Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 18, 2015

Six Photos, Six Days, Day 3

ducks

“Harold, why are we stopping here? Are you sure this is even a pond?”

“Yes, dear, of course dear.”

“But Harold, this pond has such hard edges, and I’m pretty sure there is a human stalking us!”

“Yes, dear, of course dear.”

“Harold, are you even listening to me?”

“Yes, dear, of course dear.”

“Harold? HAROLD!!! I’m going to shove that beak right into that feathered patootie of yours if you don’t start listening to me!”

“Yes, dear….ughmumph!!”

Real story
As you may remember from last year (or click here if you don’t), we had to replace our pool when the heft of the heavy snow collapsed the wall of our old one. We certainly had our share of snow again this past winter, and it took its time melting in the spring. Sometime in March, I believe, my husband decided to loosen the cord around the cover of the pool to allow it to relieve some strain from the weight of the snow. As it melted and became more icky, he decided at the end of April to remove the cover in an attempt to keep the goo from falling into the water. I was dubious about this move since late April is not a time in New England when one wants to be concerning oneself with keeping a pool clean. His decision so I let him deal with it in his way and kept my mouth shut. As May progressed, as I had predicted to myself, the pool was looking quite a bit like a pond. These ducks made regular visits through most of the month, having a swim and hanging out by their private pond. By the end of May, my husband starting taking care of it and making it more like a pool again, and the ducks didn’t return.

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March 31, 2013

Spring’s Arrival

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate it today. Easter is a day that is low key for me. We celebrated secularly, more so in the past when the girls were little and believed in the Easter Bunny. Now that they are nearly grown up, I still buy them a chocolate bunny, and I saw these donuts that I thought would amuse them, so I bought them too:
Easter donut
but that is about the extent of our Easter celebrations.
In the spirit of a lovely, long spring weekend Mama Nature has been fairly cooperative in that respect. Yesterday was a sunny day with temperatures in the 50’s so the dogs and I went out for a nice walk.
Daphne had her first “swim” in the little creek that crosses our path:
Daphne's first "swim" of the year
I only had my 75-300mm lens with me, so with the dogs on their leash, I couldn’t get far enough away to fit all of her into one shot. This shot, taken while I was trying, amuses me:
relaxing in the water
In addition to Daphne’s little swim, I had another first of the year. I heard peepers for the first time! Here’s a short video I took with my phone so that you could hear them too:

While we ambled by this small spring time swamp (it dries up come summertime), I saw a cute little couple:

 swampy ducks
I don’t know if this is their temporary home or just a stopover on their way elsewhere.

As we continued on our way, a hawk lazily soared in circles above our heads:
soaring hawk
The blue and the warmth and the peepers and the birds and Daphne’s swim: it all added up to a peaceful feeling of spring really being on the way. I may not celebrate Easter religiously, but this was my own little feeling of the rebirth of springtime.

I could easily end this post right here, but I have two other bits of news I wanted to share. First of all, Meghan has made her decision about where she will attend college in the fall: Clark University.

Clark is in Worcester, MA, a medium-sized city about 45 miles away from here. It is far enough away for her to live on campus, but close enough to come home when she would like. This decision is kick-starting the excitement of the end of senior year and planning for the future. Plenty more about all that in the days to come!

The other little bit I have for you is a rare “selfie”. I went to get my hair done yesterday, and at the last minute decided to have it highlighted. I decided I wanted a little change for spring, and I’m very happy with the results. I worked very hard yesterday afternoon trying to take a self-portrait of myself that I didn’t hate, and finally came up with this one that I like:
highlights3

However you spend this day, celebrating Easter or not, I hope it is warm and wonderful where you are.

July 17, 2012

Camping Critters

No, the critters didn’t go camping, but I did see quite a variety on our camping trip to Goshen, MA last weekend.
dar

A morning hike to a fire-tower brought me my first dragonfly shot of the season:
dfly

as well as an encounter with a bird that I’d never seen before:

grouse

We wondered at first if it was a quail, but the members of our group believed this nearly chicken-sized bird to be too large to be a quail.  Later in the day, the word for this bird just popped into my head, unbidden: grouse!

