Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lakeside Creatures

One more scheduled post for now while I'm in transit. I'll be back to my regular routine before too long. Thanks always for your visits. I shall be sure to return those real soon.

Below are just a few of the very many creatures seen at the cottage through the course of a week. Some are beautiful to most eyes. Others are less so. All are fascinating.

Right on the shoreline beside the dock, there are hundreds of snails. The raccoons can sometimes be seen with their "hands" in the water, fishing for them. They'll crunch them, shell and all. Apologies to Frank's sisters Theresa and Lisa - snails creep them out.

These guys creep ME out. Hundreds - probably thousands of busy red ants crawling all over the trees, rocks and earth out by the boathouse. I don't think they're always there, but they sure were in abundance that day. Shudder.

Lets get on with the beautiful creatures, shall we? A distant fly-by of the majestic bald eagle. This was the sharpest shot I could get from a long way off and from inside a bobbing boat.

Here's one of the young eaglets, flying lower and over land. It's a beautiful bird, isn't it?

Speaking of beautiful birds, this female hummingbird was tasting the sweetened water left for her in the feeder. You can see her tongue sticking out from the end of her beak. This tiny wonder is only about 3 inches (7 cm) in size and its wings beat about 50 times per second.

Here she is having a good sip. They drink up to twice their body weight daily, and will have to double their weight before returning to Mexico for the winter, flying non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico.

More coming up in a few days.


ethelmaepotter! said...

I think those are the most amazing hummingbird pictures I've evr seen - leave it to Hilary to get them! But my favorite is the snails - I didn't realize at first what they were - all I saw were tiny pebbles!

Zuzana said...

Beautiful photography capturing the "natural" details.
Love the first picture, there is something very unusual about it.
Have a lovely remains of your cottage season dear Hilary,

Maria said...

The eagle is beautiful and so is the hummingbird - in their different ways. I appreciate the trouble you had to go to to get those shots - I recently got a cameraphone and started adding photos to my diary blog. I had quite a problem trying to 'shoot' a cow one day - the result was quite an amusing post.

Dawning Inspiration said...

Oh wow! I'm going to have to have my mom look at your hummingbird shots - these are incredible! We both love hummingbirds - so glad you shared these with us!

Brian Miller said...

the eagles and the so cool. when we lived in FL we had a zillion red ants...yuck...

Unknown said...

gorgeous... even the not so glamorous.

nature is fascinating and i appreciate you sharing the cottage creatures and views , really.

Pauline said...

such wonderful photos of your cabin world! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Amazing bird photos! And even the small snails and ants have their own beauty.

lime said...

the shots of the hummingbird truly amaze me!

Sandi McBride said...

How I would love to have been at the cabin while you took these shots!~ I think my hummers are finally winging their way back to the tropics and I can bring in the feeders till next March. I shall miss them! Your photography is splendid, as always!

Unknown said...

I agree with ethel, these are the most amazing hummingbird shots I've ever seen, not taken by a professional!

Daryl said...

Oh Nature Woman these are superb .. except for the ants ... shudder indeed....

larkswing said...

Oh my goodness! How did you get such great shots of the hummingbird?!?! Wonderful!

ellen abbott said...

Amazing photos as usual Hilary.

Suldog said...

Damn! I had no idea those were snails at a casual glance. I thought they were pebbles. And the ants? Yikes! A bit too much shoreline life for my tastes, but it all makes for great photography, as usual.

Mental P Mama said...

Those hummingbird shots are awesome! Lens?

Karen said...

Oh, those ants, yes, creepy! But the birds are amazing! Thanks

Maggie May said...

The humming birds are amazing and I loved the first picture of the tranquil pool.You seem to get such clear photos.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Sueann said...

Such beautiful photos! Those red ants made me itch!!

Bossy Betty said...

I thought all those snails were rocks! What a buffet for the raccoons!

Love your pictures! You know how I feel about hummingbirds!

Anonymous said...

Wow, great hummingbird photos!!! I love the eagle shot too, I know how hard it is to focus on a boat! And yeah, I did the "grosse out" chair dance when I saw them ants, eek!

messymimi said...

The only ants that bother me are the ones that bite.

Loved the birds.

Reb said...

Lovely shots Hilary. The snails photo is very cool.

Kelly H-Y said...

