Sunday, June 25, 2017

Garden Suspect... In Theft of Blueberries!









We really like blueberries... and have a few bushes in our yard.... The problem is that we are not the only ones who like those blueberries. sigh.


Beautiful blueberry blossoms indicated a  good amount of blueberries for this season. We sure looked forward to harvesting them.






 They ripen at different times so we check them every day when they are starting to ripen. 

Most years, the birds eat so many of them that we don't get many at all. This year, my husband started picking them early... and they were a bit sour, but at least WE were eating them. :)









 Even some of the nice looking blue ones were still not sweet, but we enjoyed them anyway.














































 What fun to see so many blueberries out there this year... and to be able to actually eat many of them.















  This week, I found about 5 of these beetles on the bushes and we killed as many of them as we could, but some got away. 

This is not a good thing to find Japanese Beetles as they can cause lots of damage. We will be careful to watch for them and kill them as we can. No, we will not be using pesticides, but will try to control them naturally.




 We keep checking and enjoying blueberries though, BUT... we have started to find blueberries with part of it gone... and suspected birds.















 When I was in the garden taking pictures yesterday, I was startled by this guy flying close to me to fly by the blueberry bush I was near. 

Then he landed on the fence.... and acted so innocent. (Notice the dark stuff on his beak... it is evidence!)













 Then he quickly took off again... and went back to the fence to sit and look innocent. Then I noticed the blueberry in his beak. I can't believe how fast he could fly through and get a blueberry or a part of one. 

It was also strange that I was standing only about 4 feet or so from where he was getting the blueberries, showing he wasn't scared of me being there. I guess those blueberries were just too enticing.


 So... when I saw the picture of the blueberry all over his beak, I made a fun picture and sent it to my family members on email. They laughed.




























Now, lest you become alarmed that I am truly waging war on birds, rest assured that I do like birds and have written many blog posts showing that. Here are a few of them, if you want to click on the link and see the blog posts:

Cardinals Raise Their Young

Baby Birds and Baby Humans

Busy Bird Bath House

God Feeds the Birds... a Bread Stick?

Like Baby Birds

Birds of the Air

Beautiful Cardinals

These are just some of the posts I have written about birds... backyard birds. There are many others, including about a Blue Heron, Black Swans, Geese... and more. So.... I am NOT a bird hater. Please don't assume that I am. 

Sometimes we put netting on the blueberry bushes to protect them... other times, we have used a blow up "eye" that is supposed to scare the birds. We have used an owl statue in the garden... and old CDs or streamers blowing in the wind. They are persistent though... and they like our blueberries... and our blackberries... and the tomatoes and strawberries... and more. 

SO....  I am choosing to laugh about it and plan to do better again next year. :)  This year is so busy and I am thankful we were able to eat as many of the blueberries as we did... and we will keep checking the bushes each day in case the birds leave any for us!


  If you garden, you may also face sharing your produce with the birds. How do you deal with them? Have you found some great ideas... or some that didn't work too well?  Please feel free to share in the comments. 

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful week.   🙂





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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Great Blue Heron Pictures













 We see Blue Herons once in a while when we go to a lake, but we don't see them often, so it was nice to see this one and get lots of great pictures! 































 The  Great Blue Heron is an interesting bird that looks a bit odd with its slow and stiff-looking movements and yet with a gracefulness also. 

They don't swim, but rather walk in the water on long legs.











I was able to watch this heron for about half an hour and it was very interesting. He spent a lot of time looking at the water....

He stared quite intently for a bit, then his head quickly went down into the water and he came up with a fish!

















Here he has the fish up higher in his bill.... then he tipped his head back and swallowed it so quickly that I did not get that picture. I was pleased to get the picture with the fish though.  :)












He went back to looking at the water...  and I assume he was looking for more fish.

These birds are really tall... about 4 feet tall with a wingspan of about 6 feet. Once in a while, on blustery days, we will see a Blue Heron fly over our house in the city, but that doesn't happen often. 

When he flew away, I missed the flight since I didn't recognize that he was ready to fly. I did catch the landing though.












On land, it is nice to see the high stepping walk of the Heron....







It was also fun to see what I am calling "The  Heron Strut".  I was surprised at how strong their legs look. The next picture shows the "Heron Strut". 




































The Heron in the pond...



Again, I am continually amazed at God's creativity in making such a variety of creatures....  and they are perfectly suited to what they need.















" And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."  Genesis 1:20




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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Flowers.... and Macro Photography Tips








I love the detail in this picture... it even shows the little hairs that we might not see without looking so closely.  There are patterns in so many parts of nature and it can be rewarding to notice those.





I love the lacy look of these weeds...  and of the leaves. The black background helps to bring out the detail as well.



















The detail in flowers is amazing... and yet we miss so much of it. Macro photography can show details we would miss otherwise... and I really enjoy using macro.





Here are yarrow flowers... yarrow is an herb that has some pretty little flowers... This picture is more focused in the center and right side.

I saved a copy of this picture by going to file at the top and clicking on "Save a copy".  After doing that, I was able to use the same picture to create another picture.

I wanted to go in tighter to see the detail on those little flowers.











Sometimes a picture works well as a macro photo... other times as a regular. It is a good idea to experiment... and you learn so much. 


























 Here are yarrow flowers that are not open all the way yet. I liked the look.












