Yesterday, we saw a bald eagle feasting on a carcass in the coulee (valley with only one way in or out). Although he stayed most of the afternoon, we knew his visit was temporary. It had been two years since we noticed any bald eagles near the dry creek bed adjacent to our home. It was a temporary visit, brought forth I am sure by the eagle spying the dead animal on the ground. In the same vein, the animal’s body he was feasting on had succumbed to a temporary life – just as we all do.
Bald eagles are majestic, as so many of my Facebook friends have said. Fortunately, their fate has become more enduring than temporary, as they faced extinction during the earlier years of my life. My husband and I commented on how we would never have expected to have a bald eagle literally fly through our back yard when we were growing up in New York State.
Much of my afternoon was spent watching and photographing this beautiful bird, the symbol of our country. It was a temporary interruption to my planned schedule for the day. But, one well worth it. Enjoy some shots of my Temporary Visitor, the Bald Eagle.
Fall is a beautiful time in the midwest, especially when the sun is out and the air is crisp with a touch of coolness, foreshadowing the winter yet to come. Although it has barely been forty degrees each of the last two days, I have worked outside, preparing some garden beds for winter.
Yesterday, I stopped by a piece of land preserved some years ago by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. My Environmental History course has a project requirement as the final and I choose to find out more about this locally based organization that has been protecting lands in the Driftless area of Wisconsin since 1997. The acquisition of the New Amsterdam Grasslands was one of the first sites earmarked for preservation.
It occurred because a DNR employee, who was also one of the founders of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, had been noticing bird activity in the area (a few hundred acres) when driving past this site to work. Fortunately, a financial backer stepped forward to allow the conservancy to purchase the grassland site and also protect the endangered and threatened bird species living and reproducing in the habitat.
Over the last two weeks, I have collected a great deal of information on the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. I even visited the archive room at the local public library! Knowing that interviews are important to lend first hand accounts to the story at hand, I attempted to contact one of the founders of this group. But, yesterday, I stopped by the New Amsterdam Grasslands – only one of the local pieces preserved by the MVC – to take some photographs to ad to my presentation. It was on my way home from an appointment I had earlier in the day and I wanted to see how it was marked, for I have driven the road the entry is on many times and never saw the marker. At first I drove past it, but sitting quite a bit off toad, I found the trailhead.
As you can see, it was a beautiful fall day! The New Amsterdam Grasslands is only one type of land that the MVC protects. There are wetlands, bluffs, and more. I am sure the photos will add greatly to my presentation. And, you can be sure that I will be hiking some of the MVC trails when it is a little warmer out! Who will be joining me?
One of my other hobbies is photography. A regular reader of my blog would be able to guess that I really like to take pictures. Nature photography is my favorite form of photography and includes photos of flowers, seeds, trees, birds, butterflies, and sunrises. Landscape photography is what I consider to be a subset of nature photography, but many of my photos include the land. I like to capture the undulation of the land found in the coulees in our area of Western Wisconsin. Beaches, waves, and rock formations found on our travels to various locations in the United States and abroad also fascinate me. But, above all, is color! I love capturing the vibrancy of life. I suppose that is why sunsets and sunrises are taken any time there is a hint of color. I know that is why I snap pictures of the flowers in my yard year after year, season after season. Color plays a huge role in my artistic endeavors. Recently, I was shocked by my middle son who commented to me after I cleaned and rearranged the pieces on the tops of my kitchen cabinets, that I had an “eye” for color! This compliment was very pleasing to me, mostly because I thought it was true and he had noticed!
With the exception of my trip to the Netherlands in 2016, the more recent photographs I have taken are with a Nikon D5200 SLR. This camera, and an extra lens (50-200mm), was a gift from my husband a few years ago. I like the camera but have to admit to shooting on Auto Focus and not really bothering to “learn” how to use it. Still, I have been able to get some great shots with the Nikon camera and lenses.
This might be about to change. Due to a quest to get some more “up close” shots during our son’s soccer games this fall, I made known that I wanted a bigger lens. After some research and revision of my thoughts about what I should spend on such a piece of equipment, I jumped in and purchased a new, “bigger” lens. This zoom lens extends from 150mm to 600mm. It arrived the day before yesterday, a full two weeks before I expected it.
Reading the directions was essential. I was able to put on the lens, put in in Auto Focus and take a few photos. Unfortunately, something is not quite right yet because they photos are dark……(Yes, I remembered to take the lens cap off.) I plan to play with this new lens today. Soccer season is widing down, but we are also in need of taking some more nature photos (always) and then, there will be tennis and track in the spring. Oh, and graduation, too! Can you tell I am excited?!