Tuesday, May 31, 2011

California Brown Sea Hare and Inverted Writer’s Block

It is always a tough to come back from vacation. We took a trip to Newport Beach, California last week and touched down in Boston Monday morning at 6:00 am. I’m a light sleeper, meaning that I got about ten minutes sleep on the five hour flight which leaves at 9:30 pm. With the three hour time loss flying east, we touch down at 6:00 am. I have been quite temporally scrambled.

But the real challenge is to get the photos into the computer and figure out what to post. Yesterday, being Memorial Day and all, it was a no-brainer. The Lone Sailor Memorial photos were the first shots taken on the trip and were quite fitting for Memorial Day. But what next? I’ve got seven days of material to sort through and each shot is a post. It’s kind of the opposite of writer’s block. In this case I have so many ideas racing through my head that I nothing gets done!

To brake the log jam, allow me to present to you the California Brown Sea Hare.

One of my old haunts in Southern California is Bolsa Chica, an estuary in Huntington Beach, California. Back some 20 years ago when I lived in Long Beach, I never saw these critters. However on this trip there seemed to be quite common.

These shots were taken at low tide in about a foot of water. The Sea Hares are munching on the algae growing in the shallows.

 ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This is the eating end of the Sea Hare.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This post is quite fitting as our Watery Wednesday blog author hails from these parts and has posted from Bolsa Chica a couple of times.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lone Sailor Memorial

In Long Beach, California stands a replica of the Lone Sailor Statue that is located in the amphitheater of the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The statue was cast by Stanley Bleifeld. There are several other replicas throughout the United States, but this one has the distinction of being the only one to look over the ocean. The statue is located on the bluff on Ocean Boulevard and Palmona Avenue.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky©2011 Steve Borichevsky©2011 Steve Borichevsky©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Friday, May 27, 2011

Black-capped Chickadee in Apple Blossoms

After such a hard winter, this was a welcome sight. This picture was shot on the same day that I got the Northern Parula.

Black-capped Chickadee is available on Redbubble. Click to buy now. ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

I’ve made this image available for purchase in several formats. Click on the picture to go to Redbubble.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gray Catbird

When it comes to shooting Gray Catbirds, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Gray Catbird is a member of the Mimidea family. These are the mimic thrushes. In this family are the Northern Mockingbird and the Brown Thrasher. Another mimic thrush found on SMU is the California Thrasher.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

They are know as mimics because many of these imitate the calls of other birds, especially the Northern Mockingbird. I had a friend who was visually impaired and birded almost exclusively by ear. She came across one Northern Mockingbird that imitated 50+ birds. That’s pretty impressive! I’ve head a few do on the order of 10 other songs. When birding by ear in Mockingbird territory, one has to be careful because you can get fooled. Sometimes the Mockingbird doesn’t quite get it right or may be singing at the wrong ©2011 Steve Borichevskytime of day, (like that pesky rascal that used to sing outside my window in California ALL NIGHT LONG!)

For such a plain bird, I find it quite dapper. Sometimes you can see the chestnut brown under tail coverts. That is a tough field mark to photograph in most lighting conditions. I was lucky enough to get three shots from thirty feet. Two were keepers and one is in the dumpster.

Here I have overexpose the outtake so that you can see under tail coverts. Even in the field, this mark can be hard to see. The Gray Catbird is common, but secretive. They like to hide in thick bushes. This time of year, they are a little more visible while they are setting up territories and finding mates. They have a beautiful warbling call in the spring and soon will be raising young. After the nesting season starts you will only hear the “meuuu” cat call.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bluebead Lily

Another springtime flower found on Cape Ann is the Bluebead Lilly. This is so named because its fruit is dark blue and shaped like a bead.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This is the Bluebead Lilly’s fruit taken in August 2010.

Bluebead Lilly 7-13-2010 11-48-09 AM

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gulls will be gulls.

