Category Archives: Nature

Winter 2012-13 in Boiling Springs State Park

 

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White-tailed buck photographed 12-25-12
White-tailed buck photos made 12-25-12.

_IGP4905There is no need to feel sorry for white-tailed deer in cold, snowy weather. The hollow hairs in their winter coats insulate so well that not enough heat escapes their bodies to melt snow falling on them.

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_IGP4875White-tailed doe photos made 2-12-2013.

Yucca Plants
Yucca plants photographed 2-20-2013.

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Buttonbush Leaf and Seed-pod
Buttonbush leaf and seed-pod and the preceding six photos made on 2-21-2013.
This and the following photos made on 2-22-2013.
This and the following photos made on 2-22-2013.

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January In Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico near Socorro is the winter home to many thousands of migratory birds including ducks, geese, and sandhill cranes.  These photos were made the 20th and 21st of January, 2012.

Snow Geese
Snow geese by the thousands overwinter on the refuge.
Snow Geese Feeding In The Shallow Water Of The Refuge
Snow geese feeding in one of the refuge marshes.
Snow Geese
The darker goose in upper right is a variant called a blue goose.
Snow geese are strong fliers capable of flying great distances non-stop.
Snow geese are strong fliers capable of flying great distances non-stop.

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Snow geese are one of the most abundant waterfowl species in North America.

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Snow geese stay with the same mate for life.
Snow geese stay with the same mate for life.
Northern Pintail Ducks
Northern Pintail Ducks, three males and a female.
Northern pintails are called dabblers because they tip tail-up to feed in shallow water.
Northern pintails are called dabblers because they tip tail-up to feed in shallow water.
The female in center does not have the distinctive markings and long pointed tail characteristic of the male.
The female in center does not have the distinctive markings and long pointed tail characteristic of the male.
Sandhill cranes approaching one of the grain fields on the refuge.
Sandhill cranes approaching one of the grain fields on the refuge.

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They spend most of the daylight hours feeding in the grain fields and marshes of the refuge.
They spend most of the daylight hours feeding in the grain fields and marshes of the refuge.
Sometimes confused with great blue herons, sandhill cranes are much larger. They stand four feet tall and have a wingspan of about six and a half feet.
Sometimes confused with great blue herons, sandhill cranes are much larger. They stand four feet tall and have a wingspan of about six and a half feet. They fly with necks outstretched while herons fly with necks curved.
Sandhill cranes have a red patch on their heads similar to the endangered whooping crane which are white and even larger than the sandhill.
Sandhill cranes have a red patch on their heads similar to the endangered whooping cranes, which are white and even larger than the sandhill.
Sandhill cranes usually fly in large flocks and it is not unusual for them to gather in the thousands on feeding grounds.
Sandhill cranes usually fly in large flocks and it is not unusual for them to gather in the thousands on feeding grounds.

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Bosque Sunset
Bosque Sunset

To see another set of photos from Bosque del Apache, enter “Bosque del Apache” in the search box above and scroll down.

All images on this site are Copyright © Larry D. Brown and may not be used in any form without permission.

Autumn 2012 in Boiling Springs State Park

Eastern Cottonwood, October 15
Rio Grande Turkey, October 29 
Barred Owl, November 5
White-tailed Buck, November 6
White-tailed Buck, November 9
Rio Grande Turkey Hens, November 9
Porcupine, November 10 
Half-grown Bobcat, November 10
Half-grown Bobcat’s Mother, November 10 
White-tailed Buck, November 13 

White-tailed Buck, November 14
White-tailed Buck, November 14 
Sumac, November 14
White-tailed Buck, November 15 
White-tailed Buck, November 15 
White-tailed Buck in Fog, November 19  

Yellowstone Elk and Grand Teton Moose

The following photos were made September 21 and 23 of 2010.

