The Curious Onlooker

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Curious Onlooker” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The crisp morning air is full of chirps and whistles as the local songbirds carry on hundreds of conversations at the same time. The rain has stopped for now but the grass is still covered with the morning dew. Scattered clouds drift across the little slice of sky between the mountains of my my home. I have put out some feeders in hopes of charming the birds in for a shot but so far they’ve been been fairly shy. As I scanned the forest for signs of a colorful songbird I saw something moving stealthily along a fallen branch. Since the leaves are still wet he barely made a sound as he searched for the perfect spot to hide the hickory nuts. I began to zoom in and focus but wasn’t really able to focus through the dense underbrush. As I watched him tuck the nuts under a clump of sphagnum Moss he suddenly became aware of my presence. But instead of scampering up the nearest tree and escaping through a network of branches he came in closer. Something that isn’t really unusual for a squirrel in an urban environment where they might get a free meal but up here in the mountains they tend to be more cautious. Often they will give three quick barks and sit high in the tree tops flashing their bushy tails like a warning flag and chatter as loud as they can to alert the others that mankind is in the forest. I have had more than one hunt ruined by a bushy tailed tattler. But for whatever reason this one wasn’t really sure what he was seeing and decided to get a better look. He sat up there on his branch for several minutes pretending to be invisible and peeking out every few seconds. The only other time that a squirrel has been this curious about me was when I was about ten years old and playing in a tree fort with some friends. The fort was simply a few boards nailed to a fallen tree at a friend’s house but it was enough for us to sit on. A large branch ran behind us horizontally and gave us a back rest. That squirrel snuck up on us so quietly that we didn’t notice until it crawled onto my arm. When I turned my head to see what had touched me it startled the squirrel. In a brilliant tactical maneuver he jumped to the top of my head and sprung into canopy above never to be seen again. I hadn’t thought of that for a long time. Even now it makes me chuckle.

The curious squirrel in tonight’s feature image must have decided that I wasn’t really anything to be concerned about because after he finished his game of peekaboo he went back to collecting the hickory nuts from the edge of the forest and hiding them in his little moss vault.

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Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

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Rust And Gold

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Rust And Gold” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

A slight breeze sweeps across my yard showering me with dry leaves. Even with the dry conditions the wind stirs up the rich scent of forest humas. As I look skyward to watch the leaves flow down from the ridge I see the maple keys fluttering in the filtered sunlight. In my childhood I would pretend they were paratroopers dropping into battle. On a breezy Fall Saturday afternoon we’d gather all of green plastic army men and command titanic battles with the skies full of “paratroopers”.

As the rain of leaves and airborne maple seeds tumbled down through the twigs they made a sound like rain. The cool breeze slows to an eventual end and rustling leaves quiet down except for one spot.

I have allowed the brambles to claim a few spots on the banks of the creek that runs through my property and the canes are still shaking even though the wind has stopped. The berries have dropped from the thorny branches long ago and the leaves have cured to a golden hue in the amber Fall sun. The movement pattern is recognisable to me and so I cautiously stalk forward.

In spite of the fact that I have set food out and provided plenty of cover for the small songbirds they are still very shy. If I move too suddenly or push myself too close he will vanish behind the oaks on the other side of the road. This is as close as he’s ever allowed me to get. My guess is that he was so preoccupied with a catipiller in the bushes that he didn’t really notice me on the other side. The golden color of his feathers blend well with pale leaves and without my glasses it would have been hard to pick him out if not for movement of the canes.

His colors are that of the Magnolia Warbler but they’re not supposed to be in this area. They breed farther North and spend the Winter in Florida. I’d guess that he was just passing through on his way South but he’s been here every year all Spring and Summer.

I raise my lens and begin to snap photos when he finally decided that I was too close for comfort and dropped into the creek only to suddenly burst straight up the other bank. I lost sight of him as he climbed to tops of trees but the rest of afternoon I could still hear his song and catch movement in the canes out of corner of my eye.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!