When I came home, I double checked my thought on the computer and the description of this bird seems to match that of a ruffled grouse.

An afternoon walk to the small lake beach provided a couple more interesting creature encounters.  This creature was of a very familiar type, but I’d never seen one quite doing this before:

dogswim

I know many dogs, especially retrievers (not MY retriever of course!), enjoy swimming, but I’d never seen one swimming along side a cayak.

A pair of ducks made their way into the swimming area too.  They were unafraid of the people in the area.  I took a few pictures out of habit, but then I was happily surprised to capture this one:

duck2

I don’t know if this was the he or the she of the pair, as both ducks looked virtually identical.  I think he/she looks ready to conduct a symphony!

A far less symphonic critter was the next to slither by my lens:

snake

I’m not generally bothered all that much by snakes, not that I’d like to have one for a pet or anything mind you, so getting this photo didn’t require much bravery on my part.  Later, however, my friends at the campsite looked at this picture zoomed in and believe we were in the company of a small copperhead snake – a venomous, but not overly dangerous or agressive snake.

There were also the usual chattering, curious red squirrels and chipmunks that ran around our campsite, but I somehow didn’t manage any photos of those.  One brave chipmunk that chose to come a little closer to us was rewarded with a treat of peanuts – I wish I had gotten a picture of those stuffed up cheeks.

Heat and humidity have taken over this region once again; upper 90’s are forecast and we are under a heat advisory.  Hope you are keeping cool today, whatever you are doing.

May 22, 2012

Happenings

Filed under: For the Birds,What's Blooming — Karma @ 4:42 pm
Tags: , , ,

It has been more than a week since I posted – I’ve been a bit of a slacker, I suppose, but then this tends to be the “When I Feel Like It” way.  It has been a busy week as we approach the end of the school year (16 days of school left for me!), recital around the corner and spring in full bloom.  In addition to all the good, a drop of the bad had to rear its ugly head as well.  On my way home from work yesterday I was the victim of a motor vehicle accident.  While I was stopped behind several cars waiting to take a left turn, a very young and newly licensed driver hit my car from behind.  I am fine, but my poor car is damaged yet again and having a reunion with the body shop it has already visited 3 times in its past (none of those incidents my fault, by the way!)  So how about the photos of the nice stuff that happened this week?

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Mandaville hanging flower basket from my daughter for Mother’s Day

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Peonies, ready to bust open

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My little lupin, in light and shadow

ducks
Mr. & Mrs. Duck, stopping by my still covered pool – the water on the cover is sure to contain a variety of tasty insects

A pair of hummingbirds has returned to my yard. I was distracted getting ready for work one morning in my attempt to take these pictures:
humming1

humming2

My dearly loved bearded irises have started to bloom:
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While sitting outside hoping to find a nice shot for Scott’s Blue Hour assignment, due this week, I was thrilled to come up with this iris photo:
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I’m particularly happy with how that one came out.

I’m not as happy with how my blue hour attempts came out. I’m still deciding whether I will choose to post them tomorrow for Scott’s deadline.

What’s been happening with you?

November 11, 2011

Best of, Part 1

Filed under: For the Birds,Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:08 pm
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Scott’s assignment for this month is to show off your “best” photos of the last year (from Nov.1, 2010 to Oct. 31, 2011).  Like Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit, I think I’m going to have to be a bit of a rule-breaker this time around.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through my archives from the last twelve months, trying my best to narrow down.  Scott said he was looking for a minimum of 3 photos, but that we could share as many as we wished.  So maybe I’m not really rule-breaking all that much, but like Kathy, I’ve decided to do a few posts on the subject.  To keep it interesting, I’ve categorized my favorites and will do a post for each category.  I believe I’ve shared the majority of these with you already, but maybe some will be new to some of you, and at the very least forgotten about by some of you regular readers.

