Today's photo is a collage of images of my little red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) enjoying a strawberry during a snowstorm. While one of the squirrels examined the strawberry and cast it aside as he searched for sunflower seeds, this one appeared to enjoy a little fresh fruit in the midst of the snow and wind. I can't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure he enjoys posing for our little photo shoots.
Today's photo is a dewdrop reflection on a blade of grass. The reflection in the droplet is from a carousel horse in the background. The beautiful pinks, yellows and blues in the background are colors from the carousel horse that are out of focus. I love the soft colors in this photo.
Today's photo was taken in early May last year. This little beetle (I believe it is a blister beetle) was visiting the buds on my lilac bush in the late afternoon.
He caught me off guard when he spread his wings to fly away. You can see in the photo that a beetle has two pair of wings. The outer wings, called lytra, are hard and stiff and cover the inner wings when the beetle is at rest, explains the University of Kentucky Entomology Department. These wings protect the beetle and make him look like he has a hard shell. The second set of wings are hidden under the elytra, but when the beetle wants to fly away, he spreads the outer wings and uses the second set of wings to take to the skies.
Today's photo is a red squirrel. These squirrels are active in Maine all year long and are a common sight in the backyard. This little squirrel was born last spring and has been a regular visitor to my backyard everyday since then. In fact, I watched a pair of them grow over the course of the year. According to Natureworks, the female typically gives birth to three to seven babies in late winter or early spring. They are weaned at 7 to 8 weeks and leave their mothers at about 18 weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, red squirrels aren't crazy about dried corn and will avoid the dried corn cobs unless all other food sources are gone. They actually prefer sunflower seeds and will seek them out. Even when offered mixed seeds with dried nuts, my squirrels will choose the sunflower seeds first and leave the nuts until last. Of course, that means the bird feeder is their favorite location. I put up several feeders and try to have at least one feeder that is inaccessible to squirrels so I can enjoy watching both the squirrels and the birds all year. This also provides me with excellent photo opportunities!
To learn more about wildlife in Maine, check out my In My Backyard Series.
Today's photos are a series of shots taken of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird preening. I got these shots last summer when I spied her in the chokecherry tree. She spent several minutes cleaning and fluffing her feathers before continuing on with her day.
The Ruby Throated Hummingbird spends her winters in southern Mexico and Central America and returns to Maine in late April or early May. She begins her journey north in February, arriving in southern Florida by late February or early March and follows the blooming of wildflowers up the eastern coastline. She travels as far north as southern Canada.
Today's photos are closeups of snowflakes. They were all taken this year, most within the past couple of days. I thought it was only fitting to post them to remind people of how beautiful snow really is as we prepare for a massive nor'easter here in Maine tonight and tomorrow.
Someone mentioned to me the other day that they were surprised that snowflakes are clear like ice. Well, there is a good reason for that. Snowflakes are ice crystals and aren't really white at all. Snow looks white because the the ice does not absorb any color of light rays and reflects them all equally, explains Snow Crystals. When light enters a pile of snow, it bounces around from flake to flake and reflects all the colors of light. Objects that reflect all the light rays appear white to the eye.
According to Professor Verlinde at Penn State University, there are approximately 5.2 quintillion (5,179,976,221,000,000,000) "pea-size" snowflakes in a snowstorm that deposits 5 inches of snow over a 2,000 square mile area. I'll let you do the math to determine how many snowflakes it takes to cover the State of Maine with 2 feet of snow.
If you are mathematically minded, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to calculate it for us and leave your answer in the comments!
Tonight's Penumbral Lunar Eclipse wasn't very spectacular, but the halo that formed around the full moon was. I shot the halo and the full moon separately because they needed different settings. I then blended the two images so that both the moon and the halo would be in focus to reproduce what viewers could see with the naked eye.
Technically speaking, the circular image above is not really a halo. It is a weather phenomenon called a corona. A corona forms when high, thin clouds move across the front of the moon and the rays of light from the moon refract light from tiny water droplets or ice crystals in the clouds. A corona has the colors of the rainbow arranged in several concentric circles, while a true halo is a circle of white or light colored light around the moon.
Today's photos are called iridescent clouds. The rainbow colors are caused when the sun shines through a cloud with very tiny ice crystals (or water droplets) inside. If the ice crystals are larger it will create a halo instead of rainbow colors. The colors are usually seen in thin clouds or along the outer edges of the cloud.
Today's photo is a family of whitetail deer wandering along an old dirt road in search of some tasty buds to eat. I captured these this morning while on a walk down the road near my home. It appears to be a doe with two of last year's fawns (not quite a year old yet) and a yearling (between 1 and 2 years old) from the previous year. I'll be checking the area out again tomorrow to attempt closer shots.
Today's photo is a wild black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) that I found along the roadside last summer. While these are a common sight in Maine in mid to late summer, this one is unique because it has a double bloom. The wild black eyed Susan typically has a single bloom with one layer of petals and looks like a yellow daisy with a brown center. Cultivated varieties of Rudbeckia come in a variety of colors with both single and double blooms. Some cultivated varieties produce bright, variegated flowers with rich shades of brown or bronze radiating from the center.
Check Out My Books