Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog en-us (C) Steve Creek Wildlife Photography (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) Sat, 24 Jun 2017 12:15:00 GMT Sat, 24 Jun 2017 12:15:00 GMT http://www.stevecreek.com/img/s11/v31/u878434194-o722419372-50.jpg Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog 80 120 Wild Hogs At The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/wild-hogs-at-the-wichita-mountains-wildlife-refuge I bet the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge manager is not happy to have wild Hogs on this refuge. Just about everywhere I hiked on the refuge I saw signs of Hogs. (March 2016)

I decided after seeing signs of Hogs that I would try to stalk up on one and get a photo. I rate wild Hogs right up there with deer and coyotes when it comes to being wary.

I found an area that had some fresh signs and I began my search. After about an hour I heard a few and I began my stalk. Most of the time you will hear a group of Hogs before you will see them. They squeal a lot at each other. As you can see in the above photos I was successful.

This one Hog kept looking at me while I was photographing it, but I don't think it knew what I was and it didn't pay me much attention after checking me out. Wild hogs can be extremely dangerous when injured or cornered.

Feral Pig Wichita Mountains Wildlife RefugeFeral Pig Wichita Mountains Wildlife RefugeFeral Pig At The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge In Oklahoma

Feral Pig Facts

 

A feral pig is a domestic pig that has escaped or been released into the wild, and is living more or less as a wild animal; or one that is descended from such animals.

Feral pigs are a growing problem in the U.S. and on the southern prairies in Canada. As of 2013, the estimated population of six million feral pigs causes billions of dollars in property damage every year in the U.S., both in wild and agricultural lands. Because pigs forage by rooting for their food under the ground with their snout and tusks, a sounder (group) of feral pigs can damage acres of planted fields in just a few nights. Because of the feral pigs omnivorous nature, it is a danger to both plants and animals endemic to the area it is invading. Game animals such as deer and turkeys and, more specifically, flora such as the Opuntia plant have been especially affected by the feral hogs aggressive competition for resources. For commercial pig farmers, great concern exists that some of the hogs could be a vector for swine fever to return to the U.S., which has been extinct in America since 1978. Feral pigs could also present an immediate threat to non-biosecure domestic pig facilities because of their likeliness to harbor and spread pathogens, particularly the protozoa Sarcocystis. (Wikipedia)
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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals feral hogs feral pigs nature oklahoma wichita mountains wildlife refuge wild hogs wild pigs wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/wild-hogs-at-the-wichita-mountains-wildlife-refuge Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:15:00 GMT
Rabbit With Back Against Tree http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/rabbit-with-back-against-tree I see this one Eastern Cottontail Rabbit just about everyday in my yard. It will put its back against one of the large pine trees. It will stay in this spot for several hours. It is able to keep watch on me and my dog Rosie as we enter or leave the house. It doesn't have to worry about anything from the rear since it has the tree to protect it. A very smart Rabbit.

I read that the average Cottontail Rabbit will live 3 years in the wild. This one may make it past the 3 years.

Cottontail Rabbit Up Against TreeEastern Cottontail Rabbit Up Against TreeEastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Facts

  • These rabbits have high mortality, with a death rate up to 80 percent per year. Their main predators are domestic dogs and cats, coyotes, bobcats, hawks and owls.
  • During the day, cottontails often remain hidden in vegetation. If spotted, they flee from prey with a zigzag pattern, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 18 miles an hour.
  • The eastern cottontail can leap distances of between 10 and 15 feet.
  • Eastern cottontails are short-lived. Most do not survive beyond their third year.
  • They are most active during the night but especially in the early morning hours and at dusk. They do not hibernate, so they can be seen during the winter.
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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas eastern cottontail nature rabbit wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/rabbit-with-back-against-tree Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:49:18 GMT
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Tossing Crayfish http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/yellow-crowned-night-heron-tossing-crayfish I was able to photograph this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron a couple of days ago while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I was watching a couple of these birds that were too far away to photograph when this one flew close to me. It began catching Crayfish and preparing them to swallow. This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron would toss the Crayfish, so that it could get it in a position to smash the body. Smashing the body of the Crayfish with its beak would get rid of the legs and pincers. This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron tossed this Crayfish several times before it got it just right for swallowing.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Eating CrayfishYellow-crowned Night-Heron Eating CrayfishYellow-crowned Night-Heron Eating Crayfish

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Facts

It takes about three years for yellow-crowned night herons to acquire the full physical appearance of adults. Before that, the young birds show signs of immaturity such as a brownish body, an overall greyish head, drab colors and spots and streaks on their plumage.

Although the adults are easy to tell apart, juvenile yellow-crowned night heron can look very similar to juvenile black-crowned night heron. Yellow-crowned juveniles tend to stand straighter and have heavier bills and longer legs, and their spots and streaks are finer than those of the black-crowned.

