Arkansas, Black Bear, Leah J Smith Photography, Photography, wildlife

Little Black Bear

 

Wildlife photography is my passion.  I get so caught up in the moment of seeing an amazing animal and capturing at least just one amazing photo.  It is what I love, live and dream about.  That perfect shot!

I got the opportunity to mark off another amazing item from my bucket list this week. Photographing a black bear.  Here in Arkansas you might see a bear, but seeing one is rare and very exciting if given the opportunity.

Arkansas, once know as the bear state, is loved by black bear due to its mountains which are rugged terrain, covered in trees, and abundant with water sources.  Black bear were almost extinct in the natural state in the 1930’s with only 50 bear.  Now, there are thousands and the numbers keep climbing.

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I recently got the opportunity to capture some amazing shots of this young male black bear.  This is a young bear recently pushed away by it’s mother just looking for food.  He was very brave and didn’t seem to mind posing for me.

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I hope you enjoyed the shots of this beautiful little male bear.  If you would like to learn more about Black Bear in Arkansas, this article from Only In Arkansas called  Bears in Arkansas is an interesting read and gives some great links to read more about Arkansas Black Bears.

Leah

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Arkansas, Great Egret, Leah J Smith Photography, Photography, wildlife

Great Egret

The weather here in Arkansas has been quite cooler in the last few weeks due to overcast rainy skies.  It has been great weather to take long walks and just get out and enjoy the great outdoors with my camera in tow.  During my long afternoon walks a big white bodied winged bird has caught my eye lately soaring over the pastures and ponds.

This snowy white bird know as the Great Egret, is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.  I hope you enjoy these few photos that I was able to capture and just had to share.

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I watched as three glided in on snowy white wings, landing in a big tree nearby.  The birds put on a show landing and leaving the tree to go to the pond nearby.  There were three, two adults and a juvenile.  I watched as they landed in the tree and then flew to the pond feeding on fish, frogs, and anything else that they could catch.

The Great Egret is common in south Arkansas and may be seen in northern parts of Arkansas during the late summer before heading to their wintering grounds.

Nearly hunted to extinction in the late nineteenth century for their beautiful white feathers for ladies hats, they are now making a come back.  Audubon was founded for protecting birds from being killed for their feathers.

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This juvenile Little Blue Heron was flying low over the pond searching for a place to land to get its next meal.  This is a smaller bird and will change color when it is mature.

I was spotted by the birds before I could get good photos while they were in the pond feeding.  So maybe next time…

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If you would like to know more about the Great Egret visit the National Audubon Society Also All About Birds is another great site to read about the Great Egret.

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Photography

Banding Hummingbirds, Really? Yes, They Really Do.

Last weekend I got the privilege to take a little trip down south to Casscoe, Arkansas and visit the Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake with a couple of wonderful ladies.  We had such a wonderful time and seen something that I had no idea the Game and Fish actually do…. Band Hummingbirds.  It was such an amazing experience that I had to share.

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Banding of hummingbirds gives us information about their migration, how long they can survive, if they visit the same feeders each year and many other useful information.

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Immature Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird
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Mature Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

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The birds are carefully captured from cages.  Feeders are placed in and around the cages to entice the birds inside.

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In the top picture you can see the recently captured hummingbird in the net.

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The birds are taken out and handle very carefully with panty hose. The bander handles the bird very carefully  not to hurt the bird.  They are very delicate, weighing just a little more than a penny,  and can be crushed very easily.DSC_9323

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Here she is examining the bird and getting the leg ready to be banded.  The band is very tiny and contains letters and numbers for identification.


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The band is being placed on the leg.

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You can see the tiny leg being banded in the top photo.

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What a tiny little band.

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Then the little bird is examined and the information is documented for sex, weight, size, age, and overall condition.

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After this process is complete the hummingbird is turned back into the wild.

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Usually the hummingbird sets in a hand for only and instant and away it goes.

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Banded Adult Male Ruby-Throated Humming Bird

As you can see in the photo above, this little bird has a band on its right leg.


While being in this beautiful region of Arkansas farm country,  I was able to take a few photos of the beautiful Cypress trees on Cook’s Lake.

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I even got a wonderful shot of a wild hen Turkey which probably had a nest nearby.

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Green Heron

I was also able to get a quick shot of  a Green Heron that was flying by which is the smallest of the Heron family.  The Green Heron is one of a few birds that uses bait to catch their food.   They use insects, worms and even pieces of bread to drop on the surface of the water.  They grab the fish that are attracted to the bait.

If you want to see more about banding of hummingbirds, on Youtube is the video, click the link , Arkansas Game and Fish Humming Bird Banding.

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Photography

Signs Of Summer On The Farm

Wanted to share a few photos taken in the past few weeks of the signs of summer here on the farm.  I hope you enjoy…..

