Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Nature Notes: September Begins

I assumed that all the cardinals would be full grown by now until I started watching the following two males chasing each other around my deck.
naturenote malecardin
The one above looks a lot like an adult male cardinal but his feathers are pretty muted and others I've photographed in the trees have the brighter red I associate with them. The one below is a mystery to me. He and the one above are the same size but he doesn't look mature at all. His beak isn't red and he doesn't have the dark black markings. Update - Nicole kindly found a link which cleared up the mystery. These are juveniles and you can click here for the Bird Forum to see the variations.
naturenote cardyngma
The female cardinal below was staying out of the two rowdy males way as she watched them chase each other.
natnote femcard
The squirrels have decided it's time to harvest the pecans. I think they are a little cheeky to crack them, eat their fill on my porch swing, and leave a mess for me to clean up. I must admit that they are cute as can be.
natnotesquir pecan
I was walking on a trail at the NC Art Museum Park when I heard what sounded like a heron screech. I didn't expect a heron to be there but I looked up and snapped a quick shot. I'm pretty sure it is a great blue heron although I didn't have time to zoom in.
natnote herfly
It seems like every time I look at the trees there is a little bit more color cropping up here and there.
natnote redtreegr
I was walking on a greenway trail recently and thinking about how there weren't too many signs of autumn coming on that particular trail.
No sooner had I thought there weren't any signs of autumn than I looked up and saw some trees losing leaves.
natnote treelvsky
On a recent walk at Shelley Lake I was looking at the water birds to see if there were any new ones. In the fall, there are usually some different geese and ducks that are only there briefly.
natnote geeskeskysc
Sure enough I noticed the pair below with their white chests and dark outer feathers and the black and orange feet. That was the first time I'd seen them this year.
natnote nedckfl
Whenever I pass the rock formation below, on one of the greenway trails I like to walk on, I am tempted to stick my fingers in the hole but I'm afraid something will bite me if I do.
natnote holercks
Those are a few of the nature photos I've taken so far this September. For other participants, please visit the home of Nature Notes (Thursday is the official post day).


gel said...

Hi there Carver,

You always share such wonderful series of photo treasures. I've also seen cardinals of that coloration and wondered why. (We live nearish to each other.) I wonder if it means the bird is sick? I hope not. I hope it's simply maturation needed for color. Splendid photos.

Cezar and Léia said...

You always write with emotion, pure emotion from your lovely heart, it's beautiful.I like to imagine I'm following your steps and seeing the beautiful critters, the amazing nature around.Thanks so much! :)

Nicole said...

Ah, thanks again for these beautiful sights.
I love that Heron shot exactly the way it is :)
And the lake and the bridge,... *sigh* :)
Can't help you with the Cardinals. Never ever seen one of those Beauties :(
I hazard the guess that he's changing the mold (feathers) though.

Nicole said...

OK, just checked here:
Those are def. Juveniles, maybe (most likely) even females :)

Unknown said...

OK, just checked here:
Those are def. Juveniles, maybe (most likely) even females :)

Shey said...

Fantastic series of shots. Love the information about the cardinals too. I've only seen them in Illinois during vacation. Awesome shot of the great blue heron & the bridge I had to cross virtually. :)

DeniseinVA said...

I've had those little cardinals around here too, same coloring. I thought they might be juveniles but didn't realize that there would be any this time of the year. Your photos are great. I loved the lighting on the bridge, and those holes in the rock for some reason, especially after you said about sticking your hands in them, reminded me of one scene in Roman Holiday:
Lovely post and thanks for stopping by!
An English Girl Rambles

Caron said...

Look how mottled his chest is! I never realized that. Also, I love watching herons fly, so smooth but so ungainly.

gel said...

Hi, I meant to tell you yesterday that I think your bridge shot is spectacular!

Nicole said...

OK, just checked here:
Those are def. Juveniles, maybe (most likely) even females :)

Wanted to send this last night, but I got server errors :/
(Most likely my Internet provider)

Nicole said...

Glad I could help.
You could always sign up at birdforum, they have a few very helpful people that can answer your questions about the mold.
My wild guess is, that these guys (girls) are in the 'middle stage'.
Like not exactly Juvs, but not yet fully matured.
Many birds have a weird looking mold then and are called 'one year' birds or 1st winter or something like that.
Like I said, the 'Experts' over there can explain it much better and usually you get the answer quite fast :)

srp said...

The squirrels here have produced a generation of wise crackers... instead of starting to gather the acorns, they are playing. My brother and I were working out behind the fence next to the preserve and I realized that things were falling out of the tree we were under, but there was no wind. It was the squirrels, sitting up in the tree dropping acorns and twigs on us! Heard their chattering as they did it. A couple hit me on the head and those things sting when dropped from 60 feet.

Squirrel said...

Wonderful series, loved the juvenile cardinals photos.

EG CameraGirl said...

I have never seen cardinals that look like that before! Maybe I just need to be more observant! :)

Rambling Woods said...

I was going to say that they were youngsters...glad you got your answer. The ducks are getting ready for their fall breeding colors to attract a female....beautiful heron photo Carver....Michelle