Jack-in-the-pulpit. Happy Sunday!

Jack-in-the-pulpit, Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms, Maine

Jack-in-the-pulpit, Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms, Maine

“If you eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

Until last year I had never seen Jack-in-the-pulpit in the wild. I had seen it at botanical gardens in Boothbay and Bar Harbor (Coastal Maine Botanical Garden and Wild Gardens of Acadia), but never actually growing out of “captivity”. Then they cleared back the encroaching bushes and ferns along the boardwalk through the Red Maple Swamp at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Center) and last year there were two separate stands of Jack-in-the-pulpit revealed. This year, a fairly careful search only turned up one stand, but they have really razed the vegetation to the ground along the first section of the boardwalk, perhaps in an attempt to eliminate the invasive Japanese Barberry that grows in abundance there.

Considering, if clearing the brush along the boardwalk revealed two clumps of Jack-in-the-pulpit, the there are probably many such clumps, perhaps hundreds, scattered through the surrounding forest of Maple, Birch, and Pine. They grow low, under the cover of ferns and brush, and so go unseen and unsuspected by those of us who obey the rules and stick to the boardwalk. And if they are growing there, at Laudholm Farm, they are very likely growing in similar habitat all through Maine and New England. So probably not a rare plant at all…though one that is seldom seen.

Still, seeing them growing there along the boardwalk fills me with delight. What a wonderful thing it is to know that something so strange as the Jack-in-the-pulpit is growing, out of sight, and unsuspected, all around us. I do suspect, however, that the majority of people who walk the boardwalk every May never see the Jack-in-the-pulpit even though it is now out in plain sight. It is not that their eyes are not open…it is just that they are occupied with other things. Part of the generosity of the eye that Jesus talks about is being open to any and everything…to whatever God puts in front of us…to whatever is waiting our discovery. I can promise that getting your eye off what concerns us as humans, and opening ourselves to what is right in front of us will have its rewards. The delight of discovery first among them. Who knows what else the forest hides. If there are Jack-in-the-pulpits there, there might be anything! Happy Sunday.

Red-tailed Hawk with prey

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with prey, Laudholm Farms, Wells ME

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with prey, Laudholm Farms, Wells ME

I included a poem in yesterday’s post that highlighted this juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that swooped down from a tree ahead of me and pounced on something in the grass. It then proceeded to kill its prey…which evidently took some doing…as the hawk repeatedly jumped up into the air and pounced again. I thought at the time that the hawk might have taken a snake…which would definitely fight back and be hard to kill, but in hindsight it might have been that the juvenile was just inexperienced and would have had trouble with anything. 🙂 It was a great encounter. I felt privileged to be a witness, and was so excited that it was difficult to hold the camera still enough for shots. My primary impression was the size of the hawk. You rarely see them down on the ground like this and this close, and the bird looked huge!

Sony RX10iii at 600 and 1200mm. Exposure on Program but all about 1/640 @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwing, Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms, Wells ME

I took a photoprowl to Laudholm Farms yesterday (Well National Estuarine Research Center at…). It is always good to be there, and it is only about 6 miles from home (shorter as the crow flies), but yesterday was especially wonderful. I wrote a poem about it.

Any photoprowl that begins with
Wild Turkey in the tall grass beside
the road, and ends with a juvee Red-
tailed Hawk swooping in on prey,
killing it, and eating it in front of me,
not 40 feet away in low brush,
is a good photoprowl! And that is
not to mention the flock of 100
Cedar Waxwings moving through
the wild apple trees in the wood
beyond the Monarch Meadow, or
the Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing
against the sun, or magic of spring
light on new leaves and the forest
coming alive, or the Thrushes, or
the Blue-eyed Grass, or the Red
Squirrel, or wild Geraniums, or
the unbelievable cluster of Jack-
in-the-pulpit growing right beside
the boardwalk…I mean, Jack-in-
the-pulpit! So strange, so beautiful.
And for all that…all that wonder seen
and shot, home in time for lunch.

Now that is a good photoprowl!

This is one of that flock of 100 Cedar Waxwings, one of two large flocks I encountered on my prowl. I think Cedar Waxwings are among the most elegant of birds…silky feathers and subtle colors set off with crayon bright flashes on the tail and wings. Beautiful altogether.

Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent (600mm plus 2x Smart Tel-converter which crops a 5mp image out of the center of the sensor to achieve twice the magnification). 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.

