Sometimes you get lucky when you’re taking candids of critters. This little burrowing owl gave me a knowing wink right when I took its picture.
We visited the Caswell Sculpture Garden in Troutdale, Oregon a couple days ago. This sculpture of two great blue herons is right by the entrance.
I noticed a movement near the willows right behind this sculpture. I spied a real great blue heron!
This ground squirrel didn’t want me to know where it was hiding its cache. It had so much in its cheek pouches it could barely walk.
These spotted pigs look content in this shot, but one of the piglets had just escaped its enclosure. I scooped it up and returned it to its family.
There are lots of opportunities to take candids of critters right on our property. This morning I was out walking my dogs and I noticed this orange tabby cat. He blended in so well with the plants around him that my dogs didn’t even notice him.
I took this candid shot of my dog, Shelby, relaxing on the window seat. See her ball right next to her head? She is dreaming of when she can play fetch again. 😀
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Candid
This high-flying eagle is in a small museum near Fishing Bridge. It looked so real swooping over our heads.
We saw this pronghorn buck near Mammoth Hot Springs. Most people drove right past him. You have to learn to look for pieces that don’t quite fit into the landscape puzzle to spot wildlife.
This killdeer almost looks like a museum mount but we saw it near Dragon’s Cauldron defending its territory.
This coyote was in the museum at Mammoth Hot Springs. It was an interesting mount. Lots of action.
This raven kept an eye on me when I hiked to Morning Glory Geyser — one of my favorite places in Yellowstone. This raven and a companion had just taken a bath in the hot spring in the background.
This gray wolf rested in the sun at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Visitors get up close looks at native wildlife and learn what to do to preserve it for future generations.
Even if you don’t have a giant telephoto lens, there are great opportunities to capture furry & feathered frame fillers at Yellowstone.
Tiny pale flowers
Curving fragrant slender stems
I watched one smart squirrel figure out how to get around the “squirrel-proof” cover on this bird feeder. It knocked seeds to the ground and feasted on them. Clever little creature.
I watched squirrels at other feeders here on another day and they gave me quite the scolding. Here’s a short poem I wrote about them.
On a recent trip revisiting Steens Mountain, I thought back on what this place looked like decades before. When I got home, I browsed my photos and realized several pictures I took on this trip were taken in nearly the exact same spot.
Places seem to me to have some kind of memory, in that they activate memory in those who look at them.W. G. Sebald
Some places call you back to them. While revisiting Steens Mountain this summer, I realized it is one of those places for me.
Here are a few “then” and “now” pictures I took of the Steens.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick a Place
I’m treasuring Friday flowers with a friend before the weather changes. It was warm and sunny here yesterday but snow is predicted this weekend. The weather in the high desert is always interesting. 😁
Camp Hart Mountain was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and operated from 1937 to 1941. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge , established in December of 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, helped protect pronghorn antelope.
The CCC crew stationed at Camp Hart Mountain helped with many projects such as building roads, stringing telephone lines, and building new structures. After their work was completed, most of the buildings at the camp were taken down. The building in the distance was the infirmary and it’s the only historical building remaining at this site. There is currently an RV campground located here.
By the way, I worked at Hart Mountain years ago and saw pronghorn regularly. Here’s a story of one such encounter.
In this land, Nature weaves colorful tapestries into the earth and sky
And creates havens for its creatures to pause and rest
In this land, pale sandy deserts settle in some basins
While water collects in others
In this land, mountains tilt and rise above sagebrush plains
Where glacial sculptors carve them into works of art
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Countryside/ Small towns
All About Birds describes this bird as “a handsome, round soccer ball of a bird with a rich gray breast, intricately scaled underparts, and a curious, forward-drooping head plume.” A great description of this bird!
I’m lucky that they are common where I live and sometimes even show up in my garden.
