Category Archives: photographer

Muscatatuck Fall

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge located three miles east of Seymour, Indiana, on U.S. Route 50. Established in 1966, it comprises 7,802 acres in its main area of eastern Jackson and western Jennings counties, and an additional 78 acres in northwestern Monroe County, near Bloomington, Indiana, known as the “Restle Unit”. It was established thanks to the selling of Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It was Indiana’s first National Wildlife Refuge. The name comes from the Muscatatuck River, which means “land of winding waters”.

Converted farm lands comprise 60% of the total land area of the refuge. Several archaeological sites in the refuge are on the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the tree cover is deciduous forest.

A visitor center, eight hiking trails (ranging from a fifth of a mile to four miles (6 km) of easy to moderate hiking), a four-mile (6 km) driving tour, two pioneer cemeteries, and a log cabin of historical significance are available for the 125,000 annual visitors to the refuge to enjoy. The refuge is open for visitation from 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset.

The primary wildlife protected in the refuge is waterfowl and other birds, including mating pairs of bald eagles.

On December 23, 1998 a small flock of four trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) were re-introduced to the refuge when they flew from Sudbury, Ontario accompanied by an ultra-light plane. This was the first time trumpeters had migrated to southern Indiana in over 100 years. Although these trumpeters returned to Sudbury in 1999 and 2000, the flock appears to have died out, although other re-introduced trumpeters visit the refuge in the winter today.
Also migrating tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) winter at Muscatatuck every year, usually a month or so before Christmas.

In 2001, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership raised whooping crane (Grus americana) chicks in Wisconsin’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge then guided them to Florida’s Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, utilizing Muscatatuck as a stopover site on the migrations. That population has been successful and by 2010 there were up to 105 migrating birds established in the eastern United States for the first time in over 100 years. The migrating birds are regularly seen during migration stopovers at Muscatatuck, often in the company of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis).

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Fall Cascade

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A serene scene from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. Warm fall light helps to create a very peaceful mood in this image I captured at the park. There are many much larger and more photogenic falls here but this one always brings me back for a visit because of its solitude and peacefulness it exudes.

The Road Thru Clifty

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Another shot from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. I captured this image on a early fall day walking the road that traverses the east side of Clifty Canyon Reserve located inside the park.

Wasn’t the best shot I ever got but it was one of those images that remind you of a special day that you will long remember !!

Stairway to Heaven

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Another beautiful fall scene from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. Even though it was a warm dry fall I was still able to capture a few nice images this year.

Little Clifty Bridge

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I was hiking at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana when I came across this beautiful scene. I caught the sun as it slid beneath the rugged hillside that surrounds Little Clifty Falls and the bridge that spans it. Timing is such a major player in photography and once again I ended up at the right place at the right time !!

Painted Lady

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Another example of one of the many diverse species of butterflies that live here in Southern Indiana. This one was photographed at Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana a couple weeks back. This year has seen an incredible number of painted ladies in the area which has been an unexpected surprise.

Hope you enjoy the image and I will share more in from Wikipedia…

The painted lady (V. cardui) is a large butterfly (wing span 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in)) identified by the black and white corners of its mainly deep orange, black-spotted wings. It has five white spots in the black forewing tips and while the orange areas may be pale here and there, there are no clean white dots in them. The hindwings carry four small submarginal eyespots on the dorsal and ventral sides. Those on the dorsal side are black, but in the summer morph sometimes small blue pupils are present.

The American painted lady (V. virginiensis) is most easily distinguishable by its two large hindwing eyespots on the ventral side. V. virginiensis also features a white dot within the subapical field of the forewings set in pink on the ventral side, and often as a smaller clean white dot in the orange of the dorsal side too. A less reliable indicator is the row of eyespots on the dorsal submarginal hindwing; V. virginiensis often has two larger outer spots with blue pupils. The black forewing tips have four to five white spots; usually the largest is whitish orange.

The West Coast lady (V. annabella) does not have obvious ventral eyespots. On the dorsal side, V. anabella lacks a white dot in the subapical orange found in V. virginiensis, and is a purer orange color. V. annabella has a fully orange subapical band and leading edge on the forewing. The submarginal row of hindwing spots in V. annabella features three or four blue pupils. The two larger pupils in V. annabella are the inner spots, rather than the outer spots as in corresponding V. virginiensis.

The Australian painted lady (V. kershawi) is quite similar to V. cardui. Its four ventral eyespots are less clearly defined, and it always sports at least three (often four) blue pupil spots on its dorsal hindwing. Caterpillars are found mainly on Ammobium alatum.

Gliding Giants

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This is one of those images that doesn’t present itself to you very much.

I captured these two Giant Swallowtails at Splinter Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area earlier this summer as they were gliding thru an open meadow in some type of courtship ritual.

I was lucky enough to be following them when they made a sudden loop and sailed right over me and my camera for a once in a lifetime shot. I fired off about 30 shots and I came up with this one image that I believe best represents this wonderful experience.

The cool thing is that these were the first Giant Swallowtails that I have ever observed or let alone photographed making it an amazing experience.

I hope you enjoy the image and I will share some info about this butterfly that I pulled from Wikipedia….

Papilio cresphontes, the giant swallowtail or in its larval phase the orange dog or orange puppy, is a swallowtail butterfly common in parts of North America and marginally into South America. In the United States and Canada it is mainly found in the south and east. With a wingspan of about 10–16 cm (3.9–6.3 in) it is the largest butterfly in Canada and the United States.

An adult’s wingspan is about 100–160 mm (3.9–6.3 in) The body and wings are dark brown to black with yellow bands. There is a yellow eyespot in each wing’s tail. The abdomen has bands of yellow along with the previously mentioned brown. Adults are quite similar to the adults of another Papilio species, P. thoas.

The mature caterpillar resembles bird droppings to deter predators, and if that doesn’t work they use their orange osmeteria. These are “horns” which they can display and then retract. The coloration is dingy brown and or olive with white patches and small patches of purple. Citrus fruit farmers often call the caterpillars orange dogs or orange puppies because of the devastation they can cause to their crops.

In the United States, P. cresphontes is mostly seen in deciduous forest and citrus orchards where they are considered a major pest. They fly between May and August where there are two broods in the north and three in the south. They can range from southern California (where they have been seen from March to December, reaching peak abundance in late summer/early fall), Arizona as deep south as Mexico north into southeastern Canada. Outside the United States and Canada they are found in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Jamaica and Cuba.

Giant swallowtails fly from Late May–August, but in some areas of the southern United States such as Texas and Louisiana, they may be seen as late as October. All giant swallowtails have a distinctive flight pattern which generally looks as if they are “hopping” through the air. Females tend to beat their wings slowly but move quickly. Because females have such large wings, each wing beat will carry it a long way. Males however, tend to have more of a darty flight. Males beat their wings rapidly, but they move slower than females because their wings are smaller and each beat carries them less far. Giant swallowtails in general fly fast and high and can be difficult to capture.