Gullable

It's the time of year many will be heading to the beach. Perhaps you'll visit some of these fellows who are often there.

 Willet

Willet

This large sandpiper looks much different when it flies flashing black and white bars on its wings.

 Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Finding treasure in the surf.

 Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

This gull is getting its breading colors of an all black head.

 Osprey

Osprey

Eyes on the prize before it hits the water.

Stark memories

Old doors open when you don't expect.

 Doorway, Stark County corn crib

Doorway, Stark County corn crib

Growing up, we had a bee hive to pollinate our citrus grove. When I was 11 or 12, the bees swarmed. A cloud of bees, 20 or more feet around, swirled like a tornado near our back door. The swirling got tighter, the cloud got smaller, getting close around a Temple Orange tree. Eventually, the queen landed on a branch and the worker bees clustered around her, a living, whirring bundle. Dad called a beekeeper, who came with his netted hat, calmly grasped the branch the hive clustered on, clipped off the branch, and put the swarm in a box. I never saw another bee swarm.

 Corn crib, soybean fields, and summer sky

Corn crib, soybean fields, and summer sky

I was driving Tuesday, watching a great summer sky, wanting to use my new wide angle filter. (Thank you, you know who.) Finally, I saw something that could anchor an image. I drove up, parked, and walked up to the corn crib.

As I got closer, looking through the viewfinder for a composition, I heard humming. Thinking there must be machinery working inside, I looked up and realized there was a vortex of bees 30 or 40 feet wide swirling around the front of the building. I wanted to get closer for a better shot, but thought that might not be wise.

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 Corn crib and bees, Stark County, Illinois

Corn crib and bees, Stark County, Illinois

I saw the bees were starting to land on an opening between old boards on the building. The cloud of bees was getting smaller. You can see the group centering on the opening and others silhouetted against the sky on the left.

 New bees, old boards

New bees, old boards

 Honey bees finding a new home

Honey bees finding a new home

I went back to the car to get a longer lens. The swarm cloud was getting smaller and more bees were landing on the boards and moving inside. I moved along, transported back nearly fifty years.

Perches

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a fine location to photograph birds. A key to a good photo is finding good perches the birds will land on to separate themselves from the background.

 Dickessel in prairie grasses

Dickessel in prairie grasses

Nice portraits are available when they can be isolated.

 Dickessel Midewin Tallgrass Prairie

Dickessel Midewin Tallgrass Prairie

 Goldfinch in a thorny situation

Goldfinch in a thorny situation

Last year, some new perches were introduced.

 Cowbirds on Bison

Cowbirds on Bison

Cathedrals

Cathedral Valley is a remote spot in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. After a rough road in through high country forest, the land opens to an arid, elevated valley, aptly named after the cathedral-like monoliths inside.

 Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park

Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park

A ridge on the valley edge allows a view down to the Cathedrals.

 Cathedral Valley view

Cathedral Valley view

Stacks

Bandon Beach, Oregon's iconic sea stacks stand sentinel on the coast. They silhouette nicely as the sun sets.

Please read the news at the end of the post. 

 Bandon Beach sunset

Bandon Beach sunset

Sea stacks conveniently frame an image.

 Sea stack bookends

Sea stack bookends

After the sun sets, a long exposure softens the surf.

 Oregon dusk

Oregon dusk

ANNOUNCEMENT:

I will be retiring from the Illinois Education Association at the end of next month. Friday Fotos will not be retiring, but there will be changes. You'll not be getting notice of new blog posts from the ieanea.org email address. If you would like to continue to get email notice when a new post is made, please email me at photos@paulklenck.com and I'll add you to the list. Feel free to share that address and I'm happy to add anyone interested. I'd suggest you add that address to your contacts list or safe senders list. Otherwise, the bulk notice I send might be filtered as spam.

More changes will be coming to the site. Please add your comments to any post, or send an email if you prefer. Cheers!

Marching On

For over 22 years for work I've driven I-55 back and forth to Springfield many, many times. An abandoned farmstead near old Route 66 has captivated me. When the weather and conditions are right, I'll pull over for an image. Here's my earliest with a digital camera. The front porch had recently fallen off the front of the home, and the barn, shed, crib, windmill and other outbuildings were showing their age.

 O'Dell farmstead

O'Dell farmstead

The summer storm clouds over the farmland can create a great show.

 Summer sunset

Summer sunset

By 2010, the farmhouse had collapsed and the barn was on its way.

 Decay

Decay

Some of the windmill and shed are all that are left as I went by this week.

 May sky

May sky

The shed continues to shed its skin and lean more toward collapse.

