Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

I saw an article and film earlier today.  The film was of the Imperial Woodpecker. The article also mentioned the Cornell Uni. search to find the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the impenetrable swamps of Arkansas. These were extremely large birds and they were dependent on the old growth forest. Loss of  habitat caused both bird's extinction. 

Pileated Woodpecker hunts for insects
Well, during a duck hunt in an impenetrable swamp in Indiana, the silence of the flooded timber was shattered by the laughing call of a pair of very large woodpeckers.  Wish I could say  I saw an Imperial or Ivory-billed but I can't , they're extinct. The bird I did see is now the largest of the woodpeckers in North America.  One of the bigger birds to be seen, it was a Pileated Woodpecker.

Big bird makes a big hole
About the size of a Mallard. Body and wing feathers are black and white,  its head is topped with a crest of red feathers. They are an impressive bird. A three inch bill is used to chip away wood in their hunt for insects.  The holes made in the trees are large, in a matter of a minute or two, this bird's hole was a six inch square and four inches deep. 

Many species of ducks nest in woodpecker holes
Many animals benefit from the work of the woodpeckers, other birds find grubs in trees that have been chipped open by the Pileated Woodpecker and many other animals expand the woodpeckers holes and use them for nesting hollows.

Black wing fringe, Pileated Woodpecker(Dryocopus pileatus)
Yea, this picture is grossly over-exposed but I like it. It's a good example of the identifying feather pattern of the Pileated Woodpecker. The black fringe on the flight feathers is characteristic of the Pileated.  The Imperial and Ivory-billed  wings are white fringed.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Buckeye

On a spring-like October afternoon, a Buckeye butterfly takes a last sip of Zinnia nectar, before hibernating for the winter. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo Slideshow: At Fine Art America

Photo Art available for purchase at Fine Art America.

Art Prints

Photography Prints

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This was a Hot Summer

Thunder Bumper
Storm clouds to the south, low sun in the west. Somebodies getting rained on.

My future is behind me.
Self portrait, the mirror image from the rear window of my Explore.

Illinois Bundleweed
A native of the Midwestern tall grass prairie. A member of the Mimosa family of plants, commonly called the sensitivity plant.

Canada Geese
Geese loafing on a river mud flat. On the right is a tree felled (gnawed down) by a beaver.

Dog Bane Bush
A native tall grass prairie plant. Bane can mean "stay away", this plant is poisonous to dogs. It is also called Indian Hemp. Dog Bane fibers were used by Native Americans for rope, bowstrings and clothing.  

Unknown Plant
Haven't been able to ID this plant. If you know, leave a comment.

Portrait of a Soft-shell Turtle
I met this turtle on the trail. A big turtle, her shell was 2 feet long.  They have a soft leather like shell.

She was laying her eggs in the gravel. They are also called Pancake Turtle because of their low profile shell.

Over-Dressed for Heat-Stress
The start of another 2 mile hike in the blazin' summer sun.

Don't see many of these, a primitive wasp that looks menacing but are fairly shy.

Cooper Hawk
A young hawk use the yard as his training grounds.

Hottie aka Luckie dog

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicago Air and Water Show, Aug 20-21, 2011

Chicago's Air and Water Show will be this weekend on the Lake Michigan Shore-Line. These P-38 Mustangs flew over head yesterday(08/18/11).

Mustangs over  Gary.

These planes will be based at the Gary-Chicago Airport in Gary.

Need more info try below:
The official tourism site of Chicago
Chicago Tribune's guide to the Chicago Air and Water Show
Tunderbirds in Gary, Sneak Peak.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Short Walk Today.

July 11, 2011...

Think I'll make it a short walk today.  Limit it to a mile, early evening about 6:30 pm, a cool 94 degrees.

My Future is Behind Me.

Before we start we take time for a self-portrait. A reflection in a window on my truck. If you look closely you may see the inside of my truck.

My Future is Behind Me

Picture - winged Fly( Delphinia picta)

A south side view of a north bound fly. This Picture-winged Fly is sitting on my truck moving its wings as tho its sending flag signals.  

This fly is offend confused with the Med Fly but the Picture-winged Fly does not harm any fruit at any time of its life cycle. Its unusually large mouth parts can be used to ID this fly.

Feeds on Decaying Plants


Seeing lots of Catbirds in the area. Makes a 'meow' call, sounds like a cat.  In the Mockingbird Family, It mimics all other songbird and will sing a songbird medley for minutes, if not disturbed.  Good to your earhole!. 


Deer Fly

While walking the marsh, you may notice an insect about an inch long, zooming around your head. Chances are pretty good that  it's a Deer Fly and she's sizing you up for her blood meal.  Their bite is painful and they  are carriers of several diseases.

Deer Fly (Chrysops sp.)


Perch on the willow bush tips along the trail. Waiting for a bug that will make a nice meal.

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Buckeye Butterfly

A butterfly that will migrate north and south as the summer season chages.

Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia )
Cooper's Hawk

Hawk on a hot oak limb.

Cooper's Hawk

Monday, July 18, 2011

2 Mile Walk

Found a trail along the Little Muddy River. It's a mile from start to finish, making it a two mile round trip. An easy walk when dry. Not so easy during high water. A good walk none the less.

Wild Chicory
Common chicory(Cichorium intybus)
Mid-July and the wild Chicory is in bloom. Chicory is used for salads, coffee and greens. It's  a non- native species  from Europa.

Double-crested Cormorants

The dead Cottonwood tree that is used by the cormorants as a preening tree is the half way point of the walk.  Turn around here for a short one mile walk.

Cormorants drying feathers in dead Cottonwood tree.
 Double-crested Cormorants(Phalacrocorax auritus) sunning.

Painted Turtle

I encountered a couple Painted Turtles taking a stroll in the meadow, a ways from the water. Why ? Maybe its turtle making turtle season.
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Wood Ducks!

Common to the river and marsh are Wood Ducks(Aix sponsa) A perching duck that nests in tree hollows. A day after hatching the baby ducks climb to the opening and jump to the ground, sometimes from a height of more than 100 feet. Once the ducklings are on the ground, mama duck leads them to water. 
Male and female Wood Ducks(Aix sponsa)

July is the time for Eclipse. The adult ducks shed and regrown their feathers and until the flight feathers grow back the ducks can not fly.
Drake Wood duck in eclipse.

Male and female ducks look similar because the brightly colored feathers of the males are dropped and the males are brown and gray like the females.
Wood Ducks

The white eye patch will help identify the female Wood Duck.
Female Wood Ducks

A cattail marsh surrounded by woods is the preferred habitat of the Wood Duck.
Cattail Marsh

Well, this is the 1 mile point. Now I turn around and finish the 2 mile walk.  
(If you would like to see enlargements, just click on photos.)