Close encounters

Close encounters of the deer kind. This one was SO tame I could have walked up and petted it!

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Eye contact

Saturday evening sitting out the back when this deer walked across the gardens then stopped to eat some weeds at the edge of the hill. It also patiently waited till I went back inside to pick up my camera.

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What’s that?

Then as I slowly approached it started walking over TOWARDS me. I must have taken about 100 shots; it was one of the coolest things that has happened to me in a long time.

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She’s off!

Then just as quickly she ran off into the woods.

Technical stuff – Pentax K5 (for once I actually just put the camera in auto and started shooting not having time to figure out the ISO/exposure compensation etc.) Tamron 18-200mm lens, shot at almost full zoom. These are pretty much straight out the camera.

P.S. 3 posts in a week!!! Check me out being all bloggy and stuff!

Against the Odds: WPC

A few years ago I did a National Photowalk in my nearest ‘big’ town where all sorts of amateur and professional photographers met up to wander round the town taking photographs of things that interested them. Well I found myself wandering through a small downtown park when I felt rather than saw an enormous swoosh go past me. It was a fabulous red-tailed hawk and at first I really did think there must have been a trained bird-of-prey type display going on in the park as I thought it was trailing some tethers on its legs. Lo and behold it landed in a tree right next to me and I saw it didn’t have any tethers, it was actually holding a dead squirrel. I’ve never gotten so close to nature before and even though it was pretty gruesome it was fascinating watching the hawk rip the guts out of the squirrel. Also they don’t eat the fur. It was ripping the fur off and dropping it on the ground. As I said fascinating and gruesome. I stood and watched it for a good 20 minutes then it moved trees. I followed it and watched it for another 15 minutes before it was time for me to leave. Did I get lucky or what? My camera had a 90mm lens on as I was trying to use only one lens that day to improve my composition skills, but even without the superzoom I think I managed to get some pretty decent shots. Anyway I thought these were the perfect photographs to go with this week’s theme of Against the Odds.

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This next photograph was funny. I could just picture the squirrel going “Oh cr*p! I’ve picked the wrong tree! Maybe if I just stay still he won’t notice me…” “Mildred, Mildred, where are you? Watch out, there’s a big sock monkey up this tree!” (for sock monkey reference see a previous post https://alba1047.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/sock-monkeys-and-giant-mice/)

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Uh-oh!!! Be the tree. Be the tree. I am the tree.

Poor Mildred was lunch for the hungry hawk (sounds a bit like a childrens book!)

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“Have any of you seen Mildred?”

Against the Odds

Hawks

I wrote a post about hawks (or sock monkeys as we like to call them here) some time ago – this one https://alba1047.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/sock-monkeys-and-giant-mice/ but this time there’s pictures! I am privileged to have a backyard that backs onto woods and I just love sitting outside and listening to all the critters and varmits and birds (is a bird a critter or varmit?) Last year I discovered that the screeching noise I kept hearing was a young hawk calling for it’s mother (or father, not sure who does the feeding). Anyway this year not only is the screeching back but I managed to capture both the young bird and the mother (father?)

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Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk
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Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

The first two are of the young one. It was just sitting on the grass verge on my street as I was driving in, so luckily I always have my compact camera in my handbag and I managed to snap off these two shots out the car window.

Then when I got to my house the parent flew past me and landed on a tree in my neighbours garden. I hope they didn’t mind me walking over their grass to grab a shot with my DSLR but it was too good a chance to miss. This one is full zoom (300mm) on my Pentax K5.

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Adult Red-Tailed Hawk

I’m hoping to grab a shot of the owl that lives in the woods next. I did catch it once but the photo was terrible. It was only good enough to identify it as a Barred Owl. The owls make absolutely NO noise as they fly past. Their wing spans must be at least 4 feet, they are amazing birds.

I’m so lucky to have all this wildlife around.

Sometimes you gotta kiss the frog

I don’t like to kill animals unneccesarily so being the kind soul that I am I was giving the frog the benefit of the doubt. Why it thought that under the swing cushion would be a good place to live I don’t know. 5 times I sort of poked it with a stick and brushed it along till it jumped off the deck to the grass 10feet below. When it came back for the 3rd time I did wonder if I should kiss it, just in case, you know…. But before I could pucker up and say “SMOOCH ME BABY!” it hopped away again *sigh* Anyway today I lifted the cushion up as always, coz I imagine there’s nothing worse than squishing a frog with my fat arse (even under a cushion), and lo and behold there’s two of them! Mr and Mrs Frog. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want a snog. I don’t mind sharing my perfect reading seat with a frog (or two) but what happens if they have baby froglets? What happens if dawg sees them and eats them? I think frogs have fangs don’t they? They’re like mini-vampires with big smiles. That’s why we only every see them smiling, we never see the fangs till it’s TOO LATE!

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A perfect reading seat – or a honeymoon destination for frogs?

Frog inspection is necessary before sitting down with a book.

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The original handsome prince

One quickly turned into two. You wonder if (in frog language) he’s going “Come with me baby, I’ll show you the perfect place to live. We’re going up in the world now!”

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Mr and Mrs Frog

Yes, I know frogs don’t have froglets, they have tadpoles, and tadpoles live in water, but maybe this is just the honeymoon destination… maybe the hot-tub will be overrun by tadpoles next. I hope not. I just got it fixed!

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A better frog picture from last year

This last photograph was when I brought the hibiscus bush inside for the winter and a frog hitched a ride. I would have quite happily let him live out the winter on the bush except that it was obviously too hot in the house to hibernate so he started hopping around the living room. He had to go. I carefully buried him (alive) in mulch along the side of the house. Maybe this one is the grandfather of the one currently inhabiting my swing?

ps. See the smile? That’s him hiding his fangs.