July 2016

POTD: Turf War

POTD: Turf WarTurf War
Bozeman, Montana

Another conflict for space among magpies. In this case instant, the one with the choice perch on a dumpster is about to get usurped by a more aggressive colleague.  (This photo was obviously taken earlier in the year when there was snow on the ground. We can get snow here in July, but not that much, especially when temps have been hovering around 90.)

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POTD: Feed Me!

POTD: Feed Me!Feed Me!
Bozeman, Montana

The crow on the right is the same one that was in the “Black Angel” post from the other day. It was relentlessly chasing the other crow, doing all the strutting and wing waving (all while squawking like crazy) as a means of pestering it to share the food it had found in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant.

I thought this behavior was a bit odd for adult crows, but when I researched it I found that young crows just out of the nest are almost indistinguishable in size from their parents and that the parents will continue to feed the juveniles for some time after they leave the nest. All the same, for the amount of pestering it needed to do to get the parent to finally part with the food, it seems like it would have been easier just to find its own stray french fry or whatever to pick at.

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POTD: Empty Nest #1

POTD: Empty Nest #1Empty Nest #1
Bozeman, Montana

This is the first of a series of still life images I’m working on featuring abandoned bird nests and other items from around our property.

I was going to call this series “Abandoned Homesteads” but decided on the less metaphorical “Empty Nests,” for now anyway. I realize this particular house wren nest is not empty in the strictest sense, but it is empty of avian life forms. With the abandoned, non-viable eggs, it could also be called “Failure to Thrive”.

According to federal law, it is illegal to collect abandoned migratory bird nests or even miscellaneous feathers found on the ground. You can remove them but they have to be destroyed. However, the law as written does not seem to prohibit (I hope) photographing the nests or feathers before they are destroyed.

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POTD: Sedges and Foxtails

POTD: Sedges and FoxtailsSedges and Foxtails
Bozeman, Montana

Recently, I’ve taken interest in identifying all the interesting grass and grass-like species growing on our property. After acquiring a couple of books and an app for my smartphone that allow you to identify grasses, I’ve learned that identifying the broad groups or families of plants is pretty easy, but trying to figure exactly what species of sedge, foxtail, brome etc. that you are dealing with can be very difficult. But whatever their specifics might be, the subjects under study can make for a nice still life.

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POTD: Rolling Thunder

POTD: Rolling ThunderRolling Thunder
Bozeman, Montana

This is the second sunset photo I’ve posted this summer. Perhaps I’m succumbing to the cliché, but this colorful view from our front porch (actually looking southeast, not west towards the sun) was too tempting to pass up.

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POTD: The Faithful #2

POTD: The Faithful #2The Faithful #2
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

This, of course, is what all the fuss is about at Old Faithful. Although still impressive it seems to me that the eruptions were bigger and the crowds smaller 33 years when I first saw it as an adult. (My faulty memory may be responsible for thinking the eruptions were bigger back then, but I know for sure the crowds were smaller.)

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POTD: The Faithful

POTD: The FaithfulThe Faithful
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

I like to go to Yellowstone Park to get away from things (as much as possible) and to see wildlife and of course the thermal features. That’s why I don’t go there in the summertime–except when visiting relatives requires it. This photo was taken at Old Faithful in late June when the Fashion Queen’s cousin was visiting. We were definitely not getting away from things, or at least away from people. Mind you this was a rainy day when many people chose to not stand out in the drizzle waiting for the geyser to go off.

2015 saw a record 4,000,000+ visitors in Yellowstone. Attendance this year is surpassing 2015 so far, perhaps in part due to it being the 100th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, the first park in the National Park system. In general, I’m not a fan of limiting visitation to parks, but there comes a time when it is the only practical solution to the crowding problem. I think it is that time, and past, in Yellowstone.

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