Monday, July 30, 2007

Mondays Photos

For the past two weeks I have been seeing Gulls at Branched Oak Lake. Initially there were just one or two. Today I saw a small flock of about a dozen Ring-billed Gulls.

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The picture of the day was this Delaware Skipper

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Stagecoach Lake SRA

I decided I would head south of town for a change today. It was overcast and muggy. Which made me grumpy because I wanted to take some pictures of the Stagecoach Lake. Nonetheless, I trundled off. It turned out to be an okay day.

My favorite photo of the day was this little guy, and I do mean little. They are a challenge to photograph. Then for some reason the id'ing of them seems to be a challenge too. Oh well, I always learn something in the process!

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Over at the photography site I now have a gallery for Stagecoach Lake SRA

Update The little guy is an Eastern Tailed Blue

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today's Photos

Didn't seem like there were many birds out and about today. Or maybe I didn't look in the right places.

They had mowed the fields at Branched Oak Lake sometime since I was there last week. Saw this guy just standing out there. Every once in awhile he would put his head back and give his call. At first I wondered if he was protesting the mown grass, then I realized he was talking to one of his friends that was behind me as I looked at him.

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I seem to have been blessed with seeing Northern Bobwhites regularly this year. One is thankful for that in light of the Audobon study that was released earlier this summer that has Bobwhites at the top of their Top 20 Birds in Decline.

Then there was this little guy

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I caught him between nabbing insects on the ground.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Paper

On the sidebar of one of the sections of the paper today there was an article entitled "Lady Bird's Wildflower Legacy In Nebraska". The article doesn't seem to be in the online version of the paper.

According to the article, Nebraska "started planting native grasses in the mid-1960's and wildflowers in 1971". They are planted on new projects or whenever a highway is widened. The species being planted can be found here.

The article cites the following roadways as the best for viewing wildflowers:

  • Nebraska 2 from Grand Island to Alliance
  • US 20 from Valentine to Chadron
  • US 83 from McCook to Valentine
  • US 6 from Imperial to McCook
  • Nebraska 8 from Falls City to Fairbury
  • Nebraska 11 from Scotia through Burwell to Butte in Boyd County
  • Nebraska 61 from Ogallala to Merriman
  • Nebraska 71 from Gering to Crawford
  • Nebraska 12 from Ponca to Valentine
  • Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Wagon Train Lake Photos

    Over at the photo site, I added a gallery for Wagon Train Lake SRA.

    Have gone through all of my digital photos and I don't have enough pictures of any other State Rec Area to justify a gallery. Guess that gives me an excuse to go out and take more photos. As if I needed an excuse.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Monday's Adventures

    After feeling crummy all weekend, I woke up Monday morning feeling decent. So I filled up my thermal cup with coffee and off I went to my favorite lake. I turned off the highway onto a gravel road and within a few hundred feet, venturing forth was made worthwhile! There was a family of Ring-necked Pheasants. It was hard to count the younguns, but it looked like there were eight or nine of them. They were on the passenger side of the car, so no hope of getting any photos. Daddy was about ten feet away from Mom and the kids. Mom and some of the kids were in the grass alongside the road and three of the kids were on the road. Since photos were out of the question, I just sat back and watched. Mom and Dad were definitely aware I was there, but they didn’t seem too concerned. Eventually Mom headed toward the cornfield and the younguns soon followed suit. Once they had all disappeared into the cornfield, I continued on my way.

    I parked on the boat ramp, which at this lake is a perfect spot to view whatever birds that happen to be on or over the water. It’s also a good point to view all kinds of other birds. While sitting there, there were two visitors to water’s edge.

    A Mourning Dove

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    A female Red-winged Blackbird

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    Now I know they aren’t very exotic, but I can never pass up the opportunity to get a good picture of any bird.

    Headed on to Branched Oak Lake and returned to the spot where I have seen Lark Sparrows. I got one really crummy photo. So I shall keep trying. Maybe even tomorrow!

    ***PLEASE NOTE*** I have added an update to yesterdays post.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Marmots, Flowers, and Dragonflies

    Friday I was feeling kind of crummy, but I headed out to Branched Oak Lake. I sat for awhile in an area where I have seen Lark Sparrows. Really would like to get a photo of one. I saw them, but they were always out of range of the camera. Finally decided to move on. Had not gone far when I spotted a brown furry lump in the tall grass. So I stopped and watched for awhile to see if I could figure out what it was. The brown furry lump was foraging and moving slowly. Finally the little guy put his head up and it was a marmot.

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    Moved on to a field of wildflowers. Got this really neat picture of a Black-eyed Susan.

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    And then this picture of a dragonfly. I have just about given up on dragonfly and damselfly identification. I have three insect id books that all have very small sections on dragonflys and damselflys. I can't find any books dedicated to them only. Anyhoo, here's the unidentified dragonfly.

