Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog en-us (C) Steve Creek screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:47:00 GMT Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:47:00 GMT http://www.stevecreek.com/img/s11/v31/u878434194-o722419372-50.jpg Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog 80 120 Walking Stick Insect Infestation http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/10/walking-stick-insect-infestation I have been spending time at my place in the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. The leaves will soon be turning and I wanted to try and capture some of the fall colors.

It seems like the numbers of Walking Stick Insects around my place has been increasing each year. I will see 10 or more just on my deck. I read that these insects prefer foliage from the oak tree which I have in this area. This concerns me because, in heavy infestations, it can denude a stand of oak trees.

They are leaf skeletonizers, eating the tissues between the leaf veins, pausing for a while and then walking on to new leaves. They can feed at any time of day, but the greatest feeding activity has been noted between nine PM and three AM. Early-stage nymphs are often found on American hazel and black cherry, but where these are scarce, often choose white oak. Older individuals are often found on black oak. Another food tree is the black locust. Adults are present in August and September in the northern part of the range, but because of their tendency to feed high in the canopy, the insects are seldom seen. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Walking Stick Insect - 093016-3883Walking Stick Insect - Arkansas

 

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas insects ouachita national forest walking stick insects http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/10/walking-stick-insect-infestation Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:17:12 GMT
Snake About To Shed Skin http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/snake-about-to-shed-skin A sign that this snake is about to shed its skin is when the eyes turn a cloudy, bluish color. This is because the eye cap, a specially adapted scale which covers the eye, is loosened up in order to be shed along with the skin and causes this change. Just prior to shedding, the eyes will clear up again.

Snake's eyes are covered by their clear scales (the brille) rather than movable eyelids. Their eyes are always open, and for sleeping, the retina can be closed or the face buried among the folds of the body.

Molting occurs periodically throughout the snake's life. Before a molt, the snake stops eating and often hides or moves to a safe place. Just before shedding, the skin becomes dull and dry looking and the eyes become cloudy or blue-colored. The inner surface of the old skin liquefies. This causes the old skin to separate from the new skin beneath it. After a few days, the eyes clear and the snake "crawls" out of its old skin. The old skin breaks near the mouth and the snake wriggles out, aided by rubbing against rough surfaces. In many cases, the cast skin peels backward over the body from head to tail in one piece, like pulling a sock off inside-out. A new, larger, brighter layer of skin has formed underneath. (Source - Wikipedia)

Here is a post I made in reference to a Watersnake With Possible Retained Eye Cap

 

Snake - 092509-7380Snake- Arkansas

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas shed skin snakes http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/snake-about-to-shed-skin Thu, 21 Sep 2017 08:34:19 GMT
Coyotes Playing http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/coyotes-playing I was able to park and photograph these three young Coyotes playing in a plowed field at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This went on for over 30 minutes. They got a little rough a few times.

Unlike wolf pups, coyote pups begin seriously fighting (as opposed to play fighting) prior to engaging in play behavior. A common play behavior includes the coyote "hip-slam". By three weeks of age, coyote pups bite each other with less inhibition than wolf pups. By the age of four to five weeks, pups have established dominance hierarchies, and are by then more likely to play rather than fight. (Source Wikipedia)

Here are more photographs of the Coyotes at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge:

Coyote Pup

Another Coyote Pup

Coyote Pups Are Growing

Sleeping Coyote Pup

 

Coyotes Playing - 091417-5004Coyotes Playing - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyotes oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/coyotes-playing Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:01:00 GMT
Sleeping Coyote Pup http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/sleeping-coyote-pup This Coyote Pup decided to take a nap while I was photographing it. I have been photographing several Coyote Pups at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma the past several weeks. (Coyote Pup, Another Coyote Pup, and Coyote Pups Are Growing) These are wild animals that have become accustomed to seeing humans in their vehicles parking nearby and photographing them.

I'm sure they will soon relocate to a different area of the refuge soon because the farmers have been harvesting the crops that are grown on the refuge. These coyotes seem to like hanging around the edges of these fields for food and cover. When to crops are harvested this will leave the Coyote Pups more in the open and I don't think they will like it.