My first category I’m sharing is Birds.  Through the various feeders in my yard, and birding opportunities in the woods and on vacation, I’ve gotten very interested in trying to get decent photos of these fast-moving creatures.  I actually took one of my favorites just a few days ago, but that doesn’t count for Scott’s assignment!

I was absolutely thrilled to get my first pictures of a hummingbird this year.  I had a pair that seemed to make their home very close to my yard this past summer and I was lucky enough to get some unique photos of which I’m proud.
My first hummingbird picture!

hummingbird edit

humbird1

hum3

The photo-elusive male cardinal finally stayed around long enough for me to get some nice pictures this year.  Suet cakes turned out to be the key to getting Mr. C to hang around!

Male cardinal

On a visit to Cape Cod a pair of mallard ducks were quietly swimming in a small creek near my mother’s house, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them in the pretty afternoon light.
Mrs. Duck

Mr. Duck

A return visit to the Cape in July provided me with my first photo of an osprey.
osprey

Seeing this bird of prey and getting this photo gave me a thrill.

I believe the above to be my best avian photos of 2011.  Out of all photos I plan to share over the next few days, these shots gave me my strongest sense of accomplishment due to the challenging nature of the subjects, and the way they forced me to learn more about using my camera.

By the way, I just realized that this assignment will reflect a year of growth in learning to use my Rebel; I bought the Canon in July of 2010, and the time period for the assignment begins four months later.  Kinda cool, huh?

You still have plenty of time to participate in Scott’s assignment – it isn’t due until November 16th!  I hope many of you will jump in and show off your best!

ETA: I forgot to mention that I had some bird photo goals for this year that went unfulfilled.  I had been hoping to also photograph an oriole, a clear shot of a red-winged blackbird (the only one I got this year can be seen here) and Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal together in one shot.  Bob or Tracy, any advice for fulfilling those goals?

August 23, 2011

This one’s for the birds

Filed under: For the Birds,Travel — Karma @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve found myself drawn to bird photography this year, and Hills Beach was no lack of opportunity for avian shots.  I think most of my photos are of fairly typical shore birds, but I’ve made a selection of some favorites whether it was the bird itself or the situation that interested me.  I can’t begin to work my way through figuring out which birds are which types of pipers or plovers and such – I’m hoping maybe Bob Zeller will pop by and give me some identification help!

First, the easy ones:
gull

young herring gull  The typical “sea gull” found just about everywhere.  Normally I wouldn’t post a gull picture, but this guy just kind of ambled into my shot and I liked it.

On one of my walks, I watched some terns diving for fish:
diving tern

diving tern

kersplash

Splash!

Last year, I discovered a great blue heron making its home in a little cove.  I’d hoped to get some closer shots than I managed last year, but Mr. Heron was still playing shy:

blue heron

Did you know they have two-headed ducks in Maine?  Really! Have a look:
two headed duck! ;-)

😉

Speaking of ducks, a pair swam up near to where I was sitting waiting for the sunrise:
sunrise ducks

They waddled up on to the beach, almost as if to say hello:
ducks say hello

“Eh, how you doin’?”

For this shot, I just have to say, “What the duck?”
strange duck

Strange one, no?

My other shore birds of unknown specific names are in that piper/plover category that I always mix up.  Be sure to speak up if you can straighten me out:
piper/plover?

piper/plover?

These curious little birds would shuffle their feet in the shallow water on the sand bars and stick their beaks into what they shuffled up:
shore birds shuffling feet

They look like little gulls of some sort; here’s how they compare in size to the typical sea gull:
shore birds with gull

I’m going to fly the coop now, but I’ll be watching like a hawk for your wise as an owl comments that I hope will be something to crow about…. okay, I’ll stop now! 😉

April 19, 2011

Awesome Weekend, Part 2

Filed under: Travel,What's Blooming — Karma @ 5:15 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

As promised, this is the Cape Cod edition of my Awesome Weekend.  After our delicious luncheon  and an afternoon chatting with our BFF Renae, my girls, my sister, my mother and I made the trip to Mom’s place on Cape Cod.  We arrived late evening Saturday, so my photos that I have to share with you are from Sunday which turned out to be a sunny but windy day.  The seagulls were drifting…
Bass River