Bugling Bull Elk
Bull elk drinking from the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park.
This bull has a nice symmetrical rack with six points on each antler.
Bull elk are much larger than the cow in foreground. Very large bulls can weigh up to 1000 lbs. while cows weigh up to 650 lbs.
During the elk breeding season, called the rut, bulls round up groups of cows called harems and guard them jealously against take-over attempts by rival bulls. This can result in fights between large bulls.
It is not a good idea to try to approach a large bull too closely, especially during the rut.
Bull and cow photographed in the warm light of late afternoon.
A large bull splashing through the Madison River near sunset.
This and the following photo were made September 27, 2007.
Notice that this bull has one tine completely broken off and two others shortened. This is almost certainly the result of a fight with another bull. Such fights are common between large bulls during the rut as they battle for control of territory and cows.
The moose is the largest member of the deer family with bulls weighing up to 1400 lbs. and cows up to 1100 lbs. This large bull was photographed in Grand Teton National park on September 23, 2010.

The Ancient Wichitas

The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma encompasses 60,000 acres of the Wichita Mountains. These low granite mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, were once much taller but have been worn down by the ravages of time.

These photographs were made on May 16, 2012 with the exception of the two of the male eastern collard lizard which were made May 17, 2008.

This photo is from the norther part of the refuge and shows some dead trees which resulted from a large wildfire after the drought of 2011.
This photo is from the northern part of the refuge and shows some dead trees which resulted from a large wildfire during the drought of 2011.

The bison is the iconic mammal of the plains and was re-introduced to the refuge area in 1907 as part of an effort to same it from extinction. If you look closely at the last animal in group, you will see that it is wearing a radio-transmitter collar used to track the animals' movements.
The bison is the iconic mammal of the plains and was re-introduced to the refuge area in 1907 as part of the effort to save it from extinction. If you look closely at the last animal in group, you will see that he is wearing a tracking collar.

The large-flowered tickseed is a common wildflower on the refuge.
The large-flowered tickseed is a common wildflower on the refuge.

A young black-tailed prairie dog sits in a cluster of stiff greenthread.
A young black-tailed prairie dog stands in a cluster of stiff greenthread.

These young prairie dogs are on the alert near the entrance to their burrow.
These young prairie dogs are on the alert near the entrance to their burrow.

Prairie dogs are very social animals and live in large colonies called towns.
Prairie dogs are very social animals and live in large colonies called towns.

Adult female prairie dog having a mid-morning snack of wildflowers.
Adult female prairie dog having a mid-morning snack of wildflowers.

This young prairie dog has also found something to nibble on.
This young prairie dog has also found something to nibble on.

The many huge granite rocks in the refuge create an ideal habitat for reptiles including this female eastern collard lizard.
The many huge granite rocks in the refuge create an ideal habitat for reptiles, including the eastern collard lizard. This one appears to be gravid, the term used for a female reptile carrying eggs.

These lizards, also know locally as mountain boomers, like to sun themselves on the large boulders.
These lizards, also know locally as mountain boomers, like to sun themselves on the large boulders.

The male eastern collard lizard is more colorful than the female and lacks the red-orange bars on the sides of gravid females.
The male eastern collard lizard is more colorful than the female and lacks the red-orange bars on the sides of gravid females.

Although they are not poisonous, they will bite hard given the chance. They are very wary, however and are not easily approached. This one was photographed with a 400mm lens from a distance of several feet.
Although they are not poisonous, they will bite hard given the chance. They are very wary, however and are not easily approached. This one was photographed from a low angle with a 400mm lens at a distance of several feet.
The Charon's Gardens Wilderness area is located in the southern part of the refuge.
The Charon's Gardens Wilderness area is located in the southern part of the refuge.

More images from Wichita Mountains may be located by entering “Wichita Mountains” in the search box at the top of the home page.

All images on this site are copyrighted © by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.

Long-legged Wading Birds

The following photographs were made in Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge on May 10, 2012.

