost a continuous presence as opposed to their earlier early morning, late afternoon arrivals. The rock this guy is sitting on has holes a couple inches deep and acts as a great natural feeder.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

They are a lot of fun to observe and without a doubt the most skittish of all the birds that come in. They are in constant motion and always choose to run rather than fly, even when the Merlin screams in. And as I have probably mentioned before, they are always peeping, gurgling, and cooing amongst themselves as they scurry around scratching at seeds, really interesting to listen to.

As you can probably guess, I am getting a little bored here and wish there was some way I could move on to new ground as I used to do, but I am unfortunately tied to this spot for at least another month of treatment.

January 30, 2019 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Sunrise
Sunrise

Same Old, Same Old

Sunrise Over Imperial Dam
Sunrise Over Imperial Dam

Some wonderful sunrises this week as clouds rolled in for a few days. But I am getting bored. One (of many) of the worst parts of having this rotten disease (myeloma) is having to be anchored to a nearby medical facility for my chemo treatments. Before MM, I was able to move around freely and explore the desert in the winter, as in, leave here and check out the birds in Sierra Vista or Portal, then move on to Texas if I had the notion. No more.

Sunrise Over Imperial Dam
Sunrise Over Imperial Dam

The images above were taken on two different mornings as I nursed my morning coffee.

A New Bird Deterrent Besides the Bees

Merlin
Merlin

I was out and set up to shoot some bird images this morning and about fifty Mourning Doves had descended on my feeding grounds when they all suddenly bolted and scattered in all directions. The cause of the commotion was the Merlin pictured above after he made his unsuccessful run through the feeding area. For the next hour, every time a few birds would return he would blast though again scaring everyone off. I gave up after an hour of this and took the shot above before retreating to the motorhome.

Mourning Doves
Mourning Doves

I remember wondering, about a month ago, whether I would ever get any birds in here this year. Now I have about 50 Mourning Doves, 30 or so Gambel’s Quail, and …

Red-winged Blackbirds
Red-winged Blackbirds

… a dozen or so Red-winged Blackbirds showing up every morning. My experience with the hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds that mobbed the feeding station in Salineno, Texas, where I volunteered a few winters ago, made these guys my absolute least favorite avian visitor.

Red-winged Blackbirds
Red-winged Blackbirds
House Finches
House Finches

Have a fair number of House Finches coming in, but nowhere near the number that were here last year.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

And finally, the Gambel’s Quail have graduated to using the platform feeders. Up until now they fed exclusively on the ground, but this one pair has figured out that the food is more plentiful up off the ground. I get a big kick out of watching these guys scurry around and bicker among themselves, and when they are this close it is fascinating to listen to all the constant conversations they have amongst themselves.