My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

From around home, Searching for a theme

I can’t think of a unifying theme that would cover these photos, other than I’m going crazy shooting, and keeping, more photos than ever, and all of these were shot around home. Maybe it’s because I no longer get out every day, but only a few times per week due to my new job, that I’m having more fun than ever playing with all my camera gear. I’m trying different techniques, different angles, and different lighting when I can, sometimes those things work, sometimes they don’t, but I’m enjoying shooting whether the photos turn out to be keepers or not.

There isn’t much more to say about these, other than I’m learning how subtle changes in lighting or the angle that I shoot at can have a major impact on how much that I like a photo, so here goes.

Day lily

Day lily

Flea bane

Flea bane

Unidentified creeping yellow flowers

Moneywort, or creeping Jenny

Yarrow and crown vetch

Yarrow and crown vetch

Yarrow

Yarrow

Bird's foot trefoil and crown vetch

Bird’s foot trefoil and crown vetch

Wild rose and pollinators

Wild rose and pollinators

Wild rose

Wild rose

On one of the few days between when the Tokina macro lens died and I replaced it with the Canon 100 mm macro lens, I spotted an interesting colored leaf.

Unidentified leaf and guest

Unidentified leaf and guest

I tried to get as close as I could to the insect, since it was so brightly colored, but didn’t have time to get out the extension tubes before the insect left, so here’s the best that I could do.

Leaf hopper

Leaf hopper

I’ve seen this behavior from mourning doves a few times, I haven’t figured out why they do it, but they’ll take a twig and fling it around.

Mourning dove and toy

Mourning dove and toy

Mourning dove and toy

Mourning dove and toy

They don’t fly off with the twigs to use in their nests, the only thing that I can think of is that the doves are flinging the twigs around to dislodge either seeds or insects, or maybe they just like to move things around to their liking. Anyway, I shot several series of photos of this dove tossing the twig around, but here’s one photo of the dove without the branch, as I like its hairdo.

Mourning dove with a mohawk

Mourning dove with a mohawk

I have another short series of photos of bird behavior, this time of a male Baltimore oriole as it looked for food, I assume for its young. I think of orioles as birds of the treetops, that’s where I typically see them, so seeing one on the ground was unusual.

Male Baltimore oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

He hopped back into the weeds, and came out with something.

Male Baltimore oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

Then, decided it was what he wanted, dropped whatever it was, and went back to searching for something else.

Male Baltimore oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

That is, until I got too close to him.

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

Male Baltimore oriole in flight

You can tell that the kingbirds are raising their young, no large bird is safe from their attacks if the large bird ventures too close to the kingbird’s nests.

Eastern kingbird attacking a Cooper's hawk

Eastern kingbird attacking a Cooper’s hawk

Eastern kingbird attacking a Cooper's hawk

Eastern kingbird attacking a Cooper’s hawk

From birds flying overhead, to things on the ground, I shoot them all.

Daddy longlegs

Daddy longlegs

But, I like this one better, even if it’s of the wrong end of the insect.

Daddy longlegs

Daddy longlegs

Let’s see here, what else do I have saved, more flowers of course!

Crown vetch

Crown vetch

Red clover

Red clover

Bindweed

Bindweed

Goat's beard

Goat’s beard

I wonder why it is that so many times when an insect lands on a flower that I’m photographing, the insect looks okay, but the flower doesn’t look as good as it did in the photos I shot before the insect appeared?

Goat's beard and bee

Goat’s beard and bee

Goat's beard and bee

Goat’s beard and bee

And, it seems to happen all the time. I’ll be minding my own business, trying to get good photos of a flower…

Alfalfa flowers

Alfalfa flowers

…then some bug has to come along to change my train of thought….

Unidentified butterfly on alfalfa

Unidentified butterfly on alfalfa

…and I forget to get the good photo of the flower.

Nothing identified here

Nothing identified here

Unidentified bee on St. John's wort

Unidentified bee on St. John’s wort

Unidentified bee on St. John's wort

Unidentified bee on St. John’s wort

Honeybee on an unidentified horsemint or bergamot?

Honeybee on an unidentified horsemint or bergamot?

Oh well, that’s the way it goes I suppose. I did get a good close-up of a single milkweed flower though.

Milkweed flower

Milkweed flower

It’s hard to get a shot of milkweed without some type of insect in the frame, from ants to butterflies. I would prefer that the insects land off to the side of the flowers, so that I don’t get distracted.

Unidentified bee grooming

Unidentified bee grooming

Unidentified bee grooming

Unidentified bee grooming

Maybe it isn’t a bee, it looks like it could be a species of fly.

I know that this hasn’t been my best post, but I’m short on time. You see, I had a fantastic 4th of July weekend, with three days off from work. The weather was close to perfect, good light, cool mornings, pleasant afternoons, and almost no wind.  On Saturday, I went to the only wildflower sanctuary in the federal forest system, Loda Lake. I may not have been there at the best time for flowers, but it’s a magical place that I fell in love with. I have lots of photos that I’m working on from that day, including yet another new species of bird for the My Photo Life List project.

Then, on Sunday I went back to Muskegon and added to the huge number of photos to work through and post, including some very good photos that don’t include any birds.

