Who are They

     Who are they? They seem to be everywhere but they are never seen, at least not by me. They seem to have a great deal of responsibility but apparently are not very responsible. At least I get this impression from the number of times I hear that they should do something about it. (we will disuss it another time) They must be very busy though, as I am often hearing of things done that didn't go well. Such as "they sure screwed that up!"
    In the world I play in, which centers around wildlife, they are always up to something. They close areas I want to visit, they open areas to all kinds of uses that interfere with what I'm doing, and they otherwise just don't manage things properly. They oughta be......................

A Graydigger, AKA California Ground Squirrel

They did it Again!

     They did! I spent several of my teenage years in south-central Washington state, where these were probably the most abundant form of wildlife. They are GRAYDIGGERS. Through diligent research (I looked it up on Google) I've been able to ascertain that it was known as "Citellus beecheyi douglasii".
    But now they have changed the species name from Citellus to Spermophilus and dropped the subspecies thereby lumping it in with "Spermophilus beecheyi", commonly known as California ground squirrel. I don't understand why they did this. The ground squirrel from California is brown, it's not a GRAYDIGGER! It could be called a Browndigger if one wanted to but it is different than our native digger.
    I was very happy on this trip in 2004 to find that the animal if not the name was alive and well.
White Donkey

Hidden Talent

     You wouldn't think just looking at this animal that he could fly. How often do we come to some conclusion about something based on what we see. Or even worse, what someone has told us. I know I've heard of jackasses doing many things, but had never heard of one known to fly before. You can tell this one has that little something extra though.
    Of course, he was pretty excited that someone had finally come to take his picture. As you can tell, he was just "bubbling over" as he showed me his 'ready for takeoff' position. But then he had to go on standby because of some crows doing takeoff and landing maneuvers in the area and a car came by and I had to move along so I never did get a flight shot.
Belted Kingfisher

It Isn't Always Pretty

     One day I was taking pictures in an area around a couple of small ponds. While working my way closer to some small birds, I heard a pair of kingfishers start making a racket behind some trees near one of the ponds. I didn't pay too much attention because they often chase and chatter at each other and I could see one flying around and could hear them both. After a few minutes they stopped and I noticed the one fly off.
    In time I worked my way around to where I could see the small pond and was met by one of the saddest things I have beheld in nature. Except nature wasn't to blame. A long string of fishing line was strung from the pond up into the trees where it was looped around a branch. About three foot down the other side, tangled in the line and held fast by it's wing, was a kingfisher. By then it was dead, the chattering I had heard was during its struggle to free itself before it became exhuasted and died.
    But time heals and while I still recall that unfortunate incident, I really enjoy watching and photographing these interesting birds.
Blue-eyed Darner Dragonfly


     In the heat of the summer, when the birds have migrated through and the ones remaining are on the nest, when the morning light is gone and the harsh daytime light hasn't started to fade into the soft golden glow the landscape photographer so cherishes, what to do.
    Dragonflies! For many of us they are not large enough and they move too fast for us to appreciate the detail and variety of these amazing creatures. But once caught with todays cameras and brought to view either in print or on the computer screen, a whole new world opens up. Now we see what those guys in the swamp with their nets and magnifying glasses have known about all along.
    Before long we are gripped by the obsession to find and 'catch' that little known or seldom seen specimen. Flight shots of larger, slower moving birds seems almost easy in comparison. And getting photos, even of perching dragonflies, that are detailed enough to allow proper identification is enough of a challenge for even the best amongst us. When you catch one like this, life is good.
Crow in a birdbath

Dirty Crow

     Below this birdbath is a man-made creek holding about 1200 gallons of water. All kinds of birds use it to drink and bathe. A few still prefer the birdbath. So I try to keep it full and clean. I don't love crows. This was kind of amusing though.

Another Sunset

     Another sunset. This picture shows it just the way I remember. It isn't the way the camera saw it. Cameras have to be told how to read lighting like this. If you leave it to that little computer inside it will try to make everything much more visible than it really is to the eye.
    A photographer who knows what he is doing adjusts the camera settings to compensate. One that doesn't, just let's the camera do its thing and adjusts the the settings later in Photoshop. In this case I did some of each. The ability to do this adjusting, due to computer and digital technology, really adds to the enjoyment and satisfaction of todays amateur photographer.
     Its nice when the setting sun finds you doing something you really like.
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