Granny Shot It – BOTD
Magic in the wind
Pushes whirling windmill blades
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical
When the flower blossoms, the bee will come.Srikumar Rao
Killdeer in the rushes bordering a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. I assume they have tough feet since we saw them regularly wading into the hot springs in various locations.
Granny Shot It – BOTD
I saw this flying saucer cloud hovering near Steens Mountain a few days ago. I see why lenticular clouds, like this one for example, are often called UFO clouds.
I dug through my archives to find pictures of this mellow fellow we once had as a pet. Calypso Blue was a miniature horse and he measured 32 inches at his withers. He was one of the mellowest horses I ever met. His companion, Scooby, pictured here, was a lot more feisty.
I think I took these photos on the day we bought him. It took a LONG time to brush out that mane and tail.
It’s hard to tell in these photos, but underneath all that mane he had piercing blue eyes. We sold him when we moved. This mellow fellow went to a home with a little girl who showered him with affection.
This post shows peaceful pets at rest in our home. Yes, they can be very active, but these pictures focus on their time asleep.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.Anatole France
Our cat, Motor, was very happy to see I bought a new dog bed. He was the first to try it out.
In this picture, Motor is doing his best imitation of a waterfall. Kitty can’t bear to watch this cliffhanger.
She likes to sleep on top of the warm computer tower. Sometimes Kitty sleeps so soundly she rolls right off.
This is the expression she gave me when she learned I bought a new camera. I think she was less than thrilled.
Our peaceful pets get along well. Tesla and Kitty sometimes sleep on the same bed.
Kitty is a Pixie-Bob cat. This breed is known for its “dog-like personality.” She’s taking that part a little too seriously in this picture.
Kitty, like other Pixie-Bobs, loves to play fetch. Pixie-Bobs can also be trained to walk on a leash.
Tesla, the dog, gives a big smile as she rests in front of Tesla, the car. Like her namesake, she can run fast and last a long time on a charge.
Our new dog is named “Shelby.” Both of our dogs are rescue dogs. Tesla is in the process of showing Shelby how to be a dog.
After that lesson, she got the hang of it!
I think sometimes the best training is to rest.Cristiano Ronaldo
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Precious Pets
Color & texture surround you as you sit on this comfortable bench in Bend, Oregon.
Pull up a seat challenge
Angles are often used in art and architecture and are also found in nature. Here are several photos that show art and nature from different angles.
This sculpture of a flock of birds zigzags down a foyer and flutters around the corner of a building in downtown Bend, Oregon.
Swallows collect beakfuls of mud to create these nests along the roof angles at Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon.
Columnar basalt forms when volcanic rock cools rapidly. In this picture, at Cove Palisades State Park, the columns formed in different angles. Orange lichens highlight their form.
The supporting beams at the Warm Spring Museum are set at different angles in imitation of how shelters from the past were constructed.
Trails of smoke from passing jets form an angle that points toward a field of flowering corn in Silverton, Oregon.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Angles
I saw many plants I’m familiar with on this tour. Some I knew the names of, others I was like, “Uh… what was your name again?” Fortunately, the plants were labeled or the person whose garden it was could tell you.
Here are some old friends.
Here are some new-to-me plants. As I add to our landscaping, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting plants.
One of the stops this year was at the Oregon Agricultural Experimental Station in Madras. They offer a ton of information about plants.
At our first stop on the tour, we saw this lizard at the base of a tree. It looked like someone “borrowed” the end of its tail. No worries! It’s growing a new one.
I wasn’t sure if I could come up with things that were old, new, borrowed, and blue but this lizard helped me out.
We saw this spectacular plant growing next to lavender at our last stop. The form is interesting and the blue color is uncommon in plants.
It was a day filled with visits to colorful gardens in Madras and Culver. As always, the tour was very inspiring! Here are some of the things I saw last year on the tour.