I read that Coyotes dens are abandoned by June to July, and the pups follow their parents in patrolling their territory and hunting. Pups may leave their families in August, though can remain for much longer. The pups attain adult dimensions at eight months and gain adult weight a month later. These pups are getting to this stage.

I also read that Coyotes walk around 3 – 10 miles per day, often along the trails such as logging roads and paths. These pups may do some walking at night, but they seem to always come back to the same spot every morning.

 

Coyote Pup - 091417-4767Coyote Pup - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyotes oklahoma pups sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/sleeping-coyote-pup Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:20:11 GMT
Great Blue Heron Log Roll http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/great-blue-heron-log-roll I was parked in an area at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma watching and photographing a Great Blue Heron standing on a submerged log. The Heron was standing very still until it saw movement in the water nearby. It started leaning forward on the log it was on and the log moved. The Heron was having a problem keeping its balance and the more it tried the more the log would move. The log began rolling and the Great Blue Heron couldn't get it under control. I switched my camera over to video mode and was able to get the struggle the bird was having staying on the log. As you can see in the video the Great Blue Heron did a great log roll before giving up.

 

Great Blue Heron Log Roll - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals birds great blue heron oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/great-blue-heron-log-roll Sun, 17 Sep 2017 08:24:25 GMT
Coyote Pups Are Growing http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/coyote-pups-are-growing The Coyote Pups that I photographed and wrote about before are growing and seem to be doing great. Back in August, I made a couple of blog posts in reference to the Coyote pups that I have been seeing at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. (Coyote Pup and Another Coyote Pup)

Yesterday morning I heard a Coyote howling and it sounded like a young one. The howling was coming from the area that I have seen the Coyote pups. I drove to the area and I spotted one of the pups walking on the road. It was carrying a rabbit. It was walking away from me so I was unable to get a photograph. I parked and watched it walk a short distance down the road and then it moved into the brush. Photographing this young Coyote with a rabbit would have been awesome, but not everything works out while photographing wildlife.

I left this area because I didn't want to disturb the Coyote while it was trying to eat its meal. I knew it was probably in the thick brush near the road. I turned around and went to the road that leads to the Moody boat ramp. I have seen a Coyote Pup in this area before. As I was driving I spotted a young Coyote on the edge of the road. I was able to park and open my pickup door. While standing at my door, I got several photos of this Coyote pup trying to catch something in the grass on the side of the road.

While I was photographing this Coyote, two more came out onto the road and were watching me and the Coyote I was photographing. I was able to spend a lot of time observing and photographing them and will try and make another post next week.

 

Coyote Pup - 091417-4633Coyote Pup - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyote oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/coyote-pups-are-growing Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:31:27 GMT
Red-bellied Snake Next To Turkey Track http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/red-bellied-snake-turkey-track My two brothers and I were hiking the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas this past weekend. One of my brothers spotted this Red-bellied Snake crossing an old 4-wheeler road we were on. If you look close you can also see a Turkey track in the mud next to the snake.

I only had my small pocket camera on this hike so I wasn't able to get any close-up photos. I still like this photo because it shows how small this snake is compared to the Turkey track.

I hope I got the id correct on this snake. I researched it by going to Herps of Arkansas. Two subspecies, the Florida Red-bellied Snake, and subspecies Northern Red-bellied Snake occur in Arkansas. The Florida Red-bellied subspecies typically has a yellowish or orangish belly rather than red. I wished I would have checked to see what color belly it had.

The Red-bellied snake is a small woodland snake, ranging from 4 - 10 inches long. This species is one of our most variably-colored snakes, with some individuals ranging from bright orange to brown, gray, or nearly black. Occasionally individuals are found that are gray with a brown or orange stripe down the center of the back.

Red-bellied snakes are generally very secretive and can be found hiding under logs, rocks, and leaf piles. They feed nearly exclusively on slugs.

 

Red-bellied Snake - 090917-1861Red-bellied Snake Next to Turkey Track - Ouachita National Forest - Arkansas

 

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas red-bellied snake snakes wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/red-bellied-snake-turkey-track Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:24:13 GMT
Why Are Frogs On The Roads http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/frogs-roads When I arrive at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma before daylight, I have to avoid running over the frogs on the roads. You will see lots of them now, hopping across the roads and even some on the trails after the sun rises. Trying not to run over one is very difficult.