Fluttering Beauty Surrounds Me

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Pipevine Swallowtail Feeding On Jewelweed” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The morning sun slowly peeks over Little Elk Mountain. The cool of the night still lingers in the shadowy side of the hills. I have been catching up on a few light chores and happened to notice the rapid movements in the off lawn area of my property. I allow nature to take its course there and have been blessed with an abundance of Jewelweed there. Aside from foraging opportunities the Jewelweed provides humans it’s excellent forage for butterflies and bees as well as hummingbirds. So I’m also blessed to have an abundance of life that seems happy to share my space. Today it’s been Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies. At first you only notice one or two. Then, a third and fourth. As you begin to look deeper into the bushes it hard to believe that you didn’t notice all the wings shivering as they feed.

So, into the house I went to abandon my lawnmower in favor of my big camera. I opted for the 300 mm lens so that I didn’t have to try to get real close. This allows the butterflies to behave naturally and keeps my shadow out of the frame.

As the butterfly in tonight’s feature image fed I noticed that only the forewings shiver. This is done to keep it warm enough for flight but while researching I saw one source that points out butterflies pump their wings while feeding because their proboscis works like a siphon and the wing movement helps them feed. I also learned that when they emerge from the cocoon they have to assemble the proboscis from the two mouth parts they’re born with and that if they don’t get it right they will starve.

Irregardless of the scientific trivia surrounding the butterfly they do fill my life with beauty.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

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When You Suddenly Realize That You’re Not Alone

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Deer Family 81019” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

My big blue truck rolls through my uncle’s pasture as I approach the old grove of black walnuts. The little meadow down in the lower corner of the farm was always a special place for me. As a child I would sit for hours on a flat rock in the middle of a marsh and just take in the nature at the base of a spring.

On the particular day I took the picture I was milling about when I suddenly felt like I was being watched. You might think it’s just cliche but it’s real. I have seen bears and other predators in this spot before so I froze in place and rolled my eyes in the direction that I felt the gaze coming from. My eyes are not what they used to be but I saw something moving in the deep shadows. Fortunately, there were no bears this time. It was just a family of deer trying to figure out if I was dropping off food for the cattle. They like to hijack the sweet grain and mineral supplements if they get a chance. In fact a low tech way of removing a tree stump is to salt it. A mixture of mineral salt, vitamins and molasses is poured into the stump around the roots and over the stump until it’s saturated. The stump is then abandoned. Within a few days the deer will dig it out for you as they try to get their dietary supplements out of the ground. At this point there’s no feral pigs in my area but it’s a safe bet that they would be even quicker at rooting out the stump.

Today however, there’s no prizes for the deer that show up. I began to move and behave as if I never noticed them and they soon slipped back into the shadows that lay beyond the ferns.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Things Are Just Ducky #9

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Swimming Trio” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The late summer sun blazed down into the park. George and Ralph had been hanging out with Charlie under the trees hoping to get a free meal from the lunchtime picnic crowd. That was not to be. With the weather so hot the humans mostly stayed inside in the air conditioning. The trio of friends decided to go cool off in the river before the pavement got too hot for webbed toes. The cool river was the perfect solution for ducks on a hot day. They were chasing bugs when all three of them spotted the same fly at the same time. In their haste to catch the fly they lost track of each other and ended up in a triple head butting incident. A quick debate ensued and the question of who the fastest swimmer was arose. This could only be settled by a race to the other side of the river. The three friends stood together on the muddy edge of the water and recruited a pair of crows to judge the contest. “The race shall begin on the third caw” the first crow said. On the third caw the three ducks took off like thunder. They all paddled as hard as they could and all three made it to the other side at about the same time. They looked to the second crow for judgment and he said that the race was just too close to call and that they would need to race back. Once more the third caw sent the three mallards zipping across the lake and once again the crows were consulted on who should declared the victor. “We’d best make it three out of five.” Says the crow. This racing continued on several more times and each time the race was too close to call. Then in the last heat George happened to catch movement above his head. He stopped in mid stream and watched as the crows snapped another fly out of the air. It was no wonder why the crows couldn’t decide the race. They had been gorging themselves on the vary flies that George and his friends were chasing. These crows had been keeping them tied up with a contest against each other as they feasted on the duck”s dinner.

George called out to his friends and showed them what had been going on. All of the best flies had been eaten by the two crows already.

