Hummer on the deck

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the yard, Kennebunk Maine

After I got back from Honduras early this month, I went out and bought a hummingbird feeder, as a kind of antidote to hummingbird withdrawal. We have a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds coming now, but this the first one who is making him/herself at home. It is most likely an immature female. It allowed me to work my way to about 6 feet from it, and then only took off because it was ready to go. Not the best light as the sun was behind a cloud, but still… There is a poem.

We have, maybe, a “resident” hummingbird
coming to our feeder, and resting on the
apple branches we bolted to the deck for
perches round the feeding station. It might
be a young bird…it has that look about it,
and it let me within six feet today…buzzing
up into the trees overhead not because I was
there, but just because it was ready to go.
It was back again a dozen times in the next
few hours, always perching near the top of
the apple branch, spending sixty seconds
at a time at the feeder, sipping up the red
nectar. Of course I have photos, which I
will share tomorrow. I feel privileged to
play host to such a special creature…Ruby-
throated, though its chin is yet bare…still
I could get lost in the iridescent beauty of
of its green back, in the intricate detail
of its breast and wing feathers. Lost, I say,
or found in beauty. What a way to go!

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 250. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom.

Halloween Pennant Mating Wheel

Halloween Pennant, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk Maine

Until last year at this time, I had never seen a Halloween Pennant…and then I found one on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area near my home in southern Maine. After that first sighting I saw several in different spots around home. This year I have been on the look-out for them on each trip to Day Brook Pond. When I got to the pond on Saturday there were several dozen Pennants paired up and flying in tandem over the pond, ovapositing by dabbing the water sharply. I assumed they were Calico Pennants as they have been abundant around the pond so far this season, but then I found first a single male and then this mating pair of Halloween Pennants along the shore. That brought my assumption into question, so I had to try for a flight shot of the ovaposing pairs over the water. Not easy, but I eventually managed a shot that shows clearly that the mated pairs over the pond are indeed Calicos.

Mated pair of Calico Pennants over Day Brook Pond.

Mated pair of Calico Pennants over Day Brook Pond.

Both shots with the Sony RX10iii. Halloween Pennants at 1200mm (2x Clear Image zoom). Program shifted for greater depth of field. f8 @ 1/125 @ ISO 100. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom. Flight shot of the Calico Pennants using my custom Sports Mode. 300mm @ 1/1000th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. Cropped heavily for scale.

Hairstreak photobombed by Yellowjacket! Happy Sunday.

Coral Hairstreak Butterfly and Yellowjacket Wasp, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk ME

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

This might be one of those Instagram or Facebook celebrity photo bomb shots 🙂 The Choral Hairstreak was busy with the Meadowsweet blossoms and I was busy taking it’s pic, when this Yellowjacket buzzed in from the left. The Yellowjacket was after smaller prey lower in the flower cluster, but it looked for an instant like it might go for the Hairstreak. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

And I had already had a great morning at the pond. This shot was right next to the car in the parking area. I had already put my camera bag in the car and was looking forward to cranking up the AC…but the Hairstreak right there beside me was irresistible, so I dug the camera out again. And you just never know what God is going to provide when you open your eyes and turn them on nature. I am, based frequent experiences of this kind, always ready to be blessed when I turn my attention outward, with or without my camera lens.

In a week of news from the Republican Convention and the presidential campaign, I need this kind of experience to remind me that the world is not nearly as dark as the politicians portray it. In fact, for the generous eye, the world is as bright as it has ever been…and that is bright indeed. Yes there are pockets of darkness…always have been and always will be while human beings exploit each other…where greed and self-interest rule the human heart…but that is not, no matter what you hear from the podium or the pulpit, the norm. The norm is generosity and light. The norm is grace. The norm is love. That is because light, grace, and love…generosity…is the nature of the God who creates all we know and all we are…who lives in all we know and is the true being of all we are. For people my age, i can say that the world is a brighter place today than it was when we were children. Safer, saner, with more people who walk in love…less want, more openness, more fairness, more inclusiveness. And yes the actions and effects of those who are motivated by greed…the stingy eyed…is often on display in today’s “bad news is good news” media world…but that does not mean we have to give the darkness, or those who peddle it in whatever from, power over our lives. God is good…in God there is no shadow or turning…and we get to live in the world we choose. Open your eyes wide in generosity…and be the light in this world we are intended to be. Happy Sunday!

Seaside Dragonlet

Female Seaside Dragonlet, Lower Mousam marsh pools, Kennebunk Maine.

Though the dominant species along the lower Mousam this year is the Spot-winged Glider, there are still numbers of the much smaller Seaside Dragonlets in the marsh pools. The female is one of the more intensely colored and patterned than the darker male, and has distinctly banded wings. This is a typical posture, with the wings held forward to shade the thorax. This lady was perched deep in the reeds, which accounts for the lovely bokeh.

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed and cropped for scale in Lightroom.