Such a noble, powerful, awe-inspiring creature.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Hey, what the…come on. And after all I said about you.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Dory

A dory is a flat bottom boat used for fishing. They are built to hold 2000 pounds of fish and gear. This display is at the Maritime Heritage Center in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The bucket is used for storage and deployment of long lines. 

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

The line is coiled in the bucket, (this one looked a bit disheveled). If you have never seen Captain’s Courageous with Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney and Lionel Barrymore, you should. It will show you how dories were used and the gear they stowed. It also some kick-butt schooner footage.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

The Bluenose II is a frequent Schooner Festival participant. They always have a dory display showing how the dories were stacked on deck and the gear they fished with. Here you can see how our bucked would have looked.

Dory Bluenose II 8-30-2008 10-05-54 AM

Friday, May 20, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Th’ar be Dragons!

Okay, it is Friday and that means Forgotten Photo Friday. This is where I comb deep into the archives to find the lost and forgotten. But this week is a little different. I didn't forget these photos, Blogger did!

Yes, last week when Blogger lost its mind, it lost my scheduled post. Blogger was down for about 72 hours for "maintenance". Maintenance? What developer would take a live database down 72 hours for "maintenance"? Hmmm, something smells fishy and it ain't because the wind over the neighborhood seafood restaurant's dumpster.

So here is the forgotten post that was scheduled for Thursday, 12 May 2011.

At last, at last! The first dragon of the year! And it is a new species for SMU. This is a Ringed Boghaunter. According to A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts, the Ringed Boghaunter is spottily distributed in the Northeast US and Great Lakes Region. They are rare in Massachusetts, found in north-central and eastern Massachusetts.

The other piece of trivia is that this species is considered to be  leftovers from the glacier period when it was colder, after the glaciers retreated and before the temperate forest extended north. They can be found as from mid April through mid June.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

I found these near a wetland up in Dogtown Square, but not really close to the water. They do like to land on sunny spots on the granite rocks and on the leaf litter. The gnats are out now and I watch one catch them and feast on them like the were popcorn.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Click to order this image as a note card!

This image is available as part of my Dragonfly Notecard Series!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lobster Pots

These are some of the most colorful lobsterpots in Gloucester. These are all clean, repaired and ready to go out to sea.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Difficulties in the woods

In yesterday’s post, I kvetched about warbler migration and the timing of spring. The images posted were the result of having lot’s of time to work with one bird. It isn’t always so. This is what East Coast birding is like. The way I learned birding was to hit one area at least once per week and listen. “What, listen?”, you may ask. Yes.

With the leaves on the trees birds do a lot of singing to announce their territorial rights and to keep in contact with family members. This time of year many are singing to attract a mate. You can familiarize yourself with the songs even if you cannot see them to identify what species it is singing by walking in one area at least once per week. If you do this, somewhere along the line you will see the bird and be able to link the song with the species. These days you can go on-line and listen to bird songs, a really cool innovation that we didn’t have back in the day.

But I’ve digressed and strayed from my own advice, “If you don’t write to good, don’t write too much.” Today, I’m showing you some of the “behind the scenes” shots.  This first shot is one that I’m really jazzed about and that is why I am subjecting you it. It is the very first time that I’ve seen an Ovenbird.

No kidding. I’ve heard this bird all of my life and have never seen it, let along get a shot off. As a kid, I heard this bird in the wood lot behind my grandmothers house every summer. As a birder, I knew what it was and where to “find” them, but never-ever saw one. Hear 'em all the time, 'though.

This is typical Ovenbird habitat. To see one and actually squeeze off a shot is pretty cool.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This is a Tufted Titmouse that I saw on the same walk. He was just down in a stream taking a bath. Again I was in woods and lucky to get a shot. Sometimes I wonder why I take photos like this. It must be the old hunter instinct kicking in.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Building on yesterday’s theme of frustration, this is Mrs. Common Yellowthroat. They like the bushes and they don’t like standing still.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

In another bush with a different set of challenges is Mr. Common Yellowthroat. They don’t take kindly to paparazzi. But this is how you see these birds. Once in a while they will pop out into the open, but then, that would take the challenge out of the game, wouldn’t it?