The three friends had learned that judges who might be impartial to the contestants are often not without an interest if their own.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Night Wings 1

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is ” Polyphemus 8919″ and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The sleepy sun passes beyond the ridge and the cooler air spills over the world. The pale moonlight wakes the day sleepers and the other world springs to life. A shadow sweeps through the moonbeams. The large wings fluttering through the darkness . He has traveled for miles following the trail of scent on the wind. He is in love. His only thoughts are about finding her. The one he’ll spend the rest of his life with.

God equipped him for this mission. His feathery antennas are capable of not only detecting the female but also finding her from miles away. He is equipped with stealth to avoid the hungry bats that patrol the night. His fur absorbs their sonar. He has no need for food or drink. As a catipiller he has already fueled up for this mission by consuming many thousands of times his weight in food. His eyes are not only able to see in the dim light but he has polarized vision that can pinpoint the position of moon. His only challenge is to distinguish the moon from all the other lights in the modern world.

He follows the scent along the edge of the water until it mingles with wintergreen. Her scent is strong now and silhouetted on the edge of the forest is the ancient birch tree. He comes to rest on curling papery bark. There he finally sees her. She gently flutters her huge beautiful wings and it’s love at first sight. Everything that he is has lead to this moment. He is living in his purpose. Nothing could be more fulfilling.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

The Spicebush Swallowtail Finally Makes It’s Appearance

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Spicebush Swallowtail On Cardinal Flower 1”. All of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

I pulled into the parking lot of the little park at Kanawha Falls in my way home. I have been looking for the Spicebush Swallowtail all summer and I was beginning to think that I would strike out this season. I worried that I had jinxed myself by making a commitment back in the Spring. I knew that I would find something interesting to shoot in this spot and was actually trying to get some more ducks for my Things Are Just Ducky series so that I could expand the tales of George the mallard and his friends. But the ducks were all on the other side of the river.

Then I noticed the bright red spires of the Cardinal flower. These are also called Indian Paintbrush locally and they’re members of the Bellflower family and are sold as ornamental plants. I have a few pictures of them but they’re interesting to look at so I thought that a few more would be a good idea. As I stepped into the shade of the oaks I could see a dark spot fluttering around the bushes. Okay I thought. Another butterfly of any kind will add interest to the image. Raising the lens and zooming in as tightly as I could yielded a picture but the flash wasn’t really strong enough to reach out and freeze the wings.

Image Title: “Life In Motion”. Butterflies “groom” the flowers that they feed on. The fluttering of the forewings causes the flowers to sweeten their nectar.

The combination of the low light and extreme zoom didn’t quite hit the mark but it produced an interesting picture. The butterfly would only be there for a moment so tried to close the gap as quickly as possible. Unfortunately I started it and it disappeared into the forest. I tucked the camera back into its bag. Once I got the card into my laptop and pulled up the image I saw that pattern that I’ve been obsessed with all summer. The hind wings have a blue moon shape and a single row of cream colored dots along the margin. But this was a dorsal view and the main identifying mark was on the other side of the wing. I would be going back to that spot.

Over the next few days I stopped by looking for the Spicebush Swallowtail. I was certain that it was a female by the blue marks on it’s hind wings. The male has more of a greenish color leading the name of “Green Clouded Butterfly”.

Image Title: “Female Spicebush Swallowtail Feeding On Cardinal Flower”. The image gives us a clear view of the light blue marks on it’s hind wings.

The feature image came from the second encounter. This time she didn’t really seem to be bothered by presence. She even let me get a good shot of the blue chevron on the underside of the hind wings that is the identifying mark of the Spicebush Swallowtail.

Image Title: “Butterfly Peek-A-boo”. The third orange dot from the right is replaced by a blue chevron. Only the Spicebush Swallowtail has this mark.

The butterfly gets it’s name from hosting mainly on the Spicebush tree. I’ll be talking about the tree itself in an upcoming Forage Friday post but in short it’s another source for lemon flavored tea. Like the other Swallowtail Butterflies the Spicebush Swallowtail catipiller mimics the head of a snake. It even has a special organ that is forked and it can flick out to look like a snake’s tongue. I have not encountered a Spicebush Catipiller yet but as soon as I do I’ll be posting pictures and writing about the lifecycle of the butterfly larvae.

The main lesson I gained from my summer searching for a supposedly common butterfly that managed to elude me for months was that persistence pays off. The person who said that nothing is easy sure got it right but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

https://www.facebook.com/aviewfromthelens/

If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