Off for Patrol

While its mate remains on the nest, this Common Loon is off to patrol the pair's territory. It is looking for any other loons that may attempt to compete for limited nesting habitat. It flew the entire perimeter of the 3 miles long by 1/2 mile wide basin and returned in less 5 minutes. I like to think of loons as the airliners of the bird world, slow to take-off but reaching high speeds. Unlike most birds, in order to maximize their diving capabilities, loon's bones are solid, and their feet are located at the very rear of the body. To transition from water to air, loons must make very long runs (roughly 100 yards; less going into the wind). However, once their airborne, the same lack of drag they enjoy when diving in a water medium, applies to the air. To a Loon, 60+ miles per hour is a walk in the park. When connecting two areas that are far apart, they will reach air speeds upwards of 90 miles per hour. And with a tailwind, they have been recorded at over 100 miles per hour.

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.” ― Albert Schweitzer

  • Striped Maple, Moose Maple or Moosewood (Acer pensylvanicum), Baxter State Park, Maine, July 4th, 2008

  • The communally roosting Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia) butterfly ranges from South America, through Central America to peninsula Florida and west to southern Texas. On a chilly February night in which the temperature approached freezing, I found a group of them tenaciously huddled to a sprig of cedar or Arbor vitae. They survived three successive nights before the typically raw south Florida cold front broke.

  • How cute can you get? Well, it is a combination. This little toddler also happens to be very intelligent. Did I say she was my Grandaughter? That's her years later jumping off the float. Actually this photograph was taken by my daughter Carie, Caitlyne's mother.

  • Eastern Screech Owl (Megasops spp)

  • It's funny: apparently, the firing of the flash caused this American Red squirrel's (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) feet to "blow out" from under it. This is not a physically handicapped squirrel; i.e. the feet appeared like this only during the instant that the camera fired.

  • Logs, probably pulpwood, at loading site. Northern Maine, 2010

  • A pair of Burrowing Owls that appear to be communicating with spoken words, one talking in the other’s ear.

  • Raptor over Gulf of Maine This is a composite image. The bird is a Turkey Vulture shot in the Everglades. The backgound is one of the two Brother's Islands in Casco Bay, Gulf of Maine, USA.

  • Over 90% of our passerine birds must feed their developing young, a diet of over 90% insects….or the young die. It is that simple; i.e. no middle ground, no compromise. The nestlings MUST have a diet of almost 100% insects. The American Goldfinch is an exception to this rule. AG's are granivores, almost exclusively. The young are fed mostly grains and some insects, regurgitated from the adults. The 20-30 I have living at my Maine home go absolutely nuts for fresh, "on the stem", sunflower seeds. Every day they tear my sunflower heads open and ravenously rip at the head to pluck the seeds.

  • Black-capped Chickadee on Old Gray Birch

    Black-capped Chickadee in the Old Gray Birch: The BCC is a precocious bird. Sometimes I walk by my feeder and suddenly realize my head passed within inches of the bird. The BCC seems to always be thinking "Hey, I'm hungry; why are you taking so long to fill my feeder this morning!" Or there are times I think it is excited when it chatters at my arrival with the feed, as it waits in the Gray Birch in dawn light. And it is not shy about scolding me if it feels I am too close at any time. Here it clasps the stem of a Gray Birch my father planted over 50 years ago. To read a short essay on how this Gray Birch's life was greatly increased and nature still took its course , please click on "return to blog" (in the left side-bar) and see "The Old Gray Birch....".page.

  • WE TOOK TO THE WOODS.....the "Old Camp" , Kingfield, Maine

    Left to right: Grammy (Beda Belle King (maiden name of Passmore), me (Robert King Jr.) as a very little tot, Ma (Maxine June King (maiden name of MaClean), Bruce McClean King (my Brother) and Carol King (Beda's daughter and my Aunt. Here, at the Old Kingfield "Camp", are the very roots of my love for nature. Apparently I was already curious about what was down there on the "floor". Before discovering this image (in December 2013), I had not known that I had ever been brought to the Old Camp, as it was called. You can see that this first camp my Grandfather bought, was actually an old clapboard-sided house in the middle of the woods around Kingfield. A few other pictures in this gallery show the new, log-cabin-camp in Salem, Maine, the next village just west of Kingfield. The image is not as sharp as it should have been. Grammy is in it and so I am certain that my Grandfather took it. I have noted that most of the images he took were soft or lopsided. I guess photography was not yet his art. His later images would be properly composed.

  • Here is an Orange Sulfur butterfly inside a Red Hibiscus in Florida.

  • Bobcat (Lynx rufus), northern Everglades

    This is a young bobcat; i.e. naïve. All you have to do to get a GENERAL idea of age is to look at the face. I know, this is not in any wildlife journal, but it is true. If the animal is young you can see it immediately. I was doing an Everglades survey and just happen to be along the intersection of the Broward/Palm Beach County line. I spotted this cat in that dark clump of leaves and twigs that is about 2 feet above its head. But it also immediately realized that I had spotted it. So it began backing down the tree. It was funny because several times this young and inexperienced animal got wedged into the forks of the branches of this Wax Myrtle. It finally fell the last several feet and bounded off.

  • Female alligator (Alligator mississipiensis) on her nest, Everglades WCA 3ANorth