This is the same picture and all I did was to add some shadow to it... now the flowers stand out more. 



TIP-Sometimes just a little touch can make a difference.











An echinacea flower that isn't open all of the way has a special look.




Here's another echinacea flower bud with one that is open in the background.  The background flower can add interest.


I moved to the side a bit and captured the same two flowers, but from a different angle. The picture is more balanced and interesting in the second one although the first one would work also.

TIP: Experiment... have fun... see what appeals to you. You may find a style that is all your own.






 The following echinacea isn't open at all.. and yet it has a beauty also. By moving in tighter and doing a macro shot, details emerge like the hairy edges to the leaves and the wonderful pattern of the flower.






TIP Take pictures of weeds... you don't need to wait until you can find "real" flowers. Practice on weeds or herbs or leaves or whatever you find. You may be amazed to find some pictures that you really like. 




 These are just thistles... weeds.... and yet there is so much detail to capture... both in the opened heads and the buds. This is another picture that could be cropped down in several ways to highlight various details.












 This is just an onion top that is going to seed. Nothing special.. until you notice all of the many little parts and see the wonderful beauty in it. 

This picture could be enlarged or cropped to show the detail much more.






 These yellow flowers are tiny little flowers, so this is enlarged much beyond the original. One flower is in focus more than the other. This is a photo that I could copy and focus in more on the center of the largest flower although the clarity would suffer if it was enlarged much more, so this may be the best size for it. More experimenting is possible.








 These columbine are beautiful... and hard to photograph for some reason.















































 A different type of Columbine... and beautiful also.




Thank you for visiting... I hope you are enjoying your photography and learning a lot. Have you tried macro photography or do you plan to try it? I would love to hear about it in the comments. Have a great week! 


Photography Tips Series:

Tea.... and Photography Tips

A Killdeer.... and Photography Tips

A Tree's Best Side Photography Tips

Clouds... and Photography Tips

Black and White Photography Tips




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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cardinals Raise Their Young








We've had some cardinals in our yard... and we noticed that they kept going inside the burning bush, so we looked and found a nest. How fun.....  we started watching the nest and were glad to see an egg, then another and so on.

 May 7



There are now 4 eggs in the nest. The mother bird came and went from the nest.












May 16


  

Two of the little ones hatched.... and the mama bird stayed pretty close to the nest.... 



















May 17





The babies have a bit more fuzz now. Three babies have hatched now although one of the babies is rather hidden in the nest. 
















 These little guys remind me of the book my kids loved hearing when they were little. I think it was called, "Feed Me".  :)


The eyes of the young birds are still closed on this day. 











Still one egg in the nest that needs to hatch.














May 18



 The poor mama bird was very wet at the time of this picture... we had so much rain and she faithfully sat on the nest. What a good mama. :)














 These little birds don't look like much yet, but we were sure enjoying seeing them grow!


































May 20


 This day shows some changes... the eyes are starting to open and they are getting some feathers. 

They eat a LOT. The parents are rushing to the nest to feed the little ones and then away to find more food.


































May 22



 They are getting a bit bigger.


















 Papa Cardinal keeps a close watch on those babies.... especially when we go outside. He stays very attentive.

He would perch in various places where he could watch.. and if another bird came near the nest, he would fly over to the bush to chase the intruder away from Mama Cardinal and the babies.

































May 23



 They are showing a lot more color now... the feathers are darkening...














 May 24

   
They are finally looking more like birds........................


and of course, they still want to eat most of the time!   🙂













   The nest is starting to get crowded as they grow so fast..... and their expressions are so funny... they look like angry little birds! 

By this time we noticed that the unhatched egg was gone... we never found it down below and aren't sure what happened to it, but it wasn't in the nest any longer.... we assume it got too old and just wouldn't hatch so the parents removed it.
































May 25



 The mama bird stayed on that nest and it was funny to see her perched so high on it. The first picture I had of her on the nest only showed her tail feathers since the rest of her was down inside the nest.











 May 26






 One of the babies made it to the edge of the nest...



 The next picture of this guy is so cute, but this is the best I could get...  it's not as clear as I wanted it to be.  I love how he is perched on there.

He(or she!) left the nest this same day.. and the second one left the next day.












 What a strangely cute little face and expression!













May 27


Only one little one left. Here the little bird is drenched... we had so much rain and he was quite soaked. 

The parent birds were kept busy tending to this baby and the other two who had left the nest. We found one of the babies in the neighbor's bush, but never saw the babies after that. 

What a fun experience to watch this wonderful process of eggs hatching and little birds growing. 

I really loved seeing how protective the parent birds were of the babies and how protective the papa bird was of the babies and the mama. He brought food for her and the babies at some times.  Those parent birds were really busy for a few days trying to feed those little ones.  I love that God put the knowledge in these birds to act as parents should act... they did what they were created to do.

What a marvelous opportunity to see God's creation and His wonderful handiwork... up close. We sure enjoyed this and learned much too. We still see the parent birds in our yard, but haven't seen the babies... and we wonder if they are looking more like the parents yet. Maybe one day we will catch a glimpse of them again... we'll keep watching.... 

Thank you for visiting..... I hope you are enjoying this and other evidences of spring and of God's creation where you live.    :) 



Other Bird posts you may enjoy:

Like Baby Birds











A Few Fowl Silhouettes










Birds and Squirrels














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