Western Tanager

photograph of a Western Tanager in a pine tree in Yellowstone National Park

While hiking in Yellowstone National Park I noticed flashes of yellow in the pine branches overhanging the trail.  I stopped to check it out and saw a small group of Western Tanagers flying through the pines.  They didn’t remain in sight for very long so this was the only worthwhile photo I was able to capture.

Big Red Flower

photograph of a large, red flower

I don’t know what type of flower this is but it is big and very bright red.  It was growing on a vine in the Conservatory at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden when I photographed it in May.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird 2

photograph of a female ruby throated hummingbird hovering at a feeder

I’ve been experimenting with photographing hummingbirds as they fly to our feeder.  It’s quite an exercise in patience.  This little female comes regularly but sometimes it’s 15-20 minutes between her visits.  I captured this image recently after waiting for about 45 minutes.  It was her third visit but the only one with sharp enough focus and good enough lighting to share.

In past years I’ve noticed the hummingbirds come more frequently later in the summer.  Perhaps there are simply more of them after they’ve raised a brood or two?  Or maybe there are just fewer feeding options for them?  Whatever the cause, I’m hoping to get more images before they migrate south for the winter.

Painted Turtle 1

photograph of a painted turtle sunning itself on a rock

This painted turtle was sunning itself on a cool spring day which probably allowed me to get closer than I otherwise might have.  There were a few other turtles nearby but I like the coloration of this one.

Curious Horned Grebe

photograph of a horned grebe with a curious look

I spotted this Horned Grebe swimming in one of the canals at The Great Dismal Swamp.  It didn’t seem to mind me watching it at all.  It just swam around, in and out of the shadows and would occasionally dive under water.  I was able to get quite a few photos of it but this is one of my favorites.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

photograph of a soda bottle and bottle cap

The late afternoon sun coming through my kitchen window provided an opportunity for a different perspective on a popular, refreshing soft drink.  You might even say this brand is a piece of Americana.  The marketing behind this beverage is so incredible, you’re sure to recognize it despite the fact the label is obscured and the bottle cap is completely out of focus.

Unlikely Fisherman

photograph of a spider sitting on a leaf in a pool of water

Five of the eight legs of this spider were on the surface of a small pool of water.  The other three were resting on a leaf floating on the surface.  At first I thought this spider had been stranded on the leaf but I later realized it was probably waiting there for lunch to come along.

Like all the photos on my blog, you can click on the image above to see a larger, high resolution image of this photo.

American Coots

photograph of American Coots in the water

The American Coot is a rather funny looking bird.  They break the old rule that says “if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it must be a duck”.  They are actually more closely related to rails and cranes.  When you get a good look at their feet, which are not webbed, you realize they must not be ducks.

King of the Mud Puddle

photograph of a red southern toad sitting up in a mud puddle

 

Walking in a park near the James River on spring afternoon, I stopped to see if there might be anything interesting in a large puddle adjacent to a small pond.  Sitting, quietly a few feet from the trail was this red toad.  It remained so motionless as I photographed it, I began to think it might be a toy frog somebody put there as a joke.