 Decrepitude 

Decrepitude 

To be?

White Sands National Monument, true to its name, has expanses of gypsum sand glistening blazing white in the New Mexico sun.

 White Sands patterns

White Sands patterns

However, if you stay for dusk, the colors of the sky reflect themselves in the sand.

 Dusk color

Dusk color

You can also pay to have a ranger unlock the gates before dawn to enjoy the early morning color.

 Morning under the Sacramento Mountains

Morning under the Sacramento Mountains

The New Mexico legislature is considering a bill asking the federal government to change the monument's designation to a National Park. The monument is adjacent to White Sands missile range and south of the Trinity site where the first atomic bomb was tested. The proposal suggests exchanging some land with the test site to allow greater access to dunes.

Native Land

Sonoran Desert's Casa Grande National Monument was the country's first prevesered prehistoric structure. Protected by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892, it is estimated to have been built in 1350.

 Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, Arizona

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, Arizona

Fifteen hundred miles north and five hundred years later, the Northwest Fur Company built Fort Union trading post on the Great Plains near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. Assiniboine and other Plains Indians traded furs at the post.

 Tee pees, Ft. Union National Historic Park, North Dakota

Tee pees, Ft. Union National Historic Park, North Dakota

Two hundred years later and two hundred miles east, one of the continent's largest powwows is held at United Tribes Technical College near Bismarck, North Dakota.

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 Dancers and Drummers, United Tribes Powwow, Bismarck, ND

Dancers and Drummers, United Tribes Powwow, Bismarck, ND

A week before the U.S. centennial, Gen. George Armstrong Custer, an egomaniac, racist who wanted to become U.S. President was killed at Little Big Horn battle. Today, at many National Park Service sites with Native history employ Native rangers to recount their history.

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Ranger, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Historic Park, Montana

I'm hungry, Mom!

Robin chicks politely open wide and wait for the food to be brought.

 American Robin

American Robin

On the other extreme, Anhinga chicks shove their heads deep into the parent's gullet searching for food. This went on for several minutes! If you look at the first image in last week's blog, you'll see in the center the mangrove that this chick was perched in. I suspect it fledged that day or the next.

 Anhinga feeding

Anhinga feeding

See ya later, . . .

Alligator home in the Everglades. Swimming beneath the lily pads are hungry reptiles.

 Anhinga Trail, Royal Palm, Everglades National Park

Anhinga Trail, Royal Palm, Everglades National Park

Add the inches from a gator's nostrils to eyes, convert to feet and you have the approximate length of the creature. Ten footer, perhaps.

 American Aligator

American Aligator

Peek below the water and you'll see an alligator smile.

Not that you want to get that close to the eyes.

 Got my eye on you.

Got my eye on you.

And smile for the camera.

 Dental hygenie

Dental hygenie

Walk like an Egyptian

A ranger at Shark Valley Visitor Center in the Everglades mentioned that someone had seen an Egyptian Goose nearby that day. On the alert for the bird, I spotted it next to some water.

 Egyptian Goose, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

Egyptian Goose, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

The next day we visited Crandon Park Gardens in Key Biscayne. The Gardens are the former Miami Zoo and are a lovely location to get bird (and iguana and rabbit) images. The Ibis images from a couple weeks ago were taken there. We spotted an Egyptian Goose and then a family.

 Mom and the kids

Mom and the kids

While dad goose complained about us being nearby, the goslings just showed off.

 Web design

Web design

 Needing to floss

Needing to floss

 Gosling Trio, Crandon Park Gardens, Key Biscayne

Gosling Trio, Crandon Park Gardens, Key Biscayne

While I was shooting one angle, my son Dan was shooting from another side. He snapped this of me on his phone. You can barely make out the three little fellows next to mom. This is right about when I'm taking the image just above. Dad goose, on the right, is hissing at me, while I replied that you guys waddled up to me.

 Laying like an Egyptian

Laying like an Egyptian

How ya feelin'

Some days you feel strong.

 Saguaro

Saguaro

And some days you're just prickly.

 Saguaro National Park East

Saguaro National Park East

Bathing Beauties

White Ibis were doing their evening ablutions at Crandon Gardens park in Key Biscayne. Their long, curved beaks work well for preening.

 White Ibis preening

White Ibis preening

The fellow on the right is a juvenile. Very young Ibis are mostly mottled brown and get more white feathers as they get older. This one just has a few dark feathers on the head.

 Adult and juvenile Ibis bathing

Adult and juvenile Ibis bathing

When the Ibis are ready to breed, their legs, beaks and lores turn from salmon color (back, left bird) to a deep red (front pair).

