I went for a walkabout at the local Sourland Mountain Reserve on a snowy day and took a few pictures. The gas-line trail looked open, but I didn’t go far. There are cat-tails in the marshy area, and some Mallard ducks swimming in the pond. The ducks usually leave as soon as the more boisterous Canada geese arrive, but on this snowy day the geese stayed away.
Springtime Nature at the Sourland Mountain Preserve
I stopped by the nearby Sourland Mountain Preserve on the way home from work to see what is new this spring. I was mainly looking for wildflowers and butteflies. One of the first things I found was hundreds, if not thousands of tadpoles at the edge of the pond. In a few weeks there are going to be a lot of frogs!
My Drobo disk-array is rebuilding after adding a new drive. Don’t know how long it will take. New images (including a meteor caught last night with two cameras) to follow. The down side to large storage solutions such as Drobo is the time required for backup and restore. Not sure if this will be hours or days!!!!
Sourland Mountain Preserve, Worldwide Photo Walk 2011.
Convergence. Yesterday I was thinking, weather permitting that I should go the the nearby Sourland Mountain Preserve to see if I could photograph any late season Monarch butterflies. For the last several years I have seen the last group of Monarch butterflies before they fly south to Mexico the last week of September (+/- 2 weeks). Also yesterday, I was noticing some issues with access to my photo blog (speed to load, and searching results). I woke up very early, and access to the photo blog appeared be working. While checking Google+ I saw a reminder from Scott Kelby about his 2011 Worldwide Photo Walk’s this weekend. When I checked online, I saw that one of the Worldwide Photo Walks (led by Frank Veronsky) would be at the Sourland Mountain Preserve. I signed up (it was 4 AM, and raining). When I woke up again at 8 AM it had stopped raining but still cloudy. I got to there early to scout out if there were any thistle blooms left. Unfortunately, all of the thistles were brown and there were only a few yellow wildflowers. The trails were also very muddy from all of the rain we have been having for the last 2 months. I actually went home at this point to switch to a Nikon D3s camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens since I knew it was going to be relatively dark on the trails. I got back in time to meet up with the Worldwide Photo Walk group at the Sourland Mountain Preserve parking lot and started up on the trails a little after 10 AM. The following images are of some of the woodland forest trails in the Preserve. By the time I was done, I only saw one Monarch butterfly, and it didn’t stay still long enough for me to get an image.
Life and Death in Nature. Sourland Mountain Reserve in New Jersey.
It was a great day to photograph nature at the Sourland Mountain Preserve. Many Butterflies, Clearwing Hummingbird Moths, Dragonflies, Robber-Flies, and a few Praying Mantis carnivores. I went in with two cameras, a D3s with a 300 mm f/2.8 VR with an TC-E III 20 teleconverter and a D3x with a 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro. Humidity was high, and I had to spend the first 15 minutes equilibrating the lenses so they were not fogged. The first place I went to was the location I observed a Praying Mantis eating a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth yesterday. The first image is a Black Swollowtail Butterfly on a Thistle bloom. Soon thereafter a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth started checking out the Thistle blooms. DANGER! DANGER! It didn’t see the Praying Mantis. Minutes later the moth was breakfast for the Praying Mantis. Later, another Black Swollowtail Butterfly was breakfast to a brown Praying Mantis.
Unknown Mating Insects. Need Help with Identification. Robber-Flies Mating. Summer Nature in New Jersey.
Back at the Sourland Mountain Preserve. This is the same Dragonfly like insect that was in my 19-August-2011 post. It is as large as a Dragonfly, but is not one since it only has one set of wings. When they are not mating, they are aggressive carnivores, catching and eating other insects.
Thanks to Hans for sending sending a link that identifies this as a Robber-Fly
Early Morning Dew. Sourland Mountain Preserve. Summer Nature in New Jersey.
I returned to the Sourland Mountain Preserve with a Macro and Telephoto lens. We had rain last night (again) and there was a lot of dew on the plants. I used the Macro lens to capture grass with dew and thistle buds with dew.
Sourland Mountain Reserve Wildlife. Early Summer in New Jersey.
Some images that I took on a walk this morning in the Sourland Mountain Reserve. This was a test to see what I could photograph with a 500 mm f/4 lens on a monopod. The minimum focus distance for the lens is 12.6 feet (4 m) which is a challenge for close up images of insects.
The first image is a close-up of a Dragonfly. The second is what I believe is a Blue Grosbeak. The third is a Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly on Milkweed flowers. The fourth and fifth images are Snowberry Clearwing Moths (Thanks to Rick Sidler for the ID and link). It is larger (longer) than a Bumblebee, but its wings are small and transparent. It also was working the Milkweed flowers. The sixth image is Kermit the Bullfrog.