About Me

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We are known as PaWingers or just The Wingers by our Geocaching friends. When we found our first cache we had to come up with a name to log the find. We came up with this name simply because of residing in Pa. and because one of our many passions is cruising this beautiful country on our Honda Goldwing. Aside from geocaching we are passionate about most anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling and biking. We are blessed beyond words with a wonderful son and daughter in law. We're also blessed with some terriffic family and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate due to the fact that after being married over 40 years we still enjoy these things together.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Capturing Images Of The Tiny Flower Kisser

The Ruby Throated Hummingbird has a few different names.  It's known by some as the Flower Kisser.  The Spanish have a couple of names for it that are descriptive for their behavior such as Chupaflor which means flower sucker and Picaflor which means flower nibbler. The Portuguese call it the Beija-Flor or Flower Kisser.  I affectionately call it the fast little freaking bird that is difficult to get pictures of.

Hummingbirds are actually extremely fascinating.  They are a tiny little birds that can do things that no other bird can do.  Did you know they flap those little wings about 60-80 times per second and their heart will beat 1220 times per minute while in flight.  Speaking of wings and heartbeats, listen up for a moment.  Hummingbirds can beat their wings in a full circle making them the only birds that can fly forward, backwards, sideways, up, down and even hover.  They can even fly upside down for short distances.  Now are you understanding why it's so difficult to get pictures of them?

Let's talk about migration for a moment.  Everyone knows that a lot of bird species migrate south for the winter but don't give much thought to this amazing journey each winter.  Did you know that Hummingbirds also migrate?  Some make a 2000 mile journey from as far north as Canada and head south to wait out the cold winters in Panama.  This little trip requires a 500 mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.  At an average speed of 25 mph that non stop flight takes over 20 hours over water.  Pretty amazing, huh!

These images were taken in the backyard and feature the Ruby Throated Hummingbird.  The females don't have the ruby colored patch on the throat but other than that have the same iridescent colors as the males.  This particular evening the males didn't seem to want their pictures taken while the females offered a few opportunities for some images.  As I was patiently waiting for photo opportunities of the Flower Kissers, I was continually teased by a couple Bluebirds and one vibrantly colored Cardinal.  They'll get their chance!

Oh, this is going to be SWEET!!

Getting lined up with the Sweet Nectar!

I'm in and enjoying!!!  Yummy, this sure is tasty!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Great Blue Heron in search of his mid-day snack.

The Great Blue Heron is an amazing bird with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet from wing tip to wing tip.  It's an amazing hunter and will wade out into shallow water with it's long slender legs and barely make a ripple.  It will sometimes spear it prey with it's long pointy bill.

This Heron kept us occupied for close to an hour as we sat silently waiting for him to get close enough for some decent images.  It was very interesting to observe the movements of this great hunter.  He moved carefully through the shallows with incredible patience in search of an unsuspecting fish or frog.  As we watched he did end up catching a small fish which he swallowed in one gulp.  I was able to snap a few images but apparently one quick reflection from my camera lens caused him to take flight.  Nature photography requires loads of patience but that perfect shot can be so rewarding.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

As the light of day fades away, life in the wild goes on.

Sometimes wildlife photography offers unexpected opportunities.  On this evening we were heading back home and had safely tucked the Canon away on the backseat.  The light was fading quickly and there was a light drizzle.  We were heading back to the warmth and safety of our home but out in the wild life goes on. There was little light left when we spotted this big fella and had it not been for the slight illumination from the sky in the background we may not seen him.  Our first thought was to simply watch him as he fed on the tender grass but I decided to try a couple hand held shots with the 400mm wide open.  Although not great in detail or sharpness it's not too bad of an image considering the conditions.  This big guy is not collared but we will hopefully run into him again and track his growth.  He needs to eat pretty much continually in order to grow a fantastic set of antlers and prepare for the fall rut.  He should attract the ladies and doesn't even drive a sports car.

Friday, May 13, 2011

He wore brown velvet and looked dashing!

It's hard to believe that this big fella only lost his old set of antlers a few short weeks ago.  Just look at him now, he's already an awesome sight.  These bulls grow at an amazing rate and can add up to an inch per day to their antlers.  They are antlers by the way!  Horns aren't shed every year but antlers are.  Horns are on cattle and bison and sheep and the like.  This big guy will be one to keep an eye on over the next couple months.  The velvet looks so smooth and soft and will likely be eaten by the elk when the time comes to rub it off.  Although it doesn't look that appetizing to me, it is very good for the elk to eat it.  Some people claim that it has many healing properties if eaten by humans.  I can't really say if it does any good or not because he ran away when I tried to nibble on his antlers. 

 Hey, you know I hate getting my picture taken!

Okay just one view from the side and I'm outta here!  How's that?