On Monday, I just walked around home here, but with the continued good weather, I did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

The forecast for this weekend isn’t looking as good, not even close. There’s rain in the forecast for both of my days off, so I should be able to do some catching up around here.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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25 responses

  1. I think it’s fun to come up with such a wide variety of shots. It doesn’t take anything special once you start seeing the possibilities in all that surrounds you.

    July 10, 2015 at 4:47 pm

  2. The butterfly is a Skipper.

    July 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    • Thank you Victor!

      July 11, 2015 at 12:22 am

  3. Beautiful! love your birds and flowers… Thanks for sharing them!

    July 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad that you liked them.

      July 11, 2015 at 12:22 am

  4. I am glad that you were distracted by insects as I enjoyed the resulting shots a lot.

    July 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    • Thank you Tom!

      July 11, 2015 at 12:22 am

  5. Your post made me smile (as usual), Jerry. It’s great to hear how happy you are and how much fun you are having snapping everything. We get to benefit from your joyful hobby by viewing the excellent results. Like Tom, I am glad you got distracted by the insects as I really love seeing their details. I was interested that you also call those spiders “Daddy long-legs”. I also liked seeing the interesting behaviour of the birds. I wonder why the doves flick those twigs about. Thanks for another beautiful collection from around home. You don’t need a theme to connect the pictures. 🙂

    July 11, 2015 at 3:20 am

    • Thank you very much Jane! The reason that I called the daddy long-legs just that is because it isn’t a spider, it only has six legs, not eight as true spiders do.

      One of these days I may figure out why the doves take out their aggressions on harmless twigs, but that’s what they seem to do. Also, one of these days I’ll get really good at macro photos. 😉

      July 11, 2015 at 10:05 am

      • Ah, I should have looked more closely as the creature that we call a daddy long-legs is actually a spider. It has a similar appearance though. Quite flimsy/delicate looking.
        I think your macro shots are already excellent, Jerry. 🙂

        July 11, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      • Thanks Jane!

        July 12, 2015 at 2:32 am

  6. That male Baltimore Oriole was a wonderful sight, what a colourful bird so well photographed too.

    July 11, 2015 at 4:25 am

    • Thank you very much Susan. Normally my blog is filled with photos of the orioles this time of year, but I haven’t been out as often, and there seem to be fewer of them this summer.

      July 11, 2015 at 10:06 am

  7. U go, Kingbird!!! Oops, sorry, where were we? Right! Great pix! PS, there are a lot of bees that look like flies and vice versa, I think. PPS, have never seen a leaf hopper. Interesting critter!

    July 11, 2015 at 7:45 am

    • Thank you very much Lori! I think that you have the solution to the problem of the hawks attacking your ducks, just make sure that there are lots of red-winged blackbirds and/or kingbirds around to keep the hawks away. 😉

      July 11, 2015 at 10:08 am

  8. Looks like you are enjoying the hell out of that new macro lens – what a great assortment of photos. Think my face is the daddy Long legs on the mulberry. It’s gorgeous.

    My take on the dove/twig battle is that she’s practicing the avian version of the javelin toss (over the shoulder style). Surprised that you couldn’t figure out that for yourself, Jerry.

    Keep up the great work. Love your macro style.

    July 11, 2015 at 7:53 am

  9. It’s amazing how many interesting things you can find so close to home. I never realized how many blog photos I took on my lunchtime walks until I stopped taking them.
    The creeping plant with yellow flowers is moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), also called creeping Jenny.
    Nice shot of the milkweed flower. I just did that and I know it’s not easy.
    I think the butterfly on the alfalfa is the same European skipper that I had so much trouble identifying a few posts ago.
    It looks like the new macro lens is a keeper!

    July 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

    • Thank you very much Allen, especially for the identification! The only photo in this post shot with the new macro lens was the honeybee, all the rest were with the Tokina before it died, or one of my other lenses with the extension tubes.

      Walking around home, or at least the same place regularly is great! You know the lay of the land, and to some degree, what to expect. Today I heard the young hawks in a different tree than their nest was in, I investigated, and Bertha and Bruiser have two fledgling hawks this year. I stopped at the mulberry tree for a while to hang out, and caught a female Baltimore oriole hanging upside down as she ate the berries. I wouldn’t have gotten the photos that I did if I didn’t know the park like the back of my hand.

      July 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm

  10. Yes – butterfly = skipper, flower = creeping jenny and bee/fly is a hoverfly.
    Just keep taking the photographs and posting as many as you can and I will be as happy as happy!

    July 11, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    • Thank you very much Clare! You shouldn’t tell me to post as many as I can, I could go overboard with a suggestion like that. 😉

      July 12, 2015 at 2:34 am

      • When you run out of storage space use Flickr! Problem solved and followers happy 🙂

        July 12, 2015 at 4:33 pm

  11. You have such a great eye for the beautiful and the interesting…Your photos are so enjoyable.

    July 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    • Thank you very much Charlie!

      July 12, 2015 at 2:34 am

  12. Ooooooooh, that macro of the milkweed flower is my favorite of this bunch! Wow, that one really struck me. I also love the soft colors in the shot with the trefoil and the vetch. The alfalfa with the butterfly is awesome, too. I’m glad you had such a great 4th of July. I can’t wait to see the photos you produce from your outings.

    July 11, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    • Thank you very much Amy! I’m trying to expand my horizons a little, and rather than go of a single flower all the time, include several flowers in pleasing colors, nature’s bouquets if you will.

      July 12, 2015 at 2:38 am