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    Update (June 17, 7:30pm CDT) A commenter has suggested my brown furry critter is a woodchuck. When I saw this critter, I was unsure what it was. I have two books with critter pictures. The pictures in one book made me think it was a marmot, the other book made me think it was a woodchuck. So I wandered around the internets looking for pictures. I still wasn't sure, so when I uploaded my photos over on the photo site, I entitled it Marmot? Within an hour, I had a commenter that said that id was correct. I've had no other commenters on that site, and I haven't yet removed the question mark from the title. If my commenter wants to articulate the difference, (or anyone else reading this site) I would be delighted. I really would like to know for sure what what this brown furry critter is.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Lady Bird Johnson

    I love wildflowers. I love the challenge of photographing them. I love to see them swaying in the breeze. Wildflowers sparked my interest in the greater outdoors and how they fit into our universe in general.

    Lady Bird Johnson passed away earlier today.

    The next time you pay a visit to Washington, D.C. and the tulips and daffodils are blooming, remember to say thank you to Lady Bird.

    The next time you drive down a scenic highway and there are no billboards, remember to say thank you to Lady Bird. Lady Bird wanted the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 passed, and Lyndon Johnson made sure it got passed for his wife's sake.

    If you visit the Hill Country of Texas in the spring and experience the beauty of the wildflowers, you can thank the influence of Lady Bird for that also.

    There are so many more things that I should give her credit for, but those are the ones that come to mind. I'm sure others will do so far more eloquently than I.

    LBJ Library Photo by Frank Wolfe

    Thank you Lady Bird for a race well run.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Branched Oak Lake and Pawnee Lake Photography

    Last week I was talking with a friend about the site I use to post photographs. When I started posting photos over there I set the galleries of photos up by subject, i.e. birds, flowers, etc. She liked the way I did my recent trip by splitting up the photos by place, as well as by subject. So she suggested I do galleries of photos by place also.

    So I have put up galleries of two State Recreation Areas. I will add more as time and photos allow.

    I have divided each rec area up by scenery, flora and fauna.

    The gallery for Branched Oak Lake

    The gallery for Pawnee Lake

    Links are also in the sidebar.

    Sunday, July 8, 2007

    Eight Random Facts

    I've been tagged by John to post eight random facts about myself.

    The rules for Eight Random Facts are simple. Players are asked to post a blog entry that:
    Explains the rules of the game,
    Contains eight random facts about themselves, and
    Lists eight other bloggers who are tagged to write similar posts.
    Finally, players should notify (by email or blogpost comment) each person that they have chosen to play the game, referring them to your post for further details.

    Since I'm not well known in the blogging world, that should be relatively easy! Without further adieu...

  • I was born and raised in Seattle
  • I'm an only brat, which has both advantages and disadvantages!
  • I took an early retirement because, well, because I could
  • When I retired, I vowed to learn something new everyday
  • Classroom learning bores me to tears, which is why I flunked out of college
  • Growing up, I wanted to be a librarian, and I love to read. One walk through my house would lead you to believe I decided to have a library in my house!
  • I got my first 35mm camera from a roommate that got one in one of those "free" offers that cost you dearly
  • When I moved to Nebraska 17 years ago, I was convinced there was absolutely nothing to take a photograph of. Fortunately, I soon found that just because there wasn't an ocean or mountains, there is still plenty to see, do, and photograph

    I wandered around the blogosphere for a bit before doing this post, and it looks as though just about every blogger I read, has already been tagged so...I guess I will break the chain.
  • Saturday, July 7, 2007

    Saturday Musings

    On this seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of this century, interesting numbers come to mind.

  • My mother was born 11/11/11
  • She was a triplet.
  • The house address of her senior residence is 1111.
  • She lives in apartment 222.

    This weeks favorite photograph is of a female Melissa Blue. They are really tiny!

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  • Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Fourth of July

    Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!

    (Graphic courtesy of

    Monday, July 2, 2007


    If I hadn't gotten a call on my cell phone, I would have never gotten this wildflower picture. I do not like to talk on the phone and drive so I try to find a safe spot to pull over. In this case, I was on a gravel road and there was no one around, so I just pulled over. While I was sitting there chatting, I noticed this wildflower. Once off the phone I hopped out of the car with my trusty camera. It's a Chicory. I suppose I have seen it before, but I don't have any pictures of it.

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    My favorite wildflower identification site has this to say about it:

    This native of the Mediterranean region is considered a weed.

    Chicory has been used for salad greens and the root as a coffee substitute.

    The flowers are usually blue, but can occasionally be white.

    The flower heads open in the early morning and close around noon on bright days.

    Native Americans boiled the roots to make a wash for fever sores and steeped the roots to create a nerve tonic.

    Chicory has a deep taproot.

    Will give a bitter taste to milk when consumed by dairy cattle.

    I find the factoid of it opening early in the morning and closing around noon to be very interesting!

    Sunday, July 1, 2007

    Sunday Paper

    Today's Lincoln Journal Star has an article about boating, and a smidge about fishing at Branched Oak and Pawnee Lakes. Nary a word about birds though.