The snowy egret is a small member of the heron family. It stands 20-27" tall and has a wing span of 38". The snowy egret is a small member of the heron family. It stands 20-27″ tall and has a wingspan of 38″.

They wade in shallow marshes and ponds seeking food.They wade in shallow marshes and ponds seeking food.

Snowy egrets can be identified by their slender black bills, black legs with yellow feet and small size relative to other white egrets.Snowy egrets can be identified by their slender black bills, black legs with yellow feet and small size relative to other white egrets.

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In the 19th and early 20th centuries the snowy egret was almost hunted to extinction for their fine plumes used to decorate hats.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries the snowy egrets were almost hunted to extinction for their fine plumes used to decorate hats.

This photo includes the white-faced ibis to the left of the snowy egret and in the background along with the little blue heron on the right.

This photo includes the white-faced ibis to the left of the snowy egret and in the background along with the little blue heron on the right.

The great egret is one of the larger members of the heron family and stands 35-41" tall and has a wing span of about 55".

The great egret is one of the larger members of the heron family and stands 35-41″ tall and has a wingspan of about 55″.

Like the snowy egret the great egret was also hunted for its plumes, but has now recovered.

Like the snowy egret, the great egret was also hunted for its plumes, but has now recovered.

This group includes great egrets, snowy egrets and white faced ibises.

This group includes great egrets, snowy egrets and white-faced ibises.

This photo clearly shows the size difference in the great and snowy egrets.

This photo clearly shows the size difference in the great and snowy egrets.

The great egret wades in shallow water on long legs and uses it's long neck to quickly strike and capture its prey.

The great egret wades in shallow water on long legs and uses it’s long neck to quickly strike and capture its prey.

The great egret's diet consists mainly of fish, frogs, snakes and crayfish as shown here.

The great egret’s diet consists mainly of fish, frogs, snakes and crayfish, as shown here.

The white-faced ibis is 18-22" in length and has a wingspan of 37"

The white-faced ibis is 18-22″ in length and has a wingspan of 37″

The ibis uses it's long down-turned bill to probe for insects or crayfish as it is doing here.

The ibis uses it’s long down-turned bill to probe for insects or crayfish as it is doing here.

Birds of Prairie and Woodland

The scissor-tailed flycatcher is Oklahoma's state bird.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher is Oklahoma’s state bird.
It is a very acrobatic flyer and catches insects in mid-air.
It is a very acrobatic flyer and catches insects in mid-air.
Primarily a resident of open plains, it nests in Oklahoma and a handful of other states and winters in Central America.
Primarily a resident of open plains, it nests in Oklahoma and a handful of other states and winters in Central America.
The long tail makes adult scissortails easy to identify either perched or in flight.  Juvenile birds have a shorter tail and are less colorful.
The long tail makes adult scissortails easy to identify either perched or in flight. Juvenile birds have a shorter tail and are less colorful. 
Scissor-tailed flycatcher photos all made in Cooper Wildlife Management Area, May 2012.
Scissor-tailed flycatcher photos all made in Cooper Wildlife Management Area, May 2012.
Male lesser prairie chickens gather each spring on areas called leks to display and dance for the hens.
Male lesser prairie chickens gather each spring on areas called leks to display and dance for the hens.
Two males will sometimes square off and fight with each other for the attention of the females.
Two males will sometimes square off and fight with each other for the attention of the females.
Possibly due to spring weather being warm earlier than usual in 2012, mating activity seemed to be almost over in late April when these photos were made.
Possibly due to spring weather being warm earlier than usual in 2012, mating activity seemed to be almost over in late April when these photos were made.
These lesser prairie chicken photos were made on the Selman Ranch in Harper County, Oklahoma.
These lesser prairie chicken photos were made on the Selman Ranch in Harper County, Oklahoma.