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Northern Parula

©2011 Steve BorichevskyThis can be a frustrating time of year. The warblers are migrating through and some are settling in. I was walking along a stream in Dogtown when I saw three warblers low to the grown hop up and start chasing each other.

On a cloudy day deep in the woods with a relatively slow lens, the autofocus had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to focus on. By the time I got compliance from the lens, my target had hopped and turned around. It is a frustrating time of year for sure.

To give you an indication of what is frustrating about east coast spring migration, many of the warblers come through after the leaves have developed and since warblers, depending on the family, like bushes, tree tops and being in the canopy.

As a bird-nerd, I would have had my binoculars and field guides. I would have seen the bird and relished in the coolness of having another checkmark on my year list and one on my Massachusetts list. As wildlife photographer, I would walk away frustrated that another on go away.

Warblers are considered the jewels of the North American birding world, and us bird-nerds live for spring migration when the warblers come through. But this story didn’t start at the stream side on the return leg of my walk. It started when I entered the woods and I heard a buzzy trill. I was in the woods for four hours before I was able to actually see one through the canopy.

A half mile later, it was getting onto noon and I was getting hungry. Time to finish off the walk and get some grub. I could hear Yellow Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Tufted Titmice, Baltimore Orioles, Common Yellowthroat Warblers, Grey Catbirds, all up in the canopy. Frustrating.

Then I happened upon a small brushy patch in a hayfield. I heard the buzzy trill again and was determined wanted to find it. And there he was, in crabapple tree feeding on caterpillars! How fortunate, he didn’t seem to mind my presence.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Northern Parula in Wild Cherry. Available as a greeting card on Redbubble. ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Northern Parula in Wild Cherry. Available as a greeting card on Redbubble. Click on the image to go to Redbubble.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Then I heard another buzz. It was my cell phone, probably Becky wondering if I would be home for lunch.

“What?”… “It’s doing what?” … “What color is the smoke?” … “Where are you?” … “Is it dripping a lot or a little?” … “I’m on my way.”

How does her car always know? Followers know this isn’t the first time, nor the second time I’ve been pulled off of a photo opp by that VW Golf. Remember Eider Decisions? That’s it, this is the last time. We went off to the dealer and got her a new car.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Meet The Fishermen from Gloucester

Yup, it’s Friday again. I’m pulling up some shots of three guys that you will see more of in June. It all started last November, I heard a knock on the door. It was friend and neighbor Jimmy T. He’s needed a favor and fills me in on the details. I’ve been sitting on this since November, not able to tell anyone.

Well, the cat’s out of the bag, the bean are spilt and the toothpaste is out of the tube. Three local Gloucester Fishermen are headed off for an adventure. What’s this got to do with Jimmy T and a knock on my door? Well, they needed someone to make a DVD to submit, and tag, I was it.

Now those of you that have seen my videos know that I should stick to stills. But I wanted to help the local boys out, and who knows, maybe there would be some fresh haddock in it for me. This clip is an out take from the submission video. Just want to let you know that these three men are the real-deal. I’m waiting for permission to post the submission video, so hopefully I can get that cleared and show you at a later date.

Captain Dominic 11-20-2010 9-13-41 AM

First, is Joe Sanfilippo, International Dory Rower, Tri-athlete and all around good guy.

Captain Dominic 11-20-2010 9-23-07 AM

Next is greasy pole champion and fisherman Nino Sanfilippo.

Captain Dominic 11-20-2010 9-23-24 AM

And Captain of the trawler, Gus Sanfilippo, a man known up and down Maritime New England for being able to get on the fish.

Captain Dominic 11-20-2010 9-23-12 AM

Okay, they ain’t as cute as the Doublemint Twins that came motoring through the front yard last May, but they should make great showing in Expedition Impossible.

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