… and the windsurfers were surfing!

windsurfer

As I said, it was a sunny day, but it wasn’t that warm!  Check out my “crew” at the beach at Bass River:
IMG_4217

Left to right: Sarah, Jennifer, Mom, Meghan

After our windy beach visit, the sun was still lovely and warm, so I requested a little walk around Mom’s neighborhood to see what might be in bloom on the Cape.  I found some pretty sights.  These were growing in the backyard, and I found out over at Barbara’s blog that they are called chionodoxa.

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Daffodils are in bloom just about every where you look down at the Cape (still not in my front yard though, hmmpph!)

daffies

These grew in a large carpet at the front of someone’s property.  We wondered if it could be heather.  Any ideas?

Mystery purple flower

A sweet little pair of ducks was swimming in a little swampy pond in the neighborhood and I couldn’t  help taking some snaps of the cuties in the late afternoon sun:

Mr. & Mrs.

Mrs. Duck

Mr. Duck

Our weekend, in addition to the beach visit and sight-seeing, of course included shopping and good eats, with a very healthy dose of laughter.  Pretty awesome weekend, wouldn’t you say?

May 18, 2010

Mesmerizing Mystic – Part 1, the critters

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 4:54 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have a weekend away with two of my favorite people:

(Left to right: Renae, me, Jennifer; taken by Jennifer with her self-timer)

A couple of years ago, the three of us were lucky enough to have a little getaway with Rosanne from Shrew’s Daily Shutters, along with Dawn of Music Maven (two ladies whom I hope will be back to blogging some day!) to Newport, RI.  We had an awesome time.  After that, I started thinking, these little getaways should be a part of my life more often.  Jennifer and I have been friends with Renae since we were very young children, and we consider her our sister-from-another-mother yet, the three of us had never gone on a trip, just the three of us.  This past weekend, that changed.  For our getaway, we chose Mystic CT, home of the famous:
P5152192

Our weekend began on Friday afternoon with a visit to the quaint Olde Mistick Village.  We browsed the shops and made purchases for the kiddos back home.  However, the subjects that charmed me for photo-taking this day were:
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Duck…..
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Duck…..
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Goose!

That evening, we headed over to Mohegan Sun.  We had dinner there at a place called SolToro Tequila Grill.  I think that Jennifer will probably have a write-up about our food, so I won’t get into much here.  I will add a link to her post when it is available.

Saturday morning brought a visit to Mystic Aquarium.  The aquarium had many opportunities to be thinking about Scott’s latest challenge, but I regretfully did not get the chance to brush-up with my camera manual before our trip.  I did do some switching of scene setting in my attempts to capture some great animal and fish shots, but lighting conditions and fast-moving creatures challenged me!  I deleted tons of blurry fish pics, and most of my shots of the sea lion show were disappointing.  However, I did get some keepers with which I was happy:
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Sea lion
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Beluga Whale
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I liked the “expression” on the face of the penguin to the left
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Big ol’ bullfrog
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Clown fish

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Sea horse – they really aren’t that cute of a creature up close, are they?

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This is one of my less blurry pictures taken indoors, in low light with a fast moving subject.  I’d love to learn how to improve this sort of shot.  I believe I took it on one of my quick-shutter settings, in the attempt to capture the ray itself, but that’s obviously not all this shot needs.  Feel free to leave advice in the comments.

Here’s one more shot that I took, especially for Tracy:
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If you are not familiar with Tracy’s blog, you should go check it out.  Tracy takes many beautiful animal and plant photos, and when she can, she always posts the Latin or scientific name of the creature.  My sister pointed out while we were at the aquarium, that the humorous folks who work there thought to include the “Latin” name of the “Newexhibit fish” – exhibitus modernicus  (in case you can’t make it out in that photo).

I’ve still got lots more to write and show about our trip to Mystic – enough to share in another post!  Part 2 will be posted very soon!