 

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White Tail Deer
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Humming Bird
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Week Old Calf
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Red-Shouldered Hawk Taking Flight From A Fence Post
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Scissor Tail Fly Catcher enjoying the warm sunshine while setting on a fence post
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Bullfrog in the pond
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Bumble bee gathers nectar from a clover bloom
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Rhode Island Red hens eating cattle feed on the ground
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Wild Daisy
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Baling Hay
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Round  Hay Bales
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Two Hens In The Barn
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White Faced Baldie Calf
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Two Big Bald Eagles
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Female Eastern Bluebird
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Goosey Pulling On Dinky’s Tail
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Heifer
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A Field Of Daffodil Where An Old Home Once Stood

 

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Two Hereford Bulls
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Signs Of Days Gone By
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A Bald Eagle flies high above searching for prey
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The Oriole
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Male and Female Bob White Quail
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Maggie Taking A Dip In The Pond
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Male Cardinal
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A Few Of The Calf Crop
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THE END

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Photography

Caught In The Cookie Jar


I keep cattle feed for Dinky in a special place so it is easier to feed her every day. Dinky is a special little cow here on the farm, and she gets a little extra each day for a special treat.

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One morning I found that Dinky was not the only animal that loved her feed.  To my surprise a little squirrel had found her feed and was having a hearty breakfast.  The little squirrel seen me and took off out of the feed barrel and just stopped to look me over.

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I guess he was curious as what I was wanted.  The little fox squirrel is a regular to my garage.


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Finally he decided he needed to be on his way.

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Such a fat little squirrel.

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Arkansas, Leah J Smith Photography, low light, Photography, trumpeter swans, Waterfoul, wildlife

Bringing Together Light, Water and Action to Create A Dreamlike Illusion

 

Shooting action shots of an animal on the water is really exciting and can be a challenge in itself.  Bringing together light, water and action, can create an awesome effect in photography.  This series of shots of the Trumpeter Swans, right when the golden hour in photography was ending, was such a gift.  It happened at the most perfect time of day, with the most perfect subject any photographer could want, the Trumpeter Swan.

Each afternoon the swans always made an afternoon flight before nightfall.  I was setting and waiting for this to take place for hours and was just about to give up.  Since it was almost dark, I didn’t think the swans would fly.  I was beginning to believe that they had not intention of flying that afternoon.  Suddenly they were spooked by something and the bobbing of heads began.  The nervous swans gave me an indication that flight could take place any minute.  That is when something magical happened. That is when light, water, and action came together.

The loveliest thing about shooting around water is that every time you shoot,  something special and magical has a big chance of happening.  In this case it was  all dependent on the moving of the water, the light and shutter speed.  Shutter speed is so important when you are trying to capture a moving target.  Shutter speed refers to the length of time your camera shutter is open allowing light to enter.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the sensor is exposed to light.  This gives you different effects at different speeds.

The swans splashed on top of the water as they made their way across the pond.  Light hitting the water droplets shown like diamonds around the swans.   This gave my images a surreal look that captured the Trumpeter Swans in a dreamlike illusion.  I hope you enjoy photography magic……..

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Photography

Shot Of A Lifetime

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Through the years I  have read many articles by wildlife photographers from around the world just hoping to get a little bit of information that might help me someday get that perfect shot.  Many write about getting that kind of opportunity only once in their lifetime.   I am here to say that I was given the opportunity to get that perfect shot of lifetime this week.

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Eagles were on my bucket list.  I have had a few opportunities to get some really great shots and it never seemed to pan out.  This week was the best opportunity I could ever hope for.

Two Bald Eagles were in a tree just waiting for me to seize the opportunity and give me a show that wildlife photographers only dream about.  I want to share with you the amazing shots I was able to capture of these two magnificent birds, DSC_8814-1.jpgthe American Bald Eagle.  If you have never been able to get up close and personal with these birds, then I hope my photos give you a little bit of what it is like.  I hope you enjoy.

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Photography

Western Cattle Egret

The Western Cattle Egret often called  “Cow Bird” is native to Africa spreading to the United States in 1941.  Found around cattle’s feet eating insects that are disturbed by grazing cattle,  the egret also is known to eat small songbirds.  The Egret is a member of the Heron family.

I noticed the cattle in the field running and stomping at the bird.  The young herd didn’t like this Egret anywhere close to their calves.  They had never seen such a strange looking bird.   The bird in the photograph is an adult breeding male.

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You can read more about the Western Cattle Egret at All About Birds.com.

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Photography

Dog On Fun!

Maggie is a special dog here on the farm.  She is such fun to just watch and so full of energy.

This is Maggie when she was just a pup with her red solo cup.  She was a cutie.

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Maggie is six years old this year and still full of energy.  I took a few picture of her when she was running through the wet green grass.  I love the way the camera catches her expressions and the way it picks up the water that is splashing up around her.

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Camera magic!  Such fun….

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