For more lesser prairie chicken photos with the birds in full display, please type “lesser prairie chicken” in the search box at the top of this page.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are more commonly seen in central and eastern Oklahoma and the southeastern U. S. than in Woodward where these were photographed.
Red-bellied woodpeckers are more commonly seen in central and eastern Oklahoma and the southeastern U. S. than in Woodward where these were photographed.
This is a female. It has less red on its head than the male above.
This is a female. It has less red on its head than the male above.
Male on left and female on right in this photo. European starlings take over half of red-bellied woodpecker nest holes in some areas. This unfortunately seems to be the case with this nest.
Male on left and female on right in this photo. European starlings take over half of red-bellied woodpecker nest holes in some areas. This unfortunately seems to be the case with this nest.

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The red underside for which it is named is not often visible as in this photo.
The red underside for which it is named is not often visible as in this photo.

All images on this site are © copyrighted by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.

 

Spring Beauty in North Texas

Indian Paintbrush in Field of Bluebonnets. Lake Whitney State Park, TX.

Indian Paintbrush in Field of Bluebonnets, Lake Whitney State Park, Texas

Bluebonnet, Lake Whitney State Park

Bluebonnet, Lake Whitney State Park

Buckeye Butterfly, Cleburne State Park, TX
Buckeye Butterfly, Cleburne State Park, Texas
Question Mark Butterfly, Cleburne State Park
Question Mark Butterfly, Cleburne State Park
Bluebonnets, Cleburne State Park
This and the following five images were made in Cleburne State Park, Texas.

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Bluebonnets appear more blue in shade or under a cloudy sky and more purple in sunlight.
Bluebonnets appear more blue in shade or under a cloudy sky and more purple in sunlight.

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White flowers are "albino" bluebonnets found in Cleburne State Park.
White flowers are "albino" bluebonnets found in Cleburne State Park.
This and the two following phogtographs made on a farm in the vicinity of Waco, TX.
This and the next two photographs were made on a farm in the vicinity of Waco, Texas.

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Although this photo was made in the same field as the previous two, the color is more purple because they were lit by direct sunlight.
Although this photo was made in the same field as the previous two, the color is more purple due to being lit by direct sunlight.
Baby Blue Eyes, Fort Parker State Park, Texas
Baby Blue Eyes, Fort Parker State Park, Texas

Western Wallflower, Fort Parker State Park
Western Wallflower, Fort Parker State Park

Northwest Oklahoma Winter Scenes and Wildlife

As winter is coming to a close, here are a few images from this winter and one from last winter.

_IGP7173 Porcupine photographed on 2-7-2011 near Fort Supply Lake.

_IGP0864Wild turkey taken 12-5-2011 in Boiling Springs State Park.

_IGP1014Red-shouldered hawk photographed 1-4-2012 near Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge.

_IGP1940Nine-banded armadillo found near Fort Supply Lake on 2-1-2012.

_IGP1983aThis and the next three photographs made in Boiling Springs State Park on 2-7-2012.

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All images on this site are © copyrighted by Larry D. Brown and may not be reproduced in any manner without permission.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument is located in the Tularosa Basin at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

_IGP1898Sunrise over the Sacramento Mountains, January 22, 2012

_IGP1924Early morning light reveals the ripples on the wind-sculpted dunes.

_IGP1908The dazzlingly white sand is composed of gypsum, not silica, as is ordinary sand. The sky in this photo has an unusual color due to high winds filling the air with gypsum dust.

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_IGP1820Late afternoon clouds over the San Andres Mountains which form the western wall of the Tularosa Basin.

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_IGP1834The beginning of a very colorful New Mexico sunset

_IGP1858The setting sun illuminates the badlands to the east of the dunes.

_IGP1873A spectacular sunset silhouettes soaptree yucca plants.

_IGP1871The glow of the sunset illuminates the eastern sky and the Sacramento Mountains in the distance.

_IGP1882The end of beautiful day, January 21, 2012, at White Sands National Monument

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 NIV