I did some research to try and find out why so many frogs like being on the roads. Scientists aren’t sure their motivation for roadway attraction. At certain times of the year, such as the start and end of the breeding season, they move.  This type of movement is known as migration. Young frogs may also leave the area they were born and move to a new one. This type of movement is called dispersal.

Most of the research information I discovered was in reference to spring time movement. This kind of behavior is common in spring and early summer when frogs and toads go looking for mates and suitable breeding sites.

I think the best answer I found was that rain makes everything wet enough the frogs can get around comfortably, without fear of drying out. We have had some good rains here in August and September. With the rain and other factors, we have had a bumper crop of frogs this year. The juvenile frogs need to find new habitat to grow.

The photo below is a Leopard Frog I came across on one of the asphalt trails at the Refuge. I read that the Leopard Frog is known to be very mobile.

 

Leopard Frog - 082517-3919Leopard Frog - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) amphibians frogs oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/frogs-roads Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:30:26 GMT
Whitetail Fawn Behind Willow Tree http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/whitetail-fawn-behind-willow-tree I almost missed this Whitetail Fawn behind a large Willow Tree at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Saturday I posted a photo of a couple of Raccoons In A Willow Tree that I also almost missed. This is that same area. This is a small area that is called Miner's Cove and it is located just as you make a right turn at the four corners intersection. It is on the left and is surrounded by Willow Trees.

Most regular visitors to this refuge will stop and check out Miner's Cove for wildlife. In early spring this spot usually has lots of water, but this time of year it has very little. I always take a few minutes to look the area over and most of the time I will see something. I always wonder what wildlife I miss seeing because I know I do. This cove is worth checking out several times while at the refuge.

I'm not sure what type of plants the Fawn is standing in and I don't think it was eating it. I think the deer just use the back of the cove to move from one area to the next. They could also be using it for a bedding area.

I have been seeing a Green Heron in this Cove and I got a few photos of it, but I would like to get better ones before sharing them with you. This Heron is very difficult to see and it doesn't like staying close to the road.

 

Whitetail Fawn - 071410-3323Whitetail Fawn - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer fawn oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/whitetail-fawn-behind-willow-tree Mon, 04 Sep 2017 10:16:04 GMT
Young Raccoons In Willow Tree http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/young-raccoons-willow-tree I almost missed seeing these two young Raccoons in this Willow tree. I saw them at a location called Miner's Cove at the Sequoyah Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. They were toward the back of the cove. The sun was just rising and it gave me enough light to see them and to get this photograph.

Miner's Cove is one of those places where photographers stop to check for wildlife because it usually has birds. At this time of year, it has very little water in the cove, but I continue to check it for Deer and Raccoons.

Both Raccoons began grooming each other after I parked and started photographing them. A little later they became sleepy and curled up around each other and went to sleep. I left this area and drove around the Refuge for about an hour and when I came back they were gone.

You will see lots of Raccoons while visiting the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. They are fun to watch and photograph. I have seen a lot of the adult Raccoons this time of year with young Raccoons following behind.

I read that Raccoons were thought to be solitary, but there is evidence that raccoons engage in a gender-specific social behavior. Related females often share a common area, while unrelated males live together in groups of up to four animals to maintain their positions against foreign males during the mating season, and other potential invaders.

After a gestation period of about 65 days, two to five young, known as "kits", are born in spring. The kits are subsequently raised by their mother until dispersal in late fall. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Raccoons In A Willow Tree - 082117-3419Raccoons In A Willow Tree - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals oklahoma raccoons sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/9/young-raccoons-willow-tree Sat, 02 Sep 2017 09:43:40 GMT
Another Coyote Pup http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/another-coyote-pup If you want to see and photograph a Coyote Pup you may have a good chance of doing this at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This past couple of weeks I have seen a total of five scattered throughout the refuge. They seem to be in the same area each time I see one. Two are together and the others seem to be alone.

The Coyote pictured below is hanging around a large Mulberry Tree that is located on the road past the 4 corner intersection. Instead of following the tour road to the right at this intersection, you go straight and the Mulberry tree is around the curve.

