Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog en-us (C) Steve Creek Wildlife Photography screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:35:00 GMT Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:35:00 GMT http://www.stevecreek.com/img/s11/v31/u878434194-o722419372-50.jpg Steve Creek Wildlife Photography: Blog http://www.stevecreek.com/blog 80 120 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
Twin Whitetail Fawns Eating Together http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/twin-whitetail-fawns-eating-together I photographed these twin Whitetail Fawns eating together back in August of 2009 while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The deer do well at this refuge and you can see several twin fawns most years. My problem is trying to get photos of them together. I was lucky with this photo to be able to see them together and in the open. August is a great time to view the Fawns. The problem with photographing them is the corn, soybeans and other vegetation are high at the refuge so this makes it difficult to even see the deer. Sometimes I will even see triplets, but I haven't been able to get good enough photos of them yet.

I read that "White-tailed Does have a two-horned uterus which allows the bearing of twins quite easily. Each fetus gets its own room so to speak. No fighting and plenty of womb to move around"!

"Whitetail twins are of the fraternal variety. Does ovulate multiple eggs which are then fertilized by different sperm. So while all fawns look alike none of them are actually identical twins even if they do have the same mom. Whitetail twins have about a 20 to 25% chance of not even being fraternal twins! You can read more about this from an article written by Biologist, Jeannine Fleegle on the Penn State website.

In another article I read that "If a doe has twin fawns, she will hide them in different locations. The twins are usually within 25 feet of each other, but sometimes are as far apart as 250 feet." "Twins are typically reunited after three to four weeks".

Whitetail Twin Fawns - 080109-2Whitetail Twin Fawns - 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/twin-whitetail-fawns-eating-together Mon, 14 Aug 2017 08:26:45 GMT
American Lotus Seedpod http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/american-lotus-seedpod Doesn't this American Lotus Seedpod look like a shower head? This year the American Lotus plants are thriving at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I read that the seeds are edible and is known as "alligator corn" or "Cajun peanuts". The hard, flat-topped, cone-shaped fruit contains large brown seeds.

American lotus was an important food source for Native Americans, who dug up the starchy roots with their feet. Young shoots were eaten as greens; the unripe seeds taste like chestnuts and when ripe can be hulled and roasted.

Waterfowl eat the seeds, and large colonies are important nurseries for fish and other aquatic life as well as shelter for ducks. (Source: Missouri Department of Conservation)

The pods are yellow when developing in the center of the flower, green when the petals and sepals fall, and brown as the pod dries and the seeds are dropped. The spent pods are very popular in dry floral arrangements and are available in most flower shops. When the seeds are ready to drop, the pod dips over and the seeds simply fall into the water. (Source: Loyola University New Orleans )

I also read that lotus can be aggressive and dominate most portions of a pond shallower than 7 feet, making boating, fishing, seining and swimming difficult. Abundant stands of lotus can limit more preferred duck food plants such as pondweeds, smartweeds and naiads.

Here is a photo of the American Lotus plants: Coyote Standing In Some American Lotus

American Lotus Seedpod - 073117-1659American Lotus Seedpod - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) american lotus nature oklahoma plants sequoyah national wildlife refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/american-lotus-seedpod Sun, 13 Aug 2017 11:23:44 GMT
Coyote Standing In Some American Lotus http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/coyote-american-lotus I came across this Coyote back in June of 2010 while driving the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I first saw it in an open field just at sunrise. When it saw my pickup it headed for these American Lotus plants that were growing in one of the sloughs. I was able to get several photos before it figured out that it was not hidden as well as it thought it was. After a short time it moved into a wooded area where it disappeared.

I had to do some research and I am guessing that the plants in my photo are of the American Lotus. As always, if I am wrong, please let me know. These plants are numerous at the refuge this summer and I wanted to use this photo to give you an idea about the size of these plants. I read that the American lotus is a perennial plant that is often confused with water lilies.

