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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brief Break

I will be out of reach of the interwebs for the next week or so as I head out to the wilds of Idaho. I am still recovering from my recent health setback, but I feel fit enough to travel.

I should be back in action around the 4th.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jumping Grasshopper

The timing on this was tough, and I spent two afternoons trying to get it right. Also - have you ever tried to get a grasshopper to jump on cue?

Jumping grasshopper
grasshopper jumping

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bat With Injured Wing

Working with wild bats it is not unusual to find bats that are recovering from injuries. After all, they live a hard knock life that is full of peril.

This big brown bat has a hole in its wing that has not diminished its ability to fly or hunt. It's hard to say how it might have been injured. It might have escaped from the claws of a predator, or snagged a cactus or barbed wire fence. Over time, the hole will heal over leaving an obvious scar.

bat with wing injury
bat with inured wing

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Big brown bats are one of the more common bats of North America. If I were to describe their personality it might typically be along the lines of "angry pitbull". This is understandable since I often encounter them after they have been caught in a researcher's net. I'd be angry too. The occasional meal worm offering does not usually assuage their attitude.

But every once and a while you into a big brown bat that is actually kind of sweet. This is not uncommon in a lot of species of bats. Some personalities are just calm as cucumber, but not usually big brown bats.

This one was sweet, and a great flier.

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) flying at night

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knocked Down

I made a silent pledge to myself that this section of my website would be updated everyday for at least a year. It is an exercise in discipline as well as an excuse to show some of my latest images.

The last few days have really knocked me off my feet, as I have been forced to deal with an unexpected medical problem. I am okay, but feeling a lot of pain. The details are beyond boring, but I should be back in action in a week or less. Full recovery is expected.

It does offer a moment to appreciate my (usually) good health - something I try not to take for granted.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tricolored Bumble Bee (Bombus Ternarius)

This species is fairly common, but I have not had much opportunity to photograph it until a recent journey into the deserts of Central Washington. They made a characteristic rhythmic buzzing sound as they moved from one lupine bloom to the next. They have a noisy, buzzy flight that I really enjoyed observing.

Tricolored bumble bee (Bombus Ternarius)
Tricolored bumble bee (Bombus Ternarius) flying among silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus) flowers

Tricolored bumble bee (Bombus Ternarius)
Tricolored bumble bee (Bombus Ternarius) flying among silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus) flowers

Friday, June 18, 2010

Old Highway 2

Photoshop effects can be kind of dorky, but I liked the way this complex action gives a vintage feel to yesterdays highway images. Perhaps it is late, and my judgement is compromised by lack of sleep, but in the moment these look cool.

old highway
crumbling old roadway

old road
abandoned road

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Decaying Old Highway

Driving to a remote location looking for bats required traversing this old highway that was closed by the Washington Department of Transportation. I'm not sure how much longer it will passable since winter rains washes out more and more each season. 

As the desert slowly moves back in, and the road becomes less functional, there is a rough beauty to bee seen.

abandoned road
abandoned roadway

old highway
old highway

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Abandoned House

Old structures can have a quaint charm that photographers have exploited for decades if not centuries. I plead guilty of the same crime here, but I find myself fascinated by the process of decay. As I see something like this abandoned homestead, I wonder at what point this house was no longer functional for the inhabitants. When did the last person who lived here leave, and decided to never return? How long before the landscape completely reclaims the land?

My educated guess is that this place was abandoned in the 1930's, sometime during the great depression. There are other homesteads further east that have a similar look, with known pedigrees of ownership and abandonment. 

abandoned house
crumbling old homestead in central washington

abandoned house
crumbling old homestead in central washington

abandoned house

crumbling old homestead in central washington

abandoned house
crumbling old homestead in central washington

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Royal penstemon (Penstemon speciosus)

These beat up penstemon flowers were being hammered by wind, heavy rain, and insects. Still a beautiful beacon of blue in the desert landscape of Central Washington.

Royal penstemon (Penstemon speciosus)
royal penstemon (Penstemon speciosus) blooming 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Night Sky

Photographing bats on a moonless night, as the team was putting gear away and preparing to leave, car lights and flashlights were turned on after hours of working in near complete darkness. The nearby basalt cliffs were slightly illuminated by our lights against a brilliant starry sky.

Night sky
starry night, central washington.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feral Pig (Sus scrofa)

You don't see this every day. 

feral pig (Sus scrofa)
feral pig (Sus scrofa) wading in the shallows of the gulf of mexico

Invasive, non-native feral pigs have become a quite a problem throughout North America. You can even find them in the Hawaiian Islands.

feral pig (Sus scrofa)
feral pig (Sus scrofa)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nilgai Calf (Boselaphus tragocamelus)

Nilgai are native to India and Pakistan, where they are the largest species of antelope. However that are several free ranging populations in Texas, where they have readily adapted to the habitat.

