This large moth was sitting on the porch when I got home.
When I came in the other night, I was met by a giant moth on my front porch. Few of these actually reach maturity. At over six inches as a caterpillar and bright green, it would make for an easy snack. They emerge in late spring and turn out to be a fairly large moth. The wingspan is easily eight inches. Really an amazing part of the natural world. The world is amazing when you slow down, have a sense of situational awareness, and open yourself up to experiencing nature as it presents itself to you.
After putting up the feeder, and then a single hummingbird finally finding it, I am so fascinated by these little birds ability. As a drone flyer, these little birds are the ultimately nature’s drones. And… Look fat those little feet!
If you want to know 25 fun facts about hummingbirds, click here. I learned a lot of things I never knew or considered. Like that an average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute.
Hummingbird taking a drink
Hummingbird seeing if he emptied the feeder after one drink, then realizes he still has a long way to go.
One of my favorite parts of this time of year is that all the hummingbirds begin to migrate up this way. These little high-performance fighter jets of the bird world have highly reflective feathers. While fur absorbs light, feathers tend to reflect, causing the hummingbird in this image to be beaming with green off the back. Stay tuned for my bird photography tricks and tips coming soon.
Having seasons is nice. One change leads to another and each one is new and exciting with those changes; winter and fresh snow, fall and the larch trees changing to vibrant colors of yellow, or summertime playing in the mountain lakes. But springtime… means there will soon be newborn wildlife all over.
The other day I came across this osprey hanging out on the nesting box. It is in the perfect spot next to a lake, so feeding should be easy. As the season continues, I hope to spot other young wildlife roaming around.
Many of these nest boxes for osprey are occupied this time of year.
I have been on a hiatus from this project for awhile as I worked on other projects related to flight, video, and pictures. While I have been away though, I have learned more about videos and creating some really neat content. However, getting back to nature is my true love and I neglected this blog.
Nature is always calling, we just aren’t always listening.
Inversions happen when warm air sits on top of cooler air and traps it. Sounds travel further, trapped air holds smoke lower, and even light acts differently. When it clears out, this was yesterday’s surprise.
Recently I purchased the first of four levels of the Kamana Training Program. This program is a home study naturalist program. I thought it would be interesting to see where my knowledge falls, as well as evaluate and review the program for others that might want to invest in their naturalist knowledge.
How did I discover this program? It is a bit of a story that starts with a book. All my best journeys start with a book. One of the first books I used on tracking wildlife was Animal Tracking Basics by Jon Young and Tiffany Morgan. The book is very thorough in teaching the basics and more. There are some forms to draw maps and make you more aware of your environment. I wanted .pdfs of the forms so I used the website provided in the book. Bam, brick wall, the link was dead. So I had to dig deeper. eventually I was able to make contact with someone that had copies of the forms.
Whoever asked around on the other end went the extra mile to help fulfill my request. That speaks volumes. I could have been told, “I don’t know,” or even “Nope, we don’t do that.” They messaged within their group and sent me something that they didn’t have to even try. That kind of customer service really gave me the comfort I needed to start a study at home program. I knew I could find help if I needed it.
My preliminary research of Wilderness Awareness School is positive. I would love to take enough time off my job and attend some of the intensive classes. However, I have a 6a-4p, sometimes a 10p to 8a, but mostly a 2p-12a job. I am lucky enough to spend those hours outdoors though, so I rarely ever complain about my schedule. I have seen a different world that many people are at home in bed sleeping through. That is a post for another time though.
Where can you find more information? At https://www.wildernessawareness.org/adult-programs/kamana
The first level contains the study material, the Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife guide, and a CD set Seeing Through Native Eyes.
I can’t wait to share more, and tell you my course experience.
This week has been the big cool off for the year so far. While last month I had a picture on Instagram of the first snow in the high-country there has been no snow in the lower elevations. The forecasters are saying that tomorrow night will be the first frost. Over the past few days it has been rainy and cold. I guess fall is really close.
Snow on Mt. Cleveland
Today I heard an elk bugle somewhere in Canada. Nature is full of beautiful noises. Nature is even full of beautiful colors. The bright colors of summer flowers is replaced by the changing colors of the leaves and tamarack needles. Some years the color change is so vibrant, I can study a scene for hours.
Fall Colors on the North Fork
I want to leave off with one final thought from one of the recent books I have been reading. “The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need,” from The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Vitual Age by Richard Louv. So far as I read this book, a lot of it makes sense to our world. I enjoy sharing nature with people and hopefully adding value to their lives with it. I am also a technophile to the range of extreme. I spend a lot of time off-grid and incommunicado. It takes a few minutes, but after I gain focus, I hear the birds, feel the wind, and soon have a clear mind. It is great, and I encourage people to try it as well. I am willing to share those moments with you either virtually or in person. Again, this is a pretty powerful book, even if it just makes you stop and think about what you might be missing out on by turning off or ignoring the nature part of human existence.
As September starts off, it seems that summer is unofficially over. When summer tourist traffic dies down, kids go back to school, and the migratory birds show up it just starts to get that feeling of fall. While the official start of fall isn’t for a few weeks yet (I am working on a autumnal equinox post for then), I have been beginning to see a lot more migratory birds moving south. I was able to capture images of a two so far. The second one was kind of out of reach for the biggest lens I had at the time. I prefer to photograph rather than sketch. It really helps in identification for me later. I am no artist and I would surely miss important details like beak shape or tail shape.
Swainson’s Thrushes breed in Western Montana, the northern part of the western Canadian provinces, and Alaska. As summer ends they migrate to Central and South America in the winter. What a journey for such a small creatures. I imagine this one was feeding and resting up for another leg of the journey.
The Yellow-rumped warbler really pushed the limits of my lens. I could see the motion and knew I needed a quick capture. This warbler has two sub-species. The sub-spedies in the west is know as the “Audubons.” “Myrtle” is the eastern sub-species. The winter grounds for the Yellow-rumped Warbler are central America and the southern United States. Their northern most range and breeding occurs in the northern part of the western Canadian provinces and Alaska.
Tip for birdwatching (and nature observations in general):
Most of these birds flew up close to me as I sat in silence. The only noise I made was my breathing and shutter clicks from the camera. To see what is going on around you, you have to stop and be present. That means taking a break from the digital noise or just daily white noise that is going on around you. At first, the silence may be deafening. In our day to day living, we tune so much out. When you tune in to your environment you will notice so much more. I make it a habit to try and tune in daily for at least for an hour if I can. It has done wonders to discover more in the natural world.
I use the Merlin App by the Cornell Lab to reference my bird information and identification.