Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 21, 2013

Maine Discoveries

Each morning on my vacation in Maine, I would take a walk on the expansive beach. At Hills Beach, I think I’ve mentioned before that when the tide goes out, it goes WAY out:
Hills Beach, low tide
Low tide allows for long walks and exploration. The tide times lined up beautifully for most of the week for me to wander the sand bars and make simple discoveries.

Fun Footprints
I was focused on these gull footprints ambling up a little incline in the sandbar, and made the happy discovery when I later looked at the photo of the sparkling water in the upper right corner.

Here is a better view of the somewhat “steep” sandbar:
sand dollar haven

This particular sandbar turned out to be a great place for discovering these:
sand dollars
I just love sand dollars. I took home 4 this year. I’m trying to decide what I could do with them to display them.

Continuing down this sand bar, I noticed a noisy group of gulls flocking in one particular area.
snowy egret 3
I figured the fishing must have been good that day and watched them happily dipping in the water and calling out. Suddenly my eyes caught something just a little bit different in this group. Did you see my discovery?
snowy egret 2
A snowy egret! (There are actually two of them in the first shot) This is a new-to-my-camera bird. I’ve of course heard of them before, and may have seen them at some point, but I’d never been close enough to get pictures. I sat down on the sand bar and happily snapped away.
snowy egret 4

snowy egret 1

snowy egret 5

I guess you wouldn’t call these other birds discoveries, since I have photographed them before, but I’d still like to share them with you. I have a bit of a history here on the blog with attempting to photograph birds of prey. I was surprised one morning while eating my breakfast to see a small hawk swoop down right in the neighbor’s front yard:
beach hawk

It landed on the fence and seemed to be chasing a rather cheeky squirrel who didn’t seem afraid. Here’s the squirrel on the lower rung of the fence, and the hawk is on the ground to the lower left of the shot:
Cheeky squirrel & hawk

I also visited with my friend the great blue heron, who I always seem to find hanging out in the same spot near the tiny harbor around the bend from the beach.
great blue heron

One evening when I had taken the camera outside to capture those beautiful colors I showed you in the last post, I saw the heron wading in one of the tide pools. Most of my attempted shots of it came out too blurry due to the fading light. I did get this one of it taking flight, which I think could have been very lovely if I knew how to do it correctly:
heron take-off
I would have loved for the edges of this bird’s silhouette to have been more defined so that you could see it more clearly, but that is beyond my photo editing skills, if it is even possible with this shot.

Discoveries old and new – hope you enjoyed exploring Hills Beach with me.

July 10, 2013

A Peek at Peaks

This past weekend, my sister invited me to spend a couple days with her on Peaks Island in Maine. Peaks is a small island in Casco Bay, about 15 minutes from mainland Portland by ferry. Her husband’s family has been vacationing on Peaks for many years. I’ve been to visit a few times in the past, but my most recent trip prior to this past weekend was about 5 years ago, so I decided to take Jennifer up on her offer.

During the ferry ride, I had a view of the iconic Portland Headlight:
Portland Headlight from Casco Bay

Approach to Peaks Island:
Approach to Peak's Island

Each morning I was there, Jennifer and I and her cute little cavachon, Ozzie
happy Ozzie
took an around-the-island walk of about 4.5 miles.

I saw many beautiful flowers in bloom:
black-eyed susan

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This cottage had gorgeous climbing flowers (roses? not sure!)
climbing roses on cottage

Probably of no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, sea birds also caught my camera’s attention.
Cormorants:
cormorants

A blue heron:
blue heron

and I’m not sure what kind of duck this is:
Black and white duck? Any id ideas?
I’ve spent some time on my bird identification site and I’ve been unable to come up with an exact match. Any thoughts?

I also got to photograph a new-to-me bird, a cedar waxwing:
cedar waxwing(1)
Isn’t it pretty? It turned around and appeared to be looking right at me:
cedar waxwing(2)

Here’s a sight you don’t see everyday when you are out for a walk:
mailbox sculpture
Don’t ask me, I really don’t know! 😉

Peaks almost always has a lovely sunset to round out your day:
Peak's Island sunset(1)

Peak's Island sunset(2)

I hope you enjoyed your little tour around Peaks Island!

P.S. Scott has a new photo assignment! Pop on over and check it out!

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! 😉

August 23, 2010

My Mystery Photo Subject

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 6:29 pm
Tags: , , ,

Did you read yesterday’s blog entry?  Because if you haven’t, you should really go back and read it before you read this one.  All set now?  Okay, good.

A seal? Beach Blanket Bingo? Hot air balloons? Naked sunbathers?  No, it was none of those things, although any would have made interesting photo subjects.  Well, Scott, maybe not naked sunbathers!

Here is my mystery photo subject as I first saw it:
Blue Heron 1

Coming around the bend in the little, misty harbor – there on the very edge of the bank.  Do you see it?

Blue Heron 2

I was so happy when I saw it standing there!  What a beautiful, tall bird!  I suppose they may actually be quite common, but I’d never had the opportunity to photograph a great blue heron fairly close up.  I quietly stalked the bird, creeping closer and closer, snapping picture after picture, never sure which one would be my last, closest picture.
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Blue Heron 3

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This one, as it turns out, was the closest I got….
Blue Heron 4

…before it flew away:
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Hey, Plainmama could be the owner of that boat in the background!  Although very soon she would have to change the name!

Speaking of other bloggers, the first view I actually got of that heron was on Sunday morning as I made my way down the beach in the other direction.  Rebecca the Housewrecka, another blogger from my town, was winding up her vacation just down the road from me on the weekend that we arrived! Small world, huh?
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I saw it silhouetted like this, so I wasn’t 100% positive it was a heron at the time, but I was pretty sure as I watched it fly away:
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Funny side story about Rebecca and me: Although we live in the same town, we did not know each other at all until she had a photo selected by the Pioneer Woman for one of her photo assignments of the local barber shop in our town, which I also happened to photograph for Scott’s “Hometown” assignment.  (Becky – I couldn’t find your shot from P’Dub – want to leave a link to it in the comments?)  My sister spotted the shot on PDub and told me about it.  We followed the Flickr link to her blog, which I read and started commenting on. Then, one night in town at a summer concert, I saw a woman walking through the crowd with this adorable puppy.  I suddenly made the connection and walked up and asked her if she was who I thought she was – and she somehow knew who I was too!  We figured out we were vacationing in the same spot when I recognized a view on one of her blog posts as being from this place that I love.  Small world indeed!