 Bathing Ibis trio

Bathing Ibis trio

The bathing gets quite exuberant. 

Crandon Gardens Key Biscayne White Ibis Eudocimus albus 137

The University of Miami Hurricanes mascot is the White Ibis. The story is the Ibis are the last to leave and first to return after a hurricane. Another story is the University of Miami colors of orange, white and green come from the Ibis. You can see this fellow showing off its irridesent green wingtips.

 Ibis wingspread

Ibis wingspread

The clean Ibis is ready for its close-up.

Crandon Gardens Key Biscayne White Ibis Eudocimus albus 175a

Anhingas

Anhingas are one of the more curious birds you'll encounter. We called them snake birds when I was growing up for their ability to swim mostly underwater with just their long, thin neck above water. Once out of the water, they spread their wings wide to dry since they lack the oils of most water birds that keeps water off feathers.

Here are some today from Shark Valley, Everglades National Park. I'm hoping to see many more tomorrow on the aptly named Anhinga Trail.

 Anhinga trying to swallow dinner

Anhinga trying to swallow dinner

You can see the fish working its way down the neck, while this male Anhinga tries to figure out what is left dangling off its beak and how to get it off.

 Anhinga, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

Anhinga, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

This Anhinga chick is trying out its wings and should be flying for the first time in a day or two.

 Anhinga chick in sunset light

Anhinga chick in sunset light

Common flocks

Common birds can be engaging subjects. While looking for some Sandhill Cranes in a winter farm field, I came across these Canada Geese.

 Stoic Canada Geese

Stoic Canada Geese

European starlings were introduced to North America allegedly by 19th Century Shakespeare fans, since the birds were mentioned in his work. One of nature's amazing sights is a starling murmuration. If you've never seen a flock morphing into amazing shapes as it flies, google the term, sit back, and be amazed.

 European Starlings

European Starlings

Red Wing Blackbirds also gather in huge flocks and create murmurations. You can find another image from this flock in National Geographic's Backyard Guide to Birds of North America. It is quite exciting to get a call from NG asking to purchase rights to a couple of your photos!

 Blackbird murmuration, LaSalle County, Illinois

Blackbird murmuration, LaSalle County, Illinois

Get Out

No, this isn't a review of the Oscar nominated film -- but it is a terrific movie. Just been watching the Olympics and thinking about the trip this week last winter to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks to enjoy snowy activities, so here is a collection of some folks getting out in the snow and ice.

 Ice sailing, Northerly Island, Chicago

Ice sailing, Northerly Island, Chicago

This fellow was ice sailing over the flats of Northerly Island. You can see the former air traffic control building right behind him when this was Meigs Field and then Soldier Field to the left.

 Ice climbing, LaSalle Canyon, Starved Rock State Park

Ice climbing, LaSalle Canyon, Starved Rock State Park

When it's cold enough--which is happening less and less--people get out to climb the ice falls at Starved Rock.

 Observation Point, Old Faithful Geyser basin

Observation Point, Old Faithful Geyser basin

This is more my speed. Snowshoeing to Observation Point to look down on Old Faithful geyser.

 Snow sled line, Yellowstone

Snow sled line, Yellowstone

If you want some horse power assist, snow sleds are an option.

Or if you want a different source of horse power . . .

 Horse drawn sleigh, National Elk Refuge, Wyoming

Horse drawn sleigh, National Elk Refuge, Wyoming

Under cover

There's just something about covered bridges. There are few remaining in Illinois. Just southeast of Springfield in Glenarm is Sugar Creek bridge built in 1880.

 Sugar Creek covered bridge, Sangamon County, Illinois

Sugar Creek covered bridge, Sangamon County, Illinois

Winter appeared

Our biggest snowfall last night has closed schools, courts, and offices for the first time in a few years. It seems appropriate to visit some snow scenes from Mt. Rainer National Park.

 Nisqually River Valley, Mt. Rainer National Park

Nisqually River Valley, Mt. Rainer National Park

The glacier carved valley on the southern slope of Mt. Rainer leads up to the what remains of the glacier today.

 Paradise, Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

Paradise, Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

Paradise averages 54 feet of snow a year, and fog keeps the peak of Mt. Rainer hidden.

 Ascending Mt. Rainer

Ascending Mt. Rainer

Skiers undertaking an ascent of the mountain.

 Christine Falls, Mt. Rainer

Christine Falls, Mt. Rainer

New snow at Christine Falls made getting to a view to photograph a bit challenging, but well worth the trek.