When I first saw this Coyote, I thought it wasn't healthy because of its size compared to the others. After viewing my photos of it on my computer, I think it is just a runt and seems to be doing fine. It looks skinny, but its fur looks healthy.

The first Coyote I photographed and wrote about (Coyote Pup) is still being seen by a few other photographers. It is with another Coyote pup and is being seen when you travel the tour road to the left at the 4 corners. They are about 1/2 mile down this road.

I see another near the beginning of the tour road near the sign about cooperative farming. The fifth one is near the far north side past the road that takes you to Sally Jones.

 

Coyote Pup - 082617-4013Coyote Pup - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyotes oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/another-coyote-pup Thu, 31 Aug 2017 06:28:26 GMT
Beaver Eating Corn on the Cob http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/beaver-eating-corn-on-the-cob I never knew that a North American Beaver would eat corn on the cob until I saw one doing just that at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The one and only time I saw a Beaver eating corn was back in September of 2010. The Beaver was in the Arkansas River and a corn field was nearby. I could see where something had dragged corn across a road and into the river. It left parts of the corn stalk behind on the road.

I was able to photograph the Beaver eating the corn in the water. I remember it took awhile for it to eat all the corn off the cob. I guess it was just enjoying being able to eat something different.

I read that Beavers prefer the wood of quaking aspen, cottonwood, willow, alder, birch, maple and cherry trees. They also eat sedges, pondweed, and water lilies. The Sequoyah National Refuge has plenty of Cottonwood and Willow trees.

Maybe this will be the year I will get to see this again since corn was planted in the same area this year. It also looks like the corn is getting close to being ready to harvest. I do see a Beaver in this area often.

 

Beaver Eating Corn - 092810-6229Beaver Eating Corn - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals beavers oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/beaver-eating-corn-on-the-cob Mon, 28 Aug 2017 09:16:53 GMT
Coyote Pup http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/coyote-pup I see two Coyote pups in the same area on most of my visits this summer to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I tried numerous times to photograph them, but when I see them, they are on the road in front of my pickup. I am unable to photograph anything in front of my pickup because I would need to get out of my pickup and this would scare the wildlife.

Yesterday I saw both of these pups, but this time one of them stayed on the road and sat down like it was waiting for me. I drove as close as I thought I could get and got out of my pickup and took some photos. A few minutes later it moved into the weeds on the side of the road and sat down. I got back into my pickup and moved it closer.  I took a chance and got back out of my pickup and was able to get a few more photos. This Coyote didn't seem to care and just looked around like it was giving me different poses. After a few more minutes it walked into a nearby corn field out of sight.

This summer I have seen more Coyote pups than I have in my past years going to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. So far I have counted five pups. I also saw a large pack of Coyotes a few days ago. I counted nine Coyotes in the pack. I am wondering if the wild hogs that are being killed and left lying for the Coyotes to eat are the reason they are doing so well.

I read that pups may leave their families in August, though can remain for much longer. The pups attain adult dimensions at eight months and gain adult weight a month later. Although coyotes prefer fresh meat, they will scavenge when the opportunity presents itself.

What I found interesting is that It sometimes eats unusual items such as cotton cake, soybean meal, domestic animal droppings, beans, and cultivated grain such as corn, wheat, and sorghum. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Coyote Pup - 082417-3538Coyote Pup - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Coyote Pup - 082417-3625Coyote Pup - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyotes oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/coyote-pup Fri, 25 Aug 2017 09:53:43 GMT
Great Blue Heron Gular Fluttering http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/great-blue-heron-gular-fluttering It is strange when you see a Great Blue Heron panting. This behavior is called Gular Fluttering and is a cooling behavior in which birds rapidly flap membranes in the throat to increase evaporation.

I was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma this past Sunday photographing a Great Blue Heron. This Heron has been in the same location for several days catching shad and other types of fish. I usually drive to this area before sunrise and park and watch this bird as the sun rises. This Heron doesn't care much about the vehicles on the road and I usually can get some good photos.

After the Great Blue Heron spends some time feeding it will perch on a log in the water and begin this Gular Fluttering if it is a hot morning. Photos just are not able to show this very well, so I decided to try shooting a video.

I do see other birds doing this especially Owls. The Great Blue Herons seem to demonstrate it better.

 

Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals birds great blue heron oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/great-blue-heron-gular-fluttering Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:35:37 GMT
Whitetail Fawns Are Growing Fast http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-fawns-are-growing-fast Whitetail Fawns at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma are growing fast. Healthy fawns average 4 to 8 pounds at birth and they will double their weight in two weeks and triple it within a month. Females give birth to one to three spotted fawns in mid- to late spring, generally in May or June. Now that it is August, I am able to get a few photos of some of these Fawns.

The soybean plants are also getting tall and it is difficult to see the Fawns when they are in these fields. If I see a Doe I will watch her move into an area that the plants are not as tall. I get lucky sometimes and will see a Fawn with the Doe.

This past Sunday I drove to a soybean field that a group of deer has been frequenting the past few months. This soybean field is located near the short road that takes you to the Baker parking area. This field is known as Baker's Field. I have posted a few photos of the deer that I have photographed in this field. (3 Point Whitetail Buck Up CloseWhitetail Doe Jumping Through SoybeansWhitetail Doe Eating Soybean Leaves)

I saw a Doe in the soybean field feeding so I parked and watched and photographed her. A few minutes later I spotted the ears of a fawn near the Doe. It took a few more minutes before both deer fed in an area where I could see the Fawn better. I was able to watch the Fawn feed on the soybean plants and I was also able to photograph it being groomed by the Doe.

Each time the Doe and Fawn moved the Fawn was in the lead. The Fawn moved closer to my pickup and I was able to get some close-up photos of it. At one time I thought the Fawn was coming up to my pickup, but the Doe took the lead and led her away. They crossed the road in front of me and went into the brush to bed down.

Here is a photo of the Fawn with the Doe: Doe Grooming Fawn

 

Whitetail Fawn - 082017-2941Whitetail Fawn - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer doe fawn oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge soybeans whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-fawns-are-growing-fast Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:23:55 GMT
Whitetail Bucks Sparring With Their Velvet Antlers http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-bucks-sparring-with-their-velvet-antlers This past Sunday I observed these two Whitetail Bucks sparring with their velvet antlers. This was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This is my first time seeing Bucks doing this while still in velvet. I also saw both of them rubbing their velvet antlers on a sapling. A buck in velvet is sensitive and extremely protective of his antlers. I am thinking that these Bucks are getting close to losing the velvet on their antlers and they must not be that sensitive.

While an antler is growing, it is covered with highly vascular skin called velvet, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone. When the antlers are growing, they are full of nerves and blood vessels.

By mid-August, most of the antler growth for the year is done.

By late summer, as day length decreases, testosterone levels begin to increase, the antler begins to harden. The blood vessels within the antler itself begin to lose their ability to nourish the velvet, and it dries up and falls off.

Whitetail Velvet Bucks Sparring - 082017-2206Whitetail Velvet Bucks Sparring - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Whitetail Buck Rubbing Velvet Antlers - 082017-2173Whitetail Buck Rubbing Velvet Antlers - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals antlers bucks deer oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge velvet whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-bucks-sparring-with-their-velvet-antlers Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:35:48 GMT
Mound Of Dead Mayflies http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/mound-of-dead-mayflies I came across a mound of dead Mayflies yesterday while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This pile was at the Sandtown parking area.

Often, all the mayflies in a population mature at once (a hatch), and for a day or two in the spring or autumn, mayflies are everywhere, dancing around each other in large groups, or resting on every available surface. The lifespan of an adult mayfly is very short, rarely for more than 24 hours. In some species, it may last for just a few minutes.

A mayfly’s life cycle starts with the males forming a swarm above the water and the females flying into the swarm to mate. The male grabs a passing female with its elongated front legs and the pair mate in flight. After copulation, the male releases the female, which then descends to the surface of the water where she lays her eggs. Once mated, she will fall, spent, onto the water surface to lie motionless, with her wings flat on the surface, where fish pick them off at their leisure. The male fly rarely returns to the water, but instead, he goes off to die on the nearby land. (Source: The Freshwater Blog)

This is a small pile compared to some areas in different parts of the country. I read that they had to bring in snowplows to clear the piles of dead Mayflies a few years ago. In Pennsylvania, a bridge had to be closed for two straight nights after multiple motorcyclists skidded across the bodies of the insects and crashed.

