Our second “Nature Photos at the Library” event on June 26 was a lot of fun, and, as we did the first time, we had a lot of talent in the room and an excellent diversity of photos. We all agreed that we are going to continue this event and get together four times a year to show the nature and wildlife that we have photographed during the previous season. All ages and skill levels are welcome to join us, whether to show their own photos or just to watch what other are showing. (Please, call me if you have any questions or would like more information about what we do! My number is 757-410-7147; ask for Karen).

Three of our photographers have shared their photos with me and have allowed me to post them here on my blog. A big thank you to Tim Fearington, Chris Williams, and Nora Leonard!
This was Tim’s first time with the group, and he definitely “wow-ed” us with his talent. I would venture to say that his photos were professional quality; the amazing picture of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the top of this blog post is one of his photos. He showed us an entire sequence of this little gem as it fed; as you can see, the bird’s entire bill disappeared into these tubular red flowers as it searched for nectar.
Tim is also fond of photographing our local populations of Bald Eagles. The outstanding photo below is one of many that he showed, and is the one he selected to post here:

Chris spent some time this spring at the Girl Scout Woods and at Bell’s Mill Park, both in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake. The two photos below were taken at a nesting cavity he discovered that was occupied by Brown-headed Nuthatches. These are tiny little birds that are very active and noisy  in the tops of tall pine trees and can be hard to find at eye level — and very hard to photograph, since they are usually in motion!

Brown-headed Nuthatch having a stare-down with Chris.

Both Nuthatch parents are trying to enter their nesting cavity at the same time!

Chris also found this Red-bellied Woodpecker and got a great “up close and personal”  photo of it. He got so close that you can see the bird’s feet; woodpeckers have two front claws and two back claws, which allows them to cling to the sides of trees.

Below is Chris’s photo of a Green Heron silhouetted against the sky and perched at the top of a dead snag:

Nora gave a great show, as she did the first time we all met. She shared the two photos below for this blog:

This male Common Grackle has a sunflower seed in his bill; great catch, Nora!
This one made everyone laugh! This giraffe at the zoo wanted to eat something down low 
very badly, and this was the only way he could lower himself.

I showed a few bird and butterfly photos myself, including these three. The first two were taken at Pocosin Cabin along Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the third was taken at Piney Grove near Waverly:

Gray Catbird –(yes, it “meows” like a cat)!
Male Chestnut-sided Warbler, a common breeder in the Blue Ridge.
The Yellow-breasted Chat is our largest species of Warbler. “Chat” is a very appropriate name, as it vocalizes incessantly in the breeding season, making  a large variety of calls including whistles, cackles, mews, chuckles, rattles, squawks and gurgles!

We’ll end this post with two more photos that Tim shared. The first is a male “Blue Dasher,” a common species of dragonfly in our area. Tim took an ­uncommonly terrific photo of this individual, which allows you to see all of the beautiful and complex colors and patterns that you do not see with the naked eye.

I am so envious of this last photo of a male Belted Kingfisher! (Females have a fat rusty-orange stripe or “belt” across their breast). I have tried for years to get a good photo of this species, but these are very wary birds and seldom let you approach them closely. Most of my attempts are photos of a small, blurry, bluish bundle of feathers flying away from me. Tim did an outstanding job of capturing this individual on film (or should I say “memory card”).

Our next photo night will be on Monday, September 24 beginning at 6:00 p.m. I’d love to continue to see more new faces and more perspectives on our local nature and wildlife. It’s fun, and we all learn from each other, so please join us if you can!

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