The yellow-crowned night heron looks for shallow water to live in: marshes, wooded swamps, and lake-shores for inland populations, and thickets, mangroves and cliff-bound coasts for coastal populations. It can also be found in areas that don’t always have enough water, but that get flooded on a regular basis. Its habitat is closely linked to that of the crustaceans that make for most of its diet, and it tolerates fresh water, brackish water and saltwater.

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) birds nature oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife yellow-crowned night - heron http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/yellow-crowned-night-heron-tossing-crayfish Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:05:58 GMT
Northern Cardinal Fledgling http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/northern-cardinal-fledgling This Northern Cardinal Fledgling was on the edge of a birdbath that I have in my yard. I saw another one on the ground nearby.

This has been a good Spring for seeing and photographing fledgling in my yard here in town. Here are a couple of more that I was able to photograph: American Robin Fledgling and Common Grackle Baby

Northern Cardinal FledglingNorthern Cardinal FledglingNorthern Cardinal Fledgling at my Birdbath

Northern Cardinal Facts

The common name, as well as the scientific name, of the northern cardinal refers to the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, who wear distinctive red robes and caps. The term "northern" in the common name refers to its range, as it is the northernmost cardinal species.

The diet of the northern cardinal consists mainly (up to 90%) of weed seeds, grains, and fruits. It is a ground feeder and finds food while hopping on the ground through trees or shrubbery. It will also consume insects, including beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, and snails; it feeds its young almost exclusively on insects.

Pairs mate for life, and stay together year-round. Mated pairs sometimes sing together before nesting. During courtship they may also participate in a bonding behavior where the male collects food and brings it to the female, feeding her beak-to-beak.

Young fledge 10 to 11 days after hatching. Two to three, and even four, broods are raised each year. (Wikipedia)

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas birds nature northern cardinal wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/northern-cardinal-fledgling Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:48:08 GMT
American Robin Fledgling http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/american-robin-fledgling This American Robin Fledgling is the first fledgling I came across while mowing my yard this summer. I have to be careful and watch for the baby birds when I mow. Some of them are very difficult to see. I saw two of these American Robin Fledglings this time and they both seem to be doing good. I saw them both being fed.

Here is a photo of a baby Common Grackle I posted on the 15th of this month: Common Grackle Baby and a Northern Cardinal Fledgling I posted on the 19th.

American Robin FledglingAmerican Robin FledglingAn American Robin Fledgling in my yard here in Arkansas.

Fledge Facts

Fledging is the stage in a young bird's life between hatching and flight. For altricial birds, those that spend more time in vulnerable condition in the nest, the nestling and fledging stage can be the same. For precocial birds, those that develop and leave the nest quickly, a short nestling stage precedes a longer fledging stage.

All birds are considered to have fledged when the feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently developed for flight. A young bird that has recently fledged but is still dependent upon parental care and feeding is called a fledgling. People often want to help fledglings, as they appear vulnerable, but it is best to leave them alone.

In many species, parents continue to care for their fledged young, either by leading them to food sources, or feeding them. Birds are vulnerable after they have left the nest, but before they can fly, though once fledged their chances of survival increase dramatically. (Wikipedia)

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) american robin animals arkansas birds nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/american-robin-fledgling Sun, 18 Jun 2017 13:59:55 GMT
Grand Teton National Park 2017 http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/grand-teton-national-park-2017 Last week I made a trip to the Grand Teton National Park. This was my third trip and I couldn't have asked for better weather. The low temps were in the 40's and the highs were in the 70's. I decided on this trip not to camp at any of the campgrounds. I found a nice spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. To get to this spot you turn onto National Forest Road #30310. This road was located across from the Cunningham Cabin Historic Site off of Hwy. 26. I had a great spot with an amazing view of the Teton Range. The photo below is of the T. A. Moulton Barn. This barn is located north of Jackson on highway 191 past Moose Junction. You turn right onto Antelope Flats Road. Follow the road about 1½ miles until you see a north-south running dirt road marked by a distinctive pink stucco house on the left. You turn right and you will see this barn on the right. This barn is one of the most photographed barns in the United States.

T. A. Moulton BarnT. A. Moulton BarnT. A. Moulton Barn at Grand Teton National Park

T. A. Moulton Barn Facts

The T. A. Moulton Barn is all that remains of the homestead built by Thomas Alma Moulton and his sons between about 1912 and 1945. It sits west of the road known as Mormon Row, in an area called Antelope Flats, between the towns of Kelly and Moose. Now lying within Grand Teton National Park, it is near the homestead of Andy Chambers. The property with the barn was one of the last parcels sold to the National Park Service by the Moulton family. Often photographed (according to Flixter it is the most photographed barn in America), the barn with the Teton Range in the background has become a symbol of Jackson Hole. (Wikipedia)

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/grand-teton-national-park-2017 Fri, 16 Jun 2017 08:52:28 GMT
Common Grackle Baby http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/common-grackle-baby I came across a pair of Common Grackle Babies in my yard while mowing. I think they are Common Grackles, but I'm not 100% sure. Please correct me if I am wrong. I'm not sure where the nest is located. They don't look old enough to be out of the nest yet. We haven't had any high winds lately so I'm not sure what's going on.

When I approached them to photograph, they would open their mouth wanting to be fed. I didn't mow near them and when I checked on them later, I couldn't find them. They may have gone into my neighbor's yard.

An American Robin Fledgling and a Northern Cardinal Fledgling I also photographed in my yard.

Common Grackle BabyCommon Grackle BabyA Baby Common Grackle here in Arkansas

Common Grackle Facts

The breeding habitat is open and semi-open areas across North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The nest is a well-concealed cup in dense trees (particularly pine) or shrubs, usually near water; sometimes, the common grackle will nest in cavities or in man-made structures. It often nests in colonies, some being quite large. Bird houses are also a suitable nesting site. There are four to seven eggs.

Unlike many birds, the grackle benefits from the expansion of human populations due to its resourceful and opportunistic nature. Common grackles are considered a serious threat to crops by some, and notoriously difficult to exterminate and usually require the use of hawks or similar large birds of prey.

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas birds common grackle nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/common-grackle-baby Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:54:57 GMT
Water Snake Swallowing Catfish http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/water-snake-swallowing-catfish I came across this Water Snake back in June of 2009. I was walking near the Arkansas River here in Arkansas when I saw this large water snake coming through the water, to the bank, with a large catfish in its mouth. Once it saw me, it headed back down into the water with its catch. The current was really strong and the fish was really large, and I knew that the snake would have to resurface and return to the bank to feed. Once it got back to the bank there was an added bonus. There was a second snake attached to the other end of the fish. I watched the two snakes fight over the fish for several minutes until finally the larger snake swallowed it whole.

Water Snake Swallowing CatfishWater Snake Swallowing CatfishWater Snake Swallowing Catfish

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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas arkansas river fish snakes http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/water-snake-swallowing-catfish Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:17:15 GMT
Close Encounter With Mule Deer Buck http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/close-encounter-mule-deer-buck Last week while I was at the Grand Teton National Park photographing Phelps Lake which is located in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. I had a young boy to get my attention. He wanted to let me know that a Mule Deer Buck was approaching me. I was able to slowly turn and get a few close photos of this Mule Deer before it moved on toward the lake. I also noticed that another Mule Deer was with this Buck. I think it was a female.

Both Mule Deer fed toward the lake and then turned and went back up a hill into the thick timber. You can see in my photo that this deer is starting to grow new antlers for the season.

Mule Deer BuckMule Deer BuckMule Deer Buck Growing New Antlers

Mule Deer Facts

 

  • The most noticeable differences between white-tailed and mule deer are the size of their ears, the color of their tails, and the configuration of their antlers.
  • The mule deer's tail is black-tipped whereas the whitetail's is not.
  • Mule deer antlers are bifurcated; they "fork" as they grow, rather than branching from a single main beam, as is the case with whitetails.
  • A buck's antlers fall off during the winter, to grow again in preparation for the next season's rut.
  • Mule deer are intermediate feeders rather than pure browsers or grazers; they predominantly browse, but also eat forb vegetation, small amounts of grass, and where available, tree or shrub fruits such as beans, pods, nuts (including acorns, and berries). (Wikipedia)
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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/6/close-encounter-mule-deer-buck Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Brown Thrasher With Beetle For Young http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/5/brown-thrasher-with-beetle-for-young I have watched this Brown Thrasher in my yard for several weeks working hard catching insects. I was finally able to photograph it on the 10th of this month with a large Beetle. After catching the Beetle it flew to the back of my yard into my neighbor’s yard where it, fed it to a Brown Thrasher fledgling. The fledgling was on the ground in a place where I couldn’t get a photo of this feeding. This occurred throughout the day and I was never able to get a photo of this young bird being fed.

Brown Thrasher With BeetleBrown Thrasher With BeetleBrown Thrasher With A Beetle

Note: I have these birds nesting in my neighbor’s yard, which has a small thicket. This is near my house in town and not at my cabin. I see these birds every year. They usually don’t like being around houses so I’m lucky to have them in my yard.

Brown Thrasher Facts

  • Although not in the thrush family, this bird is sometimes erroneously called the brown thrush. The name misconception could be because the word thrasher is believed to derive from the word thrush.
  • The brown thrasher resides in various habitats. It prefers to live in woodland edges, thickets and dense brush, often searching for food in dry leaves on the ground.
  • It can also inhabit areas that are agricultural and near suburban areas, but is less likely to live near housing than other bird species.
  • The brown thrasher is usually an elusive bird, and maintains its evasiveness with low-level flying.
  • Thrashers spend most of their time on ground level or near it. When seen, it is commonly the males that are singing from unadorned branches. (Wikipedia)
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(Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas birds brown thrasher nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/5/brown-thrasher-with-beetle-for-young Wed, 24 May 2017 18:45:00 GMT