Coyote and American LotusCoyote and American Lotus - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

American Lotus Facts

  • It grows in lakes and swamps, as well as areas subject to flooding.
  • The petioles of the leaves may extend as much as 6.6 feet and end in a round leaf blade 13–17 inches in diameter.
  • Flowering begins in late spring and may continue into the summer.
  • The native distribution of the species is Minnesota to Florida, Mexico, Honduras, and the Caribbean.
  • It was apparently distributed northwards in the United States by Native Americans who carried the plant with them as a food source.
  • This plant has a large tuber that is used as a food source.
  • The seed is also edible and is known as "alligator corn".
  • Source: Wikipedia
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) american lotus animals coyote nature oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/coyote-american-lotus Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:21:42 GMT
Fowler's Toad Hanging Around My House http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/fowlers-toad I believe that we have two types of Toads here in my area of Arkansas. One is the Dwarf American Toad and the other is the Fowler's Toad. I think the below photo is of a Fowler's Toad. The Fowler's Toad has a white stripe down the middle of its back and the large parotid gland on each side of its head. I don't remember if this one had a stripe, but I think I can make one out in my photo. I read that only the adults have this stripe. I also read that they can be found in pine forests and I have lots of pines in my yard.

I found this Toad yesterday, backed up against my house. When I approached it for a photo, it hopped away and stopped on a gopher mound. I had better light for the photo at this location and took a bunch of photos before it hopped into the grass.

Fowler's Toad - 080817-1560Fowler's Toad - Arkansas

Fowler's Toad Facts

  • It is native to North America, where it occurs in much of the eastern United States and parts of adjacent Canada.
  • This Toad was named for Samuel Page Fowler (1800–1888) from Massachusetts, who was a founder of the Essex County Natural History Society, which later became the Essex Institute.
  • Fowler's Toad is usually brown, grey, olive green and rust red in color with darkened warty spots. If the toad has a pale stripe on its back it is an adult.
  • The belly is usually uniformly whitish except for one dark spot.
  • It uses defensive coloration to blend into its surroundings.
  • It also secretes a noxious compound from the warts on its back. The secretion is distasteful to predators and can be lethal to small mammals.
  • The toad is also known to play dead.
  • It burrows into the ground during hot, dry periods and during the winter.
  • The adult eats insects and other small terrestrial invertebrates, but avoids earthworms.
  • Source: Wikipedia and Herps of Arkansas
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas fowler's toad toads wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/fowlers-toad Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:56:43 GMT
Whitetail Doe With Terrible Growth Near Mouth http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-with-terrible-growth Back in 2009 I photographed this Whitetail Doe with a terrible looking growth near her mouth. This was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I have seen Deer with large growth on their bodies before, but not one like this one. It looks like it could burst at any moment.

I did some research and I discovered that Deer get a common skin disease called Fibromatosis. I'm not sure if this is what this Doe has, but it could be. I also read that Infected deer behave normally unless the location of the fibromas blocks vision or results in other physical impediment to normal activities.

Whitetail Doe With Fibromatosis - 070509-3668Whitetail Doe With Fibromatosis- Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Fibromatosis In Deer Facts

  • Large, warty growths, or fibromas appear as firm, round, nodular, hairless, pigmented skin abnormalities adhered to or incorporated within the skin of deer. 
  • The masses occur most frequently around the eyes, mouth, face, neck, and forelimbs, and may appear as a single mass or numerous growths. 
  • In a survey made in New York state it was found that the incidence of fibromatosis is highest in deer 2.5 years of age and younger, and 5 times higher among bucks than does.
  • Infected deer behave normally unless the location of the fibromas blocks vision or results in other physical impediment to normal activities.
  • Fibromatosis is not an important cause of deer mortality. The disease is not known to infect humans.
  • There is no reason to believe that fibromatosis of deer is infectious to domestic animals.
  • Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer fibromatosis oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/whitetail-doe-with-terrible-growth Tue, 08 Aug 2017 09:34:31 GMT
Fledgling Mourning Dove Walking Around http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/fledgling-mourning-dove-walking-around I spotted a Fledgling Mourning Dove walking around my vehicle yesterday here in my yard. I check around my vehicle before I drive anywhere because over the years I have found several fledgling birds under it. I also have to check around my riding lawn mower for the same reason.

Mourning Doves almost always lay two eggs, so I looked around for a second one, but never found it. This one that I did find was walking around which is unusual. Most of the time when I find one here in my yard it will be well hidden by remaining still. It may have been going to a better spot so that it could be fed by the male Dove. They stay nearby the nest to be fed by the male for up to two weeks after fledging.

I kept my distance from this young dove after getting a few photos. I was able to watch it from inside my house and it finally settled near a large pine tree. I was hoping to see it being fed. At one time I saw it fly up into the pine tree, but it couldn't grab the limb it was going for and landed back on the ground. The landing was terrible and I thought it had injured itself. A few second later it moved out of my view so I guess it was okay.

Mourning Dove Fledgling - 080617-1306Mourning Dove Fledgling Arkansas

Mourning Dove Facts

  • The clutch size is almost always two eggs. Occasionally, however, a female will lay her eggs in the nest of another pair, leading to three or four eggs in the nest.
  • Both sexes incubate, the male from morning to afternoon, and the female the rest of the day and at night.
  • Mourning doves are devoted parents; nests are very rarely left unattended by the adults.
  • When flushed from the nest, an incubating parent may perform a nest-distraction display, or a broken-wing display, fluttering on the ground as if injured, then flying away when the predator approaches it.
  • The hatched young, called squabs, are strongly altricial, being helpless at hatching and covered with down.
  • Both parents feed the squabs pigeon's milk (dove's milk) for the first 3–4 days of life. Thereafter, the crop milk is gradually augmented by seeds.
  • Fledging takes place in about 11–15 days, before the squabs are fully grown but after they are capable of digesting adult food.
  • Source: Wikipedia
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals arkansas birds doves mourning dove nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/fledgling-mourning-dove-walking-around Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:31:54 GMT
U.S. Coast Guard Passing Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/united-states-coast-guard I spotted the United States Coast Guard while I was walking the Sandtown Trail at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I stop and watch barges that travel up and down the Arkansas River all the time when I am in this area. This was my first time seeing the United States Coast Guard. I read that one of their many roles is the maintenance of river, Intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation. According to the glossary of terms in the United States Coast Guard Light list, an Aid to Navigation (ATON) is any device external to a vessel or aircraft specifically intended to assist navigators in determining their position or safe course, or to warn them of dangers or obstructions to navigation.

After doing some research this looks like a Aids to Navigation Boat which are used to maintain aids to navigation. I also discoverd that nearby Sallisaw, Oklahoma is home to a Shoreside Detachment and its small boat unit and is also homeport for the 75ft Class River Buoy Tender USCGC Muskingum (WLR-75402).
 

If you look close at the photo to the middle you can make out a group of people. 

 

United States Coast Guard Boat - 071017-1620United States Coast Guard Boat - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

United States Coast Guard Facts

  • The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission (with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters) and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set.
  • It operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy by the U.S. President at any time, or by the U.S. Congress during times of war.
  • The Coast Guard has roles in maritime homeland security, maritime law enforcement (MLE), search and rescue (SAR), marine environmental protection (MEP), the maintenance of river, intracoastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON).
  • Source: Wikipedia

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas river oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge united states coast guard http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/united-states-coast-guard Sun, 06 Aug 2017 09:15:00 GMT
Mating Cicadas http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/mating-cicadas It is not often you see mating Cicadas because they mainly mate high in the trees. I considered myself lucky to be able to photograph a pair yesterday here in one of my pear trees. I was able to get close and was able to use my small camera (Fujifilm X100T). I'm not sure why the one is flipped on its back, but it did right itself later on.

I think these I have around here are the Dog-day Cicadas and are a species of annual Cicadas.

Here is a photograph of a Cