Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spring is Here!!

Today was truly spring.  The birds were many.  And there was a groundhog who emerged and grabbed a nearby branch. Deer and best of all the first warbler of the season - a pine warbler.

The Tufted Titmouse

Northern Flicker

Kissing Black Capped Chicadees

Ground Hog with Branch

White Tailed Deer

Bluebird between the Buds

The Pine Warbler Hiding behind the Branch


Monday, April 5, 2021

Box Turtle in the Woods Today

I spent a good three hours scouring the woods in Valley Forge today looking for something interesting to photograph.  Finally on my way out of the woods there he was.  A little orange box turtle just sitting there with a fly on his back.  Oh the thrill of it all!

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Toads Were All Gone!!

Last Thursday and Friday I spent long hours at  Pawlings Farm where truly hundreds of American toads were doing their annual mating dance in the vernal  pools.  There were not nearly as many as in years past, but still there were hundreds.  I told my daughter- in- law that she and her daughter Piper should come with me to see this amazing scene.  I met Lynne and Piper in our driveway and then she followed me the 30 minutes or so to Pawlings Farm. I was so excited about getting there. We got to the spot and parked.  The first thing I noticed was there was no sound....  None.   I couldn't hear the trilling of the toads.  We walked through the fields and to the ponds and there was nothing.  Oh maybe a spare one toad, but nothing!  We walked on.  Piper found a turtle, but that was just about the highlight of all the wildlife we saw.  We walked on just at the water's edge.  We found two dead toads, but all the rest were gone.  It's amazing how they come, they do their stuff and they go.  We did after a long while find a nice mating couple and lots and lots of long strings of toad eggs that will soon become thousands of tadpoles.  They will mature into little toads and then hop back into the forest.  Such a marvelous life cycle.  Anyway, we had a great time even without the big crowd.  Here are some fun photos with Lynne and Piper and the wildlife we did find.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Pileated Take-Off - Valley Forge

 There were two of these beauties playing in the woods on Monday.  I tried to get them both in the same frame, but they would not cooperate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

"Praise the Lord on High"

 The bluebirds are everywhere in Valley Forge.  This one today was so happy.  Can't you just hear him praising the Lord!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Bluebird and the Fly - Spring has Sprung!!

     I had an exceptional Sunday afternoon with a pair of bluebirds in Valley Forge National Park.  When I parked in the parking lot I saw a bluebird fly into the woods.  I hiked into the woods to find him and there he was with the Mrs.  He flew further and further into the woods.  Finally I pulled out my cell phone and played a little bluebird song.  He and she came rushing back to find out who was singing.  It was a long long recording and I just let it go.  The bluebirds at first were very skittish.  But after about a half hour they got used to me and actually kept flying away and then would come back.  The female would fly away, the male, who was very friendly and inquisitive would fly after her but always come back and she would follow.  Here are a few photos:


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Red Tails in Valley Forge and Charlestown Meadows TODAY!

 I only had a little time this morning, but still decided to run out to Valley Forge and see if I could find anything.  I parked in the parking lot and there he was in the tree where he usually is.  I spent about an hour with him.  Nothing spectacular, but always a thrill.  Then I came home and Tom and I went to drop off our taxes.  On the way home coming through Charlestown Meadows, there was our other Red Tailed Hawk sitting at the top of the bog just as pretty as can be.  We drove home.  I ran down to the bog to see if he was still there and he was but flew to another perch just off the lower parking lot.  I ran back, got my camera, threw it into the car and got to the parking lot and then took lots of shots, but nothing great.  He flew off to a far away tree that is beginning to bud.  I got him.  It's greatly cropped but still love his position hiding between the branches.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

"Would You Like a Cup of Tea?"

Came across this old favorite in the archives and could not resist.  Spring is on its way.  I can feel it in the air.  Nobody has been around for a few days.  But pretty soon the little guys will be coming out to play. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

We Got Married!!!

 Valentine's Day 2021 was a big day in our lives.  Tom and I tied the knot in a little ceremony here at home in Charlestown Meadows.  We would have loved to have a big celebration, but with Covid, we just had our kids - Yumiko and Jessi and Tom's kids and grandkids.  Here's a little picture taken with Yumiko's cell phone on a timer sitting on the mantel.  Oh happy happy day!

Friday, February 12, 2021

"Would you like an hors d'oeuvres?"

Getting ready for the wedding tomorrow!!  Valentine's Day.  Yikes!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Merlin Falcons and Friends

It was a snowy day today in Valley Forge. I think Valley Forge may have gotten at least a foot of snow. Right from the start, it was a good day.  A young red tailed hawk was stalking in a tree close by.  (click to really see him.)

Then I came across what I think was a female Merlin Falcon, who was a bit annoyed by me, but stayed for quite some time.  Her she is:

After the Mrs. flew away, along came the Mr. with a poor tree sparrow in his talons:  I watched him have his lunch and while all that was happening, the Harrier Hawk flew by looking for her own lunch.

Here she is.  Some days are just so good!!:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Contemplation Wins Second Place in December Betterphoto.com Contest!!!

It sure does not look like this outside today.  We are in the midst of a good snow storm with maybe 12 inches expected.  This little titmouse is warm and snug in a little hole in a tree in Charlestown Meadows, I'll betcha.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Bluebirds at Dusk

It was an amazing afternoon.  When I got out of the car in the parking lot at Valley Forge, the harrier hawk flew RIGHT over my head and looked right at me.  I am sure she knew I didn't have my camera set up so just sort of mocked me by flying so close.  Then I walked down the path and there was the Kestrel in the tree. And at the end of the long path was a fox walking right towards me until he saw me and then turned around and walked slowly

back.  Then searching, searching, searching and all of a sudden a little flock of bluebirds.  They are such beautiful little birds with so much personality.  Here's my favorite of the day.  It's called "Ready, Set, Go!" Click on those little birdies to get a feel for just how darling they are...

Monday, January 18, 2021

Cooper's hawk!!!


                                                                       A few days ago I came across a hawk in the woods and posted his picture on Facebook.  A friend said it might be a red shouldered hawk.  But then another friend said it might be a rare sighting of a juvenile Northern Goshawk.  This friend was very excited, so much so, that I went back to Valley Forge yesterday looking for the hawk.  I got to a part deep in the woods full of little birds including lots of cardinals.  I stopped, set up my tripod and started photographing when all of a sudden a hawk dropped right into my setting.  I am not good at identifying hawks, but it was so beautiful and looked so much like the hawk from the day before, I was totally wowed.  He stood there for a minute and then hopped behind some tall grasses to hide from me.  He could not have been more than 15 to 20 feet away.  I held my breath and didn't take my eye from the camera - just waiting for the hawk to fly.  I couldn't see him, but I knew he was there.  We did this little unmoving dance for about five minutes when I heard movement right behind me and in my peripheral vision, I could see a brown blur running past me.  I knew instinctively that it was a fox, but I was NOT going to take my eyes off of the hidden hawk.  The hawk heard the fox too and jumped up onto a little stump directly in front of me and posed beautifully for my camera.  He was way too close for a really good shot as I was hemmed in by the bush behind me, but he still stayed for a few dozen photographs and then flew to a further branch.  I took a video for a few seconds and then poof, he was gone.  I showed the hawk's photograph to my friend and he said it was not the Northern Goshawk, but just the lowly Cooper's hawk.  Be that as it may, it was a wonderful few minutes in the woods. Click on the photo to get the full effect of its beauty.