Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hummingbird and Snowberry Clearwing Moths!

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Let’s set the stage. It’s Saturday morning and I’m itching to shoot something different. Hoping for some new dragon species, I headed over to the Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

When I arrived I was greeted by very breezy conditions. This will not be good for shooting dragons, however it is worth a look to see what there is around. There were lots of Blue Dashers and a few Slaty Skimmers.

Up in the butterfly garden they have lots of butterfly bush planted. It was there I found a target…hummingbird moths! I’ve seen sphinx moths before but not these. The problem is that they are twitch little critters and on top of that the butterfly bush sprays were bobbing like a corks in the ocean. Oi! This was one of the toughest shoots that I have ever done. I never would have tried this in the film days as it would have taken about 5 rolls to get the job done. But today, it doesn’t cost me a cent! I love digital.

Hummingbird Clearwing moth. Hmmm, it looks more like a crayfish to me.©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Hummingbird Clearwing©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Snowberry Clearwing moth©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Hummingbird Clearwing©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This image is available on my redbubble site!

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Red, White and Blue

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

In other news, the Herring Gulls fledglings are starting to become more independent. Soon we will be driven crazy by the incessant begging cries of the juveniles.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This adult was not very pleased that I was taking interested in this youngster. It made quite the fuss and finally settled down on a lobster truck.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Friday, July 29, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday, Red-shouldered Hawk

I got an email from a friend I Boulder asking for some help identifying a hawk that landed on his window ledge. He had a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. I though I would send him a link to my juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk shots that I took just east of San Pedro, California. Doh! I never posted them! Classic Forgotten Photo Friday!

The full body shot to show the field marks.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This juvenile hawk was on our cousin’s neighbor’s railing. I asked everyone to keep an eye on mom and dad. Although I was a distance far enough that the hawk was not bothered, I wasn’t sure about mom and dad who were up in two different nearby trees. I had a friend that was nailed by a Red-shouldered  Hawk. He didn’t realize that he was between a parent and a juvenile that was hidden in the brush. Ouch!

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Look at how young this hawk is! He has such a blunt beak and still has his gape. Yup, a future cock-of-the-rock.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Clamp-tipped Emerald

I was lucky to get this Clamp-tailed Emerald. My field guide tells me that they hunt along the forest edges in shady areas and over fields. They generally perch in the vegetation high in the trees. I found this one at eye level.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boulder Flatirons

If there is anything that represents Boulder it has to be the Flatirons. You cannot possibly go to Boulder and without being impressed by these formations.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

When I lived in Boulder I never photographed them. Why? Because it is impossible to capture their true grandeur on film. Sorry, it cannot be done.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Here is where the short grass prairie meets the Rocky Mountain Foothills.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

There are many hiking trails below, above, around and up the Flatirons.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

I had a few minutes (literally) in the morning before my meeting in the morning to scamper over to the road that runs up to NCAR. Here I’m about 800 feet above Boulder looking north. I has to be done in the early morning or forget it because the sun goes behind the mountains and then it just doesn’t work.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

You should smell the ponderosa pines in the sun. The vanilla compounds evaporate from the bark and fill the air with a sweet smell. It’s intoxicating. Sometimes when things were just a bit hectic, in the evening I would go for a walk on the trails by South Boulder Creek and into the meadows along the South Mesa Trail and get a few hundred feet above the hubbub of city.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Curse of Chief Niwot

This sculpture is a rendition of Chief Niwot as see through the eyes of sculptor Thomas Meagher Miller. ©2011 Steve BorichevskyIt is said that in the 1820s, an Arapaho boy was seen to reach for his mother with his left hand. In their Algonquian langue, he was named Niwot which means “left handed”.

The irony in this is that in our Anglo culture, left handed equates to sinister, yet it was Niwot that was dealt blows from evil doers.

Chief Niwot was a man of peace. He was the brother-in-law of a white trader, John Poisal from whom he learned to speak English. He worked towards peaceful coexistence with the white settlers, yet he was killed in a massacre while trying to comply with orders baited with promises of peace if Niwot moved his people to Sand Creek.  On November 29, 1864 the camp was attacked.

The Arapaho name most likely means “trader” or “buyer” in the Pawnee language.

Yet, the Curse of Chief Niwot has nothing to do with these events. It was in the first encounters with white miners that Niwot professed that “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.” Today this has been distilled down the sentiment is that anyone that lives in the Boulder Valley will eventually be drawn back should they leave.

While Boulder is a beautiful city, one can only imagine what it was like before with herds of bison and short grass prairie. Actually, you can. Just a little north and a little south are tracts of land that are untouched...for now. Fortunately Boulder County has an extensive green belt program that has prevented much of the urban sprawl. Yet in my time, I have seen a reduction in hawk populations and entire wetlands where thousands of migratory waterfowl once stopped over decimated with ticky-tacky.

Along Boulder Creek is a long walking and biking trail. My hotel was built along this path and I took a walk up the trail from 28th Street up past Settler’s Park at the mouth of Boulder Canyon. This bridge crosses the creek right by my hotel. The concrete structure on the left is actually a little bunker built into the side of the creek where with windows that you can look into the creek and perhaps spy a fish. I did see one! ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

There was an abundance of snow in the mountains this past winter. I first noted it when I landed and saw the mountains still had a deal of snow. The water level of the creek is usually much lower than this in July. This looks more like the spring runoff rather than the mid summer trickle.©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This is the present beauty of Boulder Creek. One can only imagine the past beauty as it existed in Niwot’s time. Yet this is part of the charm of Boulder and the Boulder Creek path creates so many uses for  the creek, thus making it accessible for all. 

My personal manifestation of the Curse of Chief Niwot is that I have been seduced by the fragrant smell of the ponderosa pines, the sound of the wind in the short grass prairie, the ever present mule deer and the unique landscape where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains. If having lived here for 16 years and having that chapter of my life closed is a symptom, then I have indeed been cursed.
Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, July 25, 2011

Arriving in Colorado

I lived in Colorado for 26 years. In 2005 I needed to leave to find work and had not been back since. When a valid need to take a business trip arose, I packed my bags, tossed in my point-and-shoot and away I went.
The flight was rather uneventful except on the final approach I suspected that something was up when the captain instructed the flight attendants to take their jump seats prior to the “final preparations for landing”. I got a peek out the windows to my right and to my left. There were active lightening storms to visible on both sides.
We disembarked and I headed down to the train where I was welcomed by the mayor of Denver to DIA (okay, it was his voice as heard over the speakers) but anyway, it felt good to be back where you navigate by knowing the mountains are to the west and the plains are to the east. You can’t get lost. Trust me.
When I arrived at the baggage carrousel, not much was happening. They announced that the workers were pulled from the ramp because of lightening in the area. Can’t say I blame them, no one needs to die in the attempt to get my shirts and ties off of an airplane. This video clearly justified the delay in reuniting passengers and possessions.
My colleague, who was not as familiar with the area as I am, was spending one night so he saved the $25 bag check fee (a criminal airline practice) and was ready to go. The storm was not moving. “Carl, go and get your rental, I’ll catch up with you.” His plan was to wait for me and follow me to the hotel, but the storm was not moving. Carl had hopped the shuttle to the car rental, got his car and was informed that there wasn’t a GPS available. (I packed my own. For the life of me, I don’t get it. I can rent a $20,000 car for fifty bucks a day but you have to pay $10 a day for a $100 GPS.)
“Carl, I’m going to be here a while, just take Peña Blvd to e470, get off at 36 which turns into 28th as you get into Boulder. The hotel is on the left. The mountains are to the west, the plains are to the east, you can’t get lost. Trust me.”
Anyhow, I was an hour delayed. When I got the car, I decided to take my old route, Peña to Tower, to 120th to 36 which turns into 28th as you arrive in Boulder. 120th goes right by my old home. I was pleased to see that the owners were taking great care of it and it appeared that they were enjoying it.
The next morning, I woke up and opened the curtain. This is what I saw.
©2011 Steve Borichevsky
When I returned from breakfast, this was the view.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

And people ask me why I love Colorado. It’s a No-brainer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Happy Place

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, I was away on a business trip. I was in my happy place.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

I’m back.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Forgotten Photo Friday,Will the real Woody Woodpecker, please stand up?

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Last Friday’s Forgotten Photos featured an Acorn Woodpecker that I found on Catalina Island in California. Karen from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and author of Down in the Hollow left a comment that jiggled a datum that was sitting in the back of my mind for a long time. When I first saw an Acorn Woodpecker in the late ‘80s, I got the impression that Walter Lantz must have used the Acorn Woodpecker as a model for Woody Woodpecker.Walter_Lantz_1990_photo_D_Ramey_Logan[1]

Looking at the character and the Acorn Woodpecker, one can’t really see the resemblance, but the Pileated just does not have the same personality. I found a couple of credible references, but none that really caught my attention like this audio clip from NPR.


To the right is a picture of a Pileated Woodpecker. I can see the why many would imagine the Pileated as being Woody’s woodpecker. I grew up with these birds in Vermont and never once thought of Woody being a descendent of a Pileated Woodpecker. But first time I saw an Acorn I immediately knew that this was the woodpecker that inspired Walt Lantz. Why? Not so much the looks but the personality and the laugh.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gloucester Fishermen head out to Sea

This is the Captain Dominic, the fishing boat captained by Gus Sanfilippo, with engineer Nino Sanfilippo and deck hand Joe Sanfilippo heads out for a fishing trip at 6:00pm on Monday night. This is the Fishermen Team making a good showing on Expedition Impossible. ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Check them out tonight on ABC! Go Fishermen!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dragonfly Snacks

As I mentioned Monday, Dragonflies are great to have around. Here is a female Common Pondhawk munching on a house fly.

Dragonfly, Common Pondhawk 8-16-2009 9-29-57 AM

I don’t know what this Widow Skimmer was munching on, but it is almost gone.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Here is another Widow Skimmer chowing down on something tasty.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Dragons eat lots of mosquitos too. They get them down so fast that I’ve never been ever to capture a dragon eating a mosquito. That’s okay.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Boys are back in Town: Male Blue Dashers

The Blue Dashers are out in force taking all sorts of mosquitos and gnats. These are real good buddies. I’ve noticed that when I’m in Dragon Country, I don’t need to use bug repellant. Later this week, I’ll show you why.

Buy this image on redbubble©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Buy this image on redbubble!©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July is Dragon Season

These are just a few of the dragons that around Massachusetts in July. We will start out with two female Blue Dashers.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky   ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Male Slaty Skimmer. Dragonflies are voracious hunters. I’m amazed at what they can see. I was shooting at about eight feet and a mosquito was flying about ten inches from my ear. He spotted it and darted out, grabbed it an munched it down like it was popcorn.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Male Blue Dasher
This image is available on redbubble!

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Male Slaty Skimmer

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Female Spangled Skimmer

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Male Spangled Skimmer

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Female Spangled Skimmer having a snack.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

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