If you are interested in my daily poems you can follow them at Day Poems 2016 (http://daypoems16.blogspot.com) or on Facebook in my stream or in my Day Poems 2016 collection on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/0uunr}


Baskettail Dragonfly, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk ME

The dragonflies are coming out these past few days. At Day Brook Pond there are many tenerals…newly emerged dragonflies…and a few fully hardened off adults. This is, I believe, one of the Baskettails…probably the Common Baskettail. You hardly ever see the adults perched, and I am not familiar enough with the tenerals to be sure.

Sony RX10iii at 600mm plus 2x Clear Image Zoom. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.


Tricolored Heron, St. Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery, St. A, Florida

Birds spend a lot of time on maintaining their feathers: grooming, preening, oiling, rearranging, etc. Not surprising. When they are not hunting, feeding, breeding, or feeding young…they are probably grooming. This Tricolored Heron at St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s wild bird rookery is busy on the underside of his wing. A long neck comes in handy that way.

Nikon P900 at 1000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 400 @ f5.6. Processed in Lightroom.

Blackburnian Warbler x 4

Blackburnian Warbler, Magee Marsh, Ohio.

Blackburnian Warbler, Magee Marsh, Ohio.

Back to Ohio and Magee Marsh today for this 4 shot collage of Blackburnian Warbler…certainly one of my favorite warblers. Like a live spark. 🙂

Nikon P900 at 1600mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 280 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.

Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk ME

This is neither Florida or Ohio. 🙂 With spring finally in the ascendancy here in Southern Maine, the Water Snakes (Northern) have come out to sun along the shore of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. This young fellow, only half the size to the biggest I have seen in the pond, was making use of the fallen birch over the water. This is a common posture…they raise their head even when stretched out, and certainly when swimming, probably for better vision.

Sony RX10M3. 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom.

Lady Slipper time. Happy Sunday!

Pink Lady Slipper, Rachel Carson NWR, Wells ME

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

I have been watching the patches of Pink Lady Slipper at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and along the Kennebunk Bridle Trail in Wells and Kennebunk for weeks now. There is one patch off a deck at the back at Rachel Carson, overlooking Branch Brook, where the sun comes in all day. Lady Slipper orchids bloom there at least a few days, sometimes a week, before they bloom anywhere else in our area. Yesterday the first blossoms opened fully. I can go back through my archives on my WideEyedInWonder site and find images of this plant going back at least 7 or 8 years, maybe more. I don’t mean this plant as in Lady Slipper, I mean this plant as in this Lady Slipper. It always produces at least two blossoms, sometimes as many as 6. There is a delicacy, a rare beauty in these strange blooms, and I do my best to catch it year by year.

My yearly Lady Slipper vigil is part of what keeps me aware of the constant renewal of the beauty of creation…the cycle of change…no two years the same…but each year with its beauty…that is God’s creative love at work, day by day. It is not that Genesis has it wrong when it says that after God created the heavens and the earth God rested…it is that we have the wrong idea of rest. Rest, in the divine sense has to be creative, radiant…an ongoing action producing peace…an continual outflowing and outworking of love. Rest is not a pause in the dance, or a silence in the music…it is the moment of perfect balance within the motion of the dance…it is the moment when the notes of the music echo in the room…echo in our hearts and minds…and fulfill their beauty. That is a little, a very little, like the rest of God.

When I see the Lady Slippers bloom, in the quiet beauty, I sense the active rest of God, and the notes of God’s love echo and swell in my life to fill it. This is reason enough to love the Lady Slipper, reason enough to watch for its coming, and to celebrate its bloom year by year. Happy Sunday!

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk, Washington Oaks Garden State Park, Florida

Back again to Florida for today’s pic. This is an immature Red-shouldered Hawk at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park south of St Augustine Florida. I saw a similar hawk last year when I visited, so I was kind of looking for this hawk when it appeared in the huge Live Oaks above the water features in the shaded part of the garden. It appeared as though on cue, and my students (it was a Point and Shoot Nature Photography field trip at the Florida Birding and Photo Fest) were duly impressed 🙂

Nikon P900 at 1200mm equivalent field of view (pulled back for context). 1/160 @ ISO 400 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.





Another Oriole in Apple

Baltimore Oriole, Magee Marsh, Ohio.

Back to Ohio today for this Baltimore Oriole in Apple blossoms. An action shot.

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processes and cropped for scale in Lightroom.