If you go online you will see lots of amazing photos of the piles of dead Mayflies.

Biologists say when Mayflies appear in large numbers, it indicates not only a healthy population but a healthy environment. That’s because the insects spend most of their lives at the bottom of rivers and lakes and need clean water to survive.

Mayflies - 082017-1825Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Mayflies - 082017-1836Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Mayflies - 082017-1833Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) insects mayflies oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/mound-of-dead-mayflies Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:30:34 GMT
Whitetail Doe In Thick Brush http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-thick-brush I spotted this Whitetail Doe in the thick brush while driving the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma this past Thursday. She is one of the Does I have been photographing in the soybean field near the South Sally Jones Lake area (Whitetail Doe Jumping Through Soybeans and Whitetail Doe Eating Soybean Leaves).

I was parked in the far northeast corner of the soybean field and the deer were moving into the thick brush to bed for the day. This Doe would stick her head up from feeding and I was able to photograph her head only. She was alerted to something toward the road behind me, but I never saw anything. I like the way this photo turned out with the blur of the brush and the clear view of her head profile.

A fawn was nearby with another Doe. The fawn was being groomed by mom and it would have made for a great photo, but the brush was too thick for me to photograph them.

A 3 point Buck was also in the area and I was able to get a few photos of him. He has been a regular and I have numerous photos of him that I have posted before (3 Point Whitetail Buck Up Close).

The deer in this area don't seem to be bothered by my presence and only glance my way when they hear the shutter on my camera. I was using my long lens (Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM Lens). I haven't used this lens in awhile, but it came in handy for this photo.

Whitetail Doe - 081817-1900Whitetail Doe - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer doe oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-thick-brush Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:25:21 GMT
When The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge Had Quail http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge-quail Someone mentioned Quail over on the Friends of Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge Page. A couple of us mentioned that it has been several years since we had seen any Quail (Northern Bobwhite) at this refuge.

I knew I had photographed Quail at the refuge before and decided to search my photos on when this was. I found that in 2009 and 2010 I had seen and photographed a few Quail. After seeing these photos I could remember that the Quail I did see were in a small covey.

The Northern Bobwhite like agricultural fields, grassland, open woodland areas, roadsides and wood edges. The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge seems to be the ideal habitat for these birds.

I read that the ideal cover is at least three feet tall with a closed canopy and relatively open ground conditions. As quail travel from roost sites, to foraging areas, to loafing cover, woody vegetation is needed to serve as predator protection. These habitat components are best suited in a random mixture. (Source: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation)

I think the main problem for the Quail at this refuge is the predators. The main predators of these birds are snakes, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, hawks, and owls. The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge has an abundance of most of these predators.

This refuge also has another serious predator that has increased numbers in the past couple of years and that's the Feral Hogs. Feral Hogs are known to eat the eggs of ground-nesting birds.

I know the refuge works hard dealing with these wild pigs and I hope one day they will be able to remove them.

Quail - 062609-3255Quail- Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) birds feral hogs oklahoma quail sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge-quail Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:34:32 GMT
Whitetail Doe Eating Corn Leaves http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-eating-corn-leaves I photographed this Whitetail Doe eating corn leaves back in June of 2009 at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma manages a cooperative farming program that raises wheat, corn, soybeans, and other crops on more than three thousand acres. Here is a photo I took of some of the corn this past June: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge Cooperative Farming

Most of the photos I have been showing you the past few months have been deer in the soybean fields. I wanted to let you know that they also like to feed on the corn plants. Deer grazing in harvested fields for dropped ears of corn are quite common in the fall, but these animals are also attracted to corn fields at other times of the year. Early in the growing season, deer will sometimes feed on the tops of young plants in mid- to late June. I read that the deer like feeding on corn during the silk stage, milk stage and maturity.

I always wonder what the Farmers think about the wildlife that feeds on the crops that they plant at this refuge. I know part of the crops are not harvested each year in order to attract more wildlife. I'm guessing they harvest enough to make it worth it.

Whitetail Doe Eating Corn Stalk - 061209-2871Whitetail Doe Eating Corn - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-eating-corn-leaves Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:42:12 GMT