Purple Martins

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Purple-Martins-4The gorgeous Purple Martins have returned to their summer home near the river. I saw a little bit of nest-building material being collected but mostly the swallows were zipping about catching insects when I made these photographs.

Purple-Martin-Nesting-BoxI love their songs and when you hear an entire community of them vocalizing together – especially once the young are hatched – it’s really quite a wonderful auditory experience. I’ll try to make a little recording at some point but there is a soundbite link below if you’re interested.

Click here to listen: Purple Martin Vocalizations (Soundclip from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.) Imagine perhaps 100 birds making those sounds…

Purple-Martins-5It’s been so beautiful outside it’s been hard to stay indoors!

[The image with three birds is a composite (layered) image showing various flight acrobatics.]

© Karen McRae, 2014

Life in the Liminal Spaces

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You might not realize that most of the photographs I post here are made in the city. A city ribboned with green spaces and waterways – corridors teeming with wildlife. A different version of city life. An exploration of the narrow tributaries, the wide rivers and the earthy ‘cracks’ someone has thought to leave between all the pavement. You never know what you might find in these spaces because even though we heap constraints on these wild creatures they place no constraints on themselves (Last spring we even had bears visiting).

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Night-Heron-and-WarblerThe Night Heron and the Warbler (above)

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Turkey-Vulture2Turkey Vultures, Perched and Circling

It’s common to see the odd turkey vulture circling above the green spaces but in the dwindling light of the weekend I looked up to see a tree draped with ten or more of these birds who appeared to be gazing down at me. They are so odd-looking with their red shrunken heads and wide-shouldered bodies. A few of them lifted their wings to the last rays of warm light.

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MaleDeerBeing Watched by a White-tailed Deer. A male deer with new antlers sprouting over his ears. You can see things are really greening up around here.

© Karen McRae, 2014

Returning

Great-Blue-HeronAll those birds great and small…

A great blue heron silhouetted on the budding branches. I love this time of year.

The low hum of spring is now a cacophony of migrating birds sounds. Just in time for World Migratory Bird Day (There’s a day for everything!).

© Karen McRae, 2014

The River’s Edge

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At-the-Edges3The river ice is breaking up slowly. Shifting a little everyday in the sun and wind and really coming open where there are strong undercurrents. I was a little surprised to see this snapping turtle floating at the frayed edges of the ice, able to lift its head for air but otherwise shifting with the water like a piece of driftwood, too cold to move. It’s been a long winter for everybody and spring has been tentative. We have land now, though. Earth, mud, grit and weathered grasses. The snow is mostly gone, we are just waiting on the river…

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© Karen McRae, 2014