To end the perfect day, I won a gift certificate for a local plant nursery in the raffle–for the second year in a row! 😀
I was visiting one of my favorite plant nurseries recently and saw a little sign on one of their grape plants. It says the plant is not currently for sale because it is occupied by a robin and her hatchlings. In other words, this bird is not for sale. You can see her with her beak pointed up in the air at the top of the picture. She is one proud and protective mother!
Granny Shot It Challenge – BOTD
This cat in the shadows is my cat, Motor. He turned 17 this month and he keeps healthy by getting plenty of beauty sleep.
Birds of the shore are common in the spring in parts of eastern Oregon. Why? Because flood irrigation is one of the main methods used to water the crops. As the snow melts off surrounding mountains, it collects in rivers and reaches the lower elevations.
It is released in controlled amounts in the Harney Basin, where 320 bird species congregate. This ancient method of irrigation benefits the rancher and the birdwatcher.
Birds such as sandhill cranes take advantage of all of that water. You can see flocks of them in the photo above and a single bird below.
I love seeing delicate long-legged beauties such as black-necked stilts and American avocets.
If you’re lucky, you may even see a Wilson’s snipe. Yes, they really do exist.
Flood irrigation creates temporary ponds and lakes with miles and miles of shoreline.
I saw quite a few long-billed curlew this spring. I was dive-bombed by one once when I was too close to her nest. That bill is dangerous looking! It can measure more than eight and a half inches in length.
Thousands of Ross’ and snow geese congregate in this area.
Waterfowl are common in the ponds and lakes. Here is a raft of ducks. This image is a little blurry but I included it to show the difference between canvasbacks and redhead ducks. The pair on the far left are redheads. See how the plumage is more gray? There are lots of opportunities to get clear views of many species.
You may see elegant swans as well. Trumpeter and tundra swans have been seen here.
You will be amazed when you spot unique birds of the shore, such as this American bittern. Keep your binoculars handy when traveling through this country in the spring and you will be rewarded.
Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Seascapes and/or lakeshore
I saw plenty of raptors on a Birds of Prey tour in the wide-open country of Harney County, Oregon last April. We ventured briefly into the Malheur National Forest in search of eagles. Though we didn’t see any eagles, we did get a nice view of an American kestrel.
We saw immature and mature bald eagles later that day. It’s always exciting to see them.
Some of the wildlife out there was keeping an eye on us. This herd of elk on a distant ridge top watched us for a while.
Raptors were common and we saw many of them perched on fenceposts and telephone poles.
Ground squirrels hang out in the irrigated fields and the birds of prey congregate there to find an easy meal. They like to perch on the pivot irrigation systems.
Turkey vultures also enjoy some nice fresh ground squirrel. This one was close to the road and we had a great view of it having a little snack.
We were lucky to see a prairie falcon, the only one we spotted that day.
Mule deer were common. This herd had 30+ deer.
We stopped in another spot to take pictures of deer then noticed something else in the foreground. Two burrowing owls! Can you find both of them in the photo with the deer? That was my favorite observation of the day.
This tour was part of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Our guides that day were Ben Cate, from the High Desert Partnership, and Melanie Finch, wildlife technician with the U.S. Forest Service .
Though I know certain species well, I’m no expert when it comes to identifying raptors. I rely on helpful tour guides and field guides. I have field guide books and the iBird Pro app, but this handy fold out pocket guide is really helpful.
This guide includes silhouettes, identifying markings, and different color morphs. It was a dark spring day on this trip and the silhouettes page helped make identifying birds easier.
We saw quite a few raptors so it was a successful seven-hour field trip. Until next year…
The Ents are watching you so be kind to our forests.
I can be jubilant one moment and pensive the next, and a cloud could go by and make that happen.
Here are few clouds in my sky from the last year’s worth of Lens-Artists Photo Challenges. These pictures were taken in Eastern and Central Oregon, my favorite country. Enjoy their many moods.
Special thanks to Patti, Amy, Tina, and Ann-Christine for hosting the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge for one year! Many of us eagerly await the weekly challenge and look forward to seeing all the entries.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A country that’s special to you