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June 2007

May 2007

Turtle eggs


    In the image above, there are five eggs. Can you identify them?

    Clue #1: The three brownish round ones were found in the mulch pile in the Celery Farm parking lot.

   Clue #2: The roundish white egg, slightly smaller than a Ping Pong ball,  and the bigger bluish once came from my pocket: They are replicas from an outfit called Bone Clones.

    The answers: The three little eggs are snapping turtle eggs.

    The whitish one is a screech owl egg replica.

    And the light bluish one is a great blue heron egg.

    Raccoons or other night creatures raided our backyard the other night and dug up (and ate) some 50 snapping turtle eggs.

   Judging from our dug-up front yard, side yard and back yard, the snapping turtles' strategy appears to be to lay eggs everywhere and hope that some hatch.


Owlets May 30


    All four owlets are doing well. Mom and Dad are keeping busy feeding them.

   No videos today -- I was trying to take some night shots from my window yesterday evening with the camera set for "night image" and the video on, and all I got was the old black cat in a coal mine shot.

   I forgot to change the settings before I shot footage of the little guys jumping around, and the result was less than happy.

   I have learned all sorts of camera lessons over the past 11 weeks, including:

   Make sure the camera has a memory card (or film).

   Make sure it has a battery.

   Make sure the settings are right.

   Take the picture, then figure out what you are seeing.

   When in doubt, take the picture.

   Always carry a spare memory card (or roll of film) and an extra battery.

   Most important: Always bring your camera.


Snapping turtle laying eggs




    The backyard was a maternity ward this weekend, with at least two turtles laying eggs simultaneously at one point. 

    My friend, photographer Jerry Barrack, helped with the shots (that's why the quality is better than usual on some).

   The sequence is of one of the snapping turtles laying eggs, with the shot above of the other turtle.  Look closely at the last image and you can see the eggs.






Owlet update May 28



   I am happy to report that the owlets are doing great, even the smaller ones.

   I had been worried because when the four of them wait for their mom or dad to return with food, the bigger owlets are like NBA power forwards blocking out smaller players from going up for the rebound.

   At dusk, Mom and Dad fly in with dead moths for the owlets, and the bigger owlets always seem to snare them.

   But the adults make sure the smaller eat enough, too, by flying in later with bigger prey, tearing it into pieces and putting it into the mouths of all four nestlings.

   Here's a video of one adult feeding the kids, and the other showing up with a small side dish.

Download MVI_0987a.avi 




Mrs. Wood Duck -- check out 2nd video


As I promised yesterday, I have a video of Mrs. Wood Duck flying into her wood duck nesting box -- to show that a full-size duck really can fit through that little opening.

Download MVI_0879a.avi 

  But in an odd turn of events, Mrs. Wood Duck flew out again at 3:30 p.m. and returned around 6, just as we were finishing dinner with friends and family.

   Our 5-year-old friend Annabel was about to sing an after-dinner song -- a song she was rehearsing for her kindergarten graduation on June 15.

   I asked could she please wait until after  the wood duck flew into the box, but the wood duck seemed to be taking forever, and Annabel couldn't wait any longer.

   What you see and what you hear on the following video happened simultaneously.

   This was not planned.

   It just happened.

   No overdubbing, no sleight of computer.

   I thought it might be worth sharing.

  It somehow seems even more fitting today, Memorial Day.

Download MVI_annabela.avi