Thursday, October 30, 2014

Baby Red Squirrel In The Rain.....

Baby Red Squirrel
Baby Red Squirrel in the rain, just a few days out of the nest. Also known as "Bigfoot" .......

This little one has five brothers and sisters shown in the video below. Last October there were five squirrel kittens.


Tufted Titmouse Teaches Blue Jay About Peanuts


A Blue Jay in Smoky Mountains who has never seen peanuts looks quizzically at them and does not know what to do with them until the always savvy Tufted Titmouse shows it the way. A Florida Jay would have had all four peanuts to itself in short order, but in the high dense forest at 4000 feet I've noticed Blue Jays are rare and dare I say a bit "shy". They even make different calls than in Florida, sort of pensive lonely calls as in this video clip: Blue Jays unusual call
Here in the deep dark forest the little birds rule the roost!

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Blue Jay

Painted Bunting Migration


Painted Buntings of the 2014-15 season started passing through on October 28th, 2014. Always exciting to see these rare and colorful birds return each fall and stay til April. As is typical the outrageously beautiful males will come a little later. These first "Greenies" of the season are typically immature non-breeding males and young females. Painted Buntings are not ones for migrating great distances typically coming from coastal south Carolina to the east coast of Florida. The early and late season Buntings are typically passing through the backyard on their way south and back north, but by sometime in November we generally get a core population of 8 to 12 Painted Buntings that stay here through March.
Last years Painted Buntings up close -

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Painted Bunting Greenie

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Scary"Halloween Pumpkin Spider - Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor




A little Halloween Fun.....Scary Halloween Spider set to Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor organ music. Crank up the volume and put this on a big screen TV and enjoy! Actually this is a very large Marbled Orb Weaver Spider that matures and turns quite orange in October and then dies - its a really sweet spider! This poor soul was picked off by a bird after I released it unharmed on a tree branch.

Music courtesy of YouTube Video Library.

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"Scary"Halloween Pumpkin Spider - Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren - Early October Great Smoky Mountains North Carolina. Much of my photography and videography is done in dense forest cover where direct sunlight does not penetrate and clear lines of sight are not possible. This photo was shot at ISO5000.

Inspirational Chipmunk Starts Its Day



Inspiring Chipmunk - starts its day with a great attitude despite a brutal injury to its right front leg. A little hello "Chip" a spit bath and then tending to its injury then listening to the daily news being chirped by its neighbors and surveying its territory and then a snack and off on its busy day with dignity and no self pity. Its rare that one gets to "know" an individual chipmunk, but because of its severe injury, probably due to a foxes jaw that it escaped from it is easily identifiable and its unique habit of collecting corn cobs in and around its burrow made it easy to spot. It may be that the corn cob fence it constructed around its burrow give it a greater sense of security due to it's close call. I observed this particular Eastern Chipmunk much of the summer and early fall and may do a documentary on the fascinating little fellow!

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Eastern Chipmunk in burrow

Friday, October 24, 2014

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar - White Variety



Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar Halysidota tessellaris comes in a variety of colors - this is the white variety. Called  "Tussock moth" for the tufts of hair on the caterpillar. (tussock = a tuft or clump of green grass or similar verdure, forming a small hillock--Wiktionary.)
The long black and white "lashes" front and rear shout out - danger!  "don't touch me". Indeed they are akin to extremely small sharp needles.  A skin irritation and sometimes a severe allergic reaction can occur when contacting the sharp spines which are said to have a feel like rubbing raw fiberglass threads into your skin. This one is in a rush to cocoon up for the winter! The wildest looking variety of Tussock Moth Caterpillar the White-Marked can be seen at:

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Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar  - White Variety


Hummingbirds Hover More Efficiently Than Helicopters !



Hummingbird Helicopter! I was having some fun filming Ruby Throated Hummingbirds in slow motion from above - and it turns out a Hummingbird sounds much like a helicopter when filmed in slow motion. You can hear it before you see it - Crank up the volume! Ruby Throated Hummingbird at 1/8 normal speed - 240 FPS and the wings are still a blur, but rather than a circular blur like a helicopter you can see the range of their horizontal motion is much less as they flap in sort of a figure 8 pattern with more of a vertical component than a helicopter. It turns out studies earlier this year by Stanford engineers have found that hummingbirds  actually have a more efficient a design than the best helicopter. To hear a hummingbird from above in normal speed check out:

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Hummingbirds Hover More Efficiently Than Helicopters

Hovering Hummingbirds Wing sounds




Hummingbirds Hover More Efficiently Than Helicopters


Monday, October 20, 2014

Northern Flicker Eating Ants



Northern Flicker - Yellow Shafted variety (unique red mark at nape of the neck) makes a rare appearance in front of the camera eating ants. A very striking member of the woodpecker family it usually eats ants and bugs on the ground and is often heard in the deep woods with a call rivaling the great Pileated Woodpecker, but in the deep Great Smoky Mountains it is a rare sight.  It would have stayed longer, but a Chipmunk spooked it. 

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Northern Flicker Eating Ants

Funny Chipmunk Tries To Bring Corn Cob Into Burrow


We now know what the chipmunk last seen steeling a corn cob that it had just eaten the corn of of at: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zegitIelTY was going to do with the corn cob!
The Chipmunk wants to put a six inch long corn cob in its burrow which is two inches wide. Never mind why it wants to do this, the question is - can it do it or will it give up and throw a chipmunk fit? 

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Funny Chipmunk