Snow Egret fishing…

Snowy Egret fishing. Lower Mousam River marsh, Kennebunk Maine

Snowy Egret fishing. Lower Mousam River marsh, Kennebunk Maine

There are often Egrets in the marsh pools along the lower Mousam River near my home in Kennebunk Maine. The river edge and marsh there is part of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. I caught this Snowy Egret in the act, doing a fishing dance more typical of it’s Reddish cousin. Ah well, success is all that matters…though I know fishermen who would say it is not about the catch at all. I have a feeling Egrets would not agree. 🙂

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Sports Mode. 1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.

Ebony Jewelwing

Ebony Jewelwing, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine

I posed a pic of the Ebony Jewelwing in the shade a few weeks ago, showing the abdomen as a bright metallic blue…but when the bug lights or flies in the sun, it shows as bright green with just a hit of blue. When two males contest territory in and out of the spots of sun over a little rapid in a stream, gyrating around each other, it is one of the more spectacular sights in the world of Odonata.

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.

Three’for!

Black-eyed Susan with three insects. Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport ME

I actually did not see the third bug in this Black-eyed Susan shot until I got it home and was processing it on the computer. The bee is obvious, as is the beetle. I am not certain what beetle it is, though it appears to be in the same family as Milkweed and Asparagus beetles. The spider is a Yellow Orb Weaver. Emmon’s Preserve, in Kennebunkport. The mosquitoes were so bad that my natural repellent was useless against them, and it was all I could do to stand still long enough to get a few shots here. I am very surprised there are not any mosquitoes in the image!

Sony RX10iii at 554mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.

Goldbug?

Teneral dragonfly? Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk Maine

This is a newly emerged dragonfly from Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk Maine. Though I have looked through my dragonfly book, it does not cover tenerals, so I am have little idea what it is. Hopefully someone will help me with the ID. I love the look of it, as though it were fashioned from gold. (If I had to guess, it would be a female Saffron Winged Meadowhawk…but that would be a wild guess. 🙂

Sony RX10iii at 600mm. 1/250th @ ISO 250 @ f4. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom.

Day Lily

Day Lily, our yard, Kennebunk Maine


Our small yellow Day Lilies have been in bloom for a week in the front garden, but these showy blooms at the end of the drive just bloomed yesterday. We were trying to figure out where they came from. I might have bought them last year, and they might have been transferred from another bed where they were not doing well, but at any rate, they are new at the end of the drive this year…and doing very well there. 🙂 Greeting guests. Like the folks at the Walmart door. Maybe. Certainly just as cheerful as the best of them. They were in deep afternoon shadow when I got around to photographing them.

Sony RX10iii at 88mm equivalent. 1/40th @ ISO 250 @ f5.6. Program Shift for greater depth of field. Processed in Lightroom (cropped slightly and a small amount of vignette added).

Wood Lily, Blueberries, and Little Green Metallic Bees. Happy Sunday!

Wood Lily, Blueberries, Little Green Metallic Bees, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk Maine

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

There are still lots of Wood Lilies in bloom out on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. I have only explored the Day Brook Pond side this summer so far, but, despite earlier impressions, the Wood Lily bloom is at least as good as last year, and maybe better. (It is about a week late, which contributed to my earlier disappointment.) Yesterday, I found a bunch growing right in among the ripe blueberries and wanted to frame both the blue and the bright red/orange in the same shot, but as I focused I noticed the Green Metallic Bees at work gathering the abundant pollen of the flower. I have shots where I adjusted the camera’s program to get the blueberries in better focus for better color contrast, but for this shot I was after the motion of the bees, so I let the camera choose a high shutter speed. (Photography, like most things in life, is all about choices and balance.) I remember finding my first Green Metallic Bee among the flowers of our yard a few years ago, and being totally amazed that such a creature could exist. In this shot we have two species, one much smaller than the already small Green Metallic, but clearly in the same family.

This shot, to my eye, has captured a vivid slice of life…full of a rich variety of color, form, and texture, and alive with energy. But then, so often, that is what the generous eye sees in the world around us…life both abundant and bright with promise…with the energy of the spirit at work in the world. And there is a unity. The bees are not separate from the flowers. As they gather the pollen of one plant and carry it to another, they are an essential part of the Wood Lilies’ life…there would be no more Wood Lilies without their action. Even the way the Wood Lilies and Blueberries are growing together must serve both…it is always about choices and balance…fulfilling the spirit’s vision of abundant life. If you push back behind the surface of this second, or any second, you become aware of the pure radiant light of creation at the center…expanding, expressing itself in form and color and texture, in all that lives and all that is…expressing itself with intelligence (choice and balance) and with all embracing love. You become aware of God. And God’s light fills you, not from the outside in, but from the inside out, as you realize yourself as another expression of the creative love and light that is all in all. Choice and balance…unity. Generosity.

Happy Sunday! And may your eye be generous.