Nilgai Calf (Boselaphus tragocamelus)
newborn nilgai calf (Boselaphus tragocamelus) less than 24 hours old

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cuvier's Gazelle (Gazella cuvieri)

Another endangered gazelle. The global wild population of Cuvier's gazelles is estimated to be between 1,750 and 2,950 animals, most of which live in Morocco.

Cuvier Gazelle (Gazella cuvieri)
endangered cuvier gazelle (Gazella cuvieri)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mhorr Gazelle (Nanger dama)

Another species on the brink of extinction. One of the sub-species (Nanger dama damais completely gone. This one lives on in captive breeding programs.

Mhorr Gazelle (Nanger dama)
endangered mhorr gazelle (Nanger dama)

dama gazelle (Gazella dama)
endangered mhorr gazelle (Nanger dama)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Scimitar-Horned Oryx (Oryx dammah)

Can this oryx be saved? Scimitar Oryx were hunted for their horns, almost to extinction. Where once they occupied the whole Sahara, they are now considered to be extinct in the wild, with no confirmed sightings in the wild for over 15 years. Although there have been unconfirmed sightings in Chad and Niger, these reports have never been substantiated, despite extensive surveys that were carried out throughout Chad and Niger in 2001-2004 in an effort to detect Sahelo-Saharan antelopes.
A global captive breeding programme was initiated in the 1960s. In 1996, there were at least 1,250 captive animals held in zoos and parks around the world with a further 2,145 on ranches in Texas. A herd exists in a fenced nature preserve in Tunisia, and is being expanded with plans for reintroduction to the wild in that country.
scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah
critically endangered scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

Whenever I see "Kevin" from the pixar movie "UP", I think of the Cassowary Bird. It's not an exact match, but the Cassowary is a large and colorful bird. These birds, unlike Kevin, are not noted for their friendly demeanor. Quite the opposite in fact. To quote Wikipedia: The blade-like claws are capable of killing humans and dogs if the bird is provoked.

southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)
Portrait of a southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Newborn Fawn (Odocoileus hemionus)

I have told this story before, but I was recently given some grief over this image of a newborn fawn. Clearly, I was using a wide angle lens and in close proximity to the animal. Typically, I give wild animals plenty of space, but this was a unique occasion.

Driving very early in the morning on a logging road in Eastern Oregon, I came around a bend and startled this fawn and her mother. Following instinct, the fawn dropped to the ground into a "hiding" position in the middle of the road and the mother leapt into the forest. Since the road was being used by large trucks and other vehicles, I didn't think the fawn would have survived long in that location.

Turning on my flashers I grabbed my camera, scooped up the fawn and moved it deeper into the forest about 40 yards off the road. It made no sound, and did not move. After placing it, I took a few shots and then left it in peace.

The mother will return, call her fawn and find her without much trouble. I have worked around calves and fawns with professional biologists long enough to know that the mother will not be put off by human scent. The mothering instinct is too strong to abandon her fawn based upon odor. 

I did not stick around to make sure there was a happy reunion, but I like to think there was.

newborn mule deer fawn (Odocoileus hemionus)
newborn mule deer fawn (Odocoileus hemionus) hides in the forest

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Eight-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula forensis)

Despite the murky weather, the flowers are still emerging – and I spotted a freshly emerged dragonfly cruising a pond. 

male eight-spotted skimmer dragonfly (Libellula forensis)
male eight-spotted skimmer dragonfly (Libellula forensis) resting on foxglove (digitalis) flowers

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) - A Medicinal Plant

This plant was introduced to the Pacific Northwest from Europe and is naturalized in much of the area. Famous for its cardiac glycosides, it is an important medicinal plant and used in the heart medicine digitalis or digitonan. Unrefined, the entire foxglove plant is highly toxic and may be fatal if ingested.

foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) a medicinal plant

foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
medicinal plant, foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Unsettled Weather

The rest of the country seems to be enjoying summer, but here in the Northwest it has been dark, cool, and rainy. The weather forecast has more of the same. 

rain storm
A rainstorm passes over rugged country in Northeast Oregon

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Banded Alder Beetle (rosalia funebris)

These striking beetles are not rare, but certainly not common either in the Pacific Northwest. Their pattern looks exotic, and when people encounter them for the first time they often assume they are rare or foreign beetles. But in truth, their larva feeds on California laurel, Oregon ash, and New Mexico willow.

banded alder beetle (rosalia funebris)
Banded alder beetle (rosalia funebris). Western Oregon.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blood Star Sea Star (Henricia leviuscula)

Tidepools can look bland at first glance, but explosions of color and life can be found without much effort.

Blood Star Sea Star (Henricia leviuscula)
Blood star sea star (Henricia leviuscula). Oregon coast.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), an invasive species in the western United States. Native frogs and turtles often lose when these frogs take over a home pond. More photos to come of this frog...

American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
american bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer