Monday, July 21, 2014

Cedar Waxwing Fledgling



A newly fledged Cedar Waxwing waits patiently on a branch to be fed in the Great Smoky Mountains. Hiding deep inside a locust tree I was lucky to get this video using manual focus after hearing the young bird. You can just see the yellow at the end of the tail feathers and the trademark eye mask is very evident. Keeping well-hidden increased the chances that the young one will survive.

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Cedar Waxwing Fledgling


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chipping Sparrow Feeding Fledglings



Mother Chipping Sparrow has her hands full with two new fledglings just out of the nest this morning (7/18/14).  A birding tip: Spreading seeds around several rocks and other nooks on the ground makes for interesting feeding opportunities and increases the chances of getting good captures of birds and small animals.

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Chipping Sparrow Feeding Fledglings


Lizard Wrestling Moves


Slow motion clip of an Anole Lizard wrestling match. Only in slow motion can you appreciate the speed and strength of these lizards. Watch carefully and see that the lizard that is thrown is not the one that ends up pinned. The thrown lizard puts on an amazing twist move whipping its tail for leverage that results in the tables being turned! Shown at 1/8th normal speed. Actual time 16 seconds.

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Brown Anole Lizard wrestling match


Giant Tree Slug !



Probably a variety of Leopard Slug this 4+ inch long slug was happily  climbing a large hardwood tree in the deep forest of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's a little easier to appreciate a slug when its out in the wild and not around your house :-) Also good food for birds!

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Giant Tree Slug
Video: Giant Tree Slug - What's not to love!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Downy Woodpecker and Gray Catbird



Male Downy Woodpecker has to put up with a Catbird and a Robin who simply don't understand suet feeder etiquette nor the fact that this is a woodpecker blend made for attracting woodpeckers. The little Downy's get their share, but Catbirds and Robins have no shame when it comes to suet!
The female Downy faced the same stiff competition earlier at:

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Downy Woodpecker and Gray Catbird

Eastern Towhee Calling - Drink Your Tea!



Drink Your Tea! Male Eastern Towhee Calling in the morning with the classic territory call. Loud and strong with an extra flourish at the end. Towhees around the eastern U.S. have subtle differences in their calls. The calls of Towhees high in the Smoky Mountains seem to be a bit bolder and have the added emphasis of echoing through the valleys.

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Eastern Towhee Calling - Drink Your Tea!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call


Video: Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call

Three of the four Great Crested Flycatchers that hatched in May make an appearance and call high in the tree tops where they spend much of their time. Almost as big as their parents but without the developed crest yet. A zoom out at the end illustrates just why it is so hard to see the flycatchers unless you happen to catch one of their whistle calls to locate them. Looks like they are doing fine. A playlist of the their parents courting and nesting is at:

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Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call


Brown Anole Lizard Fight



Epic Lizard battle for control of the backyard patio! These are the bad-boy invasive Brown Anole Lizards in central Florida which are obviously quite aggressive and have forced the mild-mannered native Green Anole Lizards up off the ground and into the trees were life is a little calmer. This dispute went on for over 30 minutes of posturing and brief, but very violent wrestling for  breeding and territory rights until at the end one of them retreats into the shadows conceding the prime territory. Wrestling technique and strategy is quite evident in their actions, in fact it kind of reminds me of a professional wrestling performance - a lot of show and bluster and a little violence.

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Brown Anole Lizard Fight

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Grooming after Rainstorm



Wild Eastern Cottontail Rabbit high in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina grooms itself with its tongue for a very long time after a thorough bath in a heavy rainstorm. No doubt taking advantage of the soaking. The picture of a well-groomed Rabbit!

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Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Grooming after Rainstorm

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Female Anole Lizard Dewlap Displays During Mating





Female Green Anole Lizard (Anolis Carolinensis) bobs head and displays fairly large dewlap numerous times during mating - something usually done by the male prior to mating - in this case the male doesn't do it at all.  Female dewlaps in Anoles are understudied and new research has recently been presented at: http://www.anoleannals.org/2012/05/31/female-dewlaps/

This video contains the highlights of dewlap display from the 20 minute original video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGG-k_SUzrc

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Green Anole Lizard (Anolis Carolinensis) Mating