I'm with you on the red ants! :-)
Oh my ... how in the world did you capture that hummingbird ... I have yet to accomplish that with the camera! Nicely done ... it's gorgeous!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Those hummingbird photos are absolutely incredible, Hilary!!! You are such a fantastic photographer!!! I think you need to apply for a position with National Geographic!!! I'm always in awe when I come here!!! So glad you are having such a lovely season of cottaging!!! ~Janine XO

Nancy said...

Fabulous shots! Wow, loved the eagles and the hummingbird - which are so hard to catch! Red ants creep me out, too.

25BAR said...

Awesome! Real good!
I was taking a look at this SeaLife underwater camera the other day. Seems very basic, but might be gr8 to carry along whilst swimming in the ocean!

Shammickite said...

The first time I saw a humming bird buzzing around my garden, I thought it was an extra big bee of some kind.... a superbee! Great picture of the tongue sticking out.

Susie said...

Oh sure, start us with the heebie jeebies! I can't imagine walking onto those pretty rocks only to discover they were snails! ewww

Thank goodness you drove the image away with your beautiful flying shots...I love, love, love the hummingbird.

Tabor said...

The first two are not familiar shots in my area. I can empathize with the last two shots as I have been there (many times) and done that. Congrats on your focus! You have had a lovely summer in that magical place.

Don said...

Love the hummingbird shots. And the ants! Wonderful nature

Land of shimp said...

Hilary, those are great shots. That's picture of the hummingbird shows the thing that has always fascinated me about them, they don't really have legs, just little feet to perch with, isn't that amazing? A creature so often in flight, they don't even have jointed legs.

Ants! Ants! Ants! Even the picture makes me itch.

Perhaps the raccoons are secretly very sophisticate, and indulging in Escargot :-)

Lori said...

These photo's are postively amazing! I even like the photo's of the not so appealing creatures. :) I simply love watching bald eagles...very beautiful and amazing. The photo's of the hummingbirds are great too. I love that you share these things that you see with us. Thank you! I hope that you and yours are enjoying the autumm scenery and taking in the beauty of this time of year. Blessings. XX

VM Sehy Photography said...

I am alwasy so impressed with your hummingbird shots. My Mom had a hummingbird feeder, but I could never get a shot of one. They're too quick for me.

Joanna Jenkins said...

The only time i've ever seen a bald eagle was on a cruise in Alaska-- They took my breath away. They are so grand.

As for those red ants... I'm feeling kinda itchy now :-)

Happy weekend,

photowannabe said...

Love the Hummers. I think they are marvelous little creatures. Terrific photos, even of the ants. That is a huge pile of snail shells. My goodness the racoons have a virtual feast.

christopher said...

Tremendous photos. Love them all.

And the hummingbird with tongue out belongs in a textbook somewhere.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Hilary, I always love your photos and admire the eye you have for what might make a good picture. Snails and ants...who would have thought? But you made it work. And I add my vote of appreciation for the eagle and hummingbird shots. Absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I love all the beauty in nature that surrounds you at the cottage.

CIN&BUD said...

Wow! They say it is hard to capture a picture of hummingbirds. Great photos. We enjoy seeing the photos! Thanks for visiting our blog and we left a comment there for you to read.

June said...

Thrilling pictures of the eagles! ...and the hummingbird. Our h-birds have been gone for quite some time now.

If there was garlic butter nearby I would give the raccoons some competition.

Hilary said...

• Ethelmae, thanks very much. Your kind words made me smile. I'm glad you liked the photos. :)

• Zuzana, thank you kindly, my friend. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the photo. :)

• Gaelikaa, thank you. I'm looking forward to seeing your amooosing cow shoot. :)

• SD, thank you kindly. I hope your Mom enjoyed them too. :)

• Brian, I'm not sure that these ants were around for long. They were incredibly obvious that day but I'd never seen them before.. and so far, not since. At least they weren't fire ants.. they're nasty! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Deb. I'm happy to share. Thanks for enjoying. :)

• Pauline, thank you kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• LadyFi, thank you. They all have their beauty.. even icky spiders! ;)

• Thank you, Lime. I'm glad you like them. :)

• Sandi, yes. We haven't seen the hummers since early September. I think they know something that we don't. Last year they hung around considerably later than that. Thank you so much for the kind words. They mean a lot to me. :)

• Jane, thank you kindly. Your comment makes me happy. :)

• Thank you, Daryl, my City Woman friend. Yeah, the ants make me feel itchy just looking at them. ;)

• Lailani, thank you. With patience, the right sunlight and cooperative birds. Oh.. and a lot of luck. Mostly that. :)

• Thank you kindly, Ellen. :)

• Suldog, both of Frank's sisters have waded out into the lake thinking they were stepping on pebbles. It was only later (when the heebie-jeebies set in) that they realized it was snails. For some reason, they didn't bother me a bit. The ants though.. .shudder! Thanks for your always-kind words, my friend. :)

• Thank you, MPM. I was using a Sigma 300mm lens, in great sunlight.. standing about ten feet away. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Karen, thank you. :)

• Thanks, Maggie. I'm so glad you enjoyed them. :)

• SueAnn, you had to remind me about them? ;) Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Betty, it is indeed a raccoon buffet. They need to learn more manners though.. all that crunching with their mouths open. ;) I sure do know how you feel about hummingbirds. I actually went back to read your posts again.. so touching.. so sad. Beautiful little critters, they are. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Hilary said...

• Rainy, thank you kindly. Sorry about making you do the grosse out dance. ;)

• Messymimi, I expect that not too many ants have bitten you.. so you probably like most of them. You're more generous than I. ;)

• Thanks very much, Reb. :)

• Kelly, thank you kindly. I got very lucky with the lighting, the cooperative bird and having the right lens on my camera at the time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Janine, thank you very much for the kind and encouraging words. They mean a lot to me. :)

• Nancy, thanks very much. I'm glad you like the photos. :)

• 25BAR, thank you. I think an underwater camera can be a blast. Someone had one up at the cottage earlier this summer and was getting fun shots with them. Go for it! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Shammie, they truly are like large insects, aren't they? I don't see them around my own place often (only twice in 25 years) and I thought the same thing at first. They sound like a large bee too. Thanks for your kind words. They're much appreciated. :)

• Susie, it seems to creep a lot of people out to discover those pebbles are snails. I don't really mind them.. but the ants.. ! I'm glad you enjoyed the hummer shots though. Thanks for letting me know. :)

• Tabor, thank you kindly. We have indeed had an amazing summer. It's one I'll remember always. I'm already looking forward to next year. Thanks for stopping by :)

• Thanks very much, Don. :)

• Alane, leave it to you to point out one of the most interesting facts about the hummers. It's true. They don't use their feet for anything but perching or scratching. They use their wings to move over all distances, no matter how small. They are such cool little birds. Those raccoons actually do have good taste.. at least the semi-tame ones do. They dine on fruit, ribs and marshmallows.. oh and cat food too. The best is when they arrive lakeside wearing bibs and carrying escargot tongs and forks. ;)

• Lori, thanks so much for your always-kind words. I'm happy that you like the photos. You bet we're enjoying the season. It sure is a lovely time of year. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• VM, thank you. They can be difficult to snap but with the right combination of light and luck, you should manage one sometime. Keep on snapping. :)

• Joanna, the bald eagles were rare around here.. still are mostly, but less so. It's such a gift to be able to spend our summers catching glimpses of them every now and then. They do indeed take my breath away too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sue, thank you. I think the raccoons will do alright for themselves once we're no longer around the cottage anymore. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see them and feed them again in the spring. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Christopher. Such a nice comment. Much appreciated. :)

• Linda, thank you so much for your kind words. It suddenly occurs to me that you're Sandra's friend, Linda. I'm so happy to have you aboard. Thanks for your visit. :)

• LWK, thank you. I so love it too. :)

• Cindy and Buddy, thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• June, the hummers left here early in September. These photos were from the beginning of that month. It is kind of quiet without them.. no more "thrrrrrrrrrrrrrummmmm" as they zoom by. I like the mental image you've given me of you sitting lakeside, along with raccoons, chowing down on escargot. ;)

Bimbimbie said...

I love the contrast between the eagle and hummingbird*!*

beth said...

you got me with the hummingbird.....they are so magical !!

SandyCarlson said...

Looks so good there. thanks for these.

Hilary said...

• Thanks for stopping by, Bimbimbie. They are certainly quite dissimilar, aren't they? :)

• Beth, they truly are. They seem like they belong in a fairy tale, along with dragonflies. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks for dropping by, Sandy. :)

Indrani said...

Excellent focus on the humming birds, great photography.

Hilary said...

Thanks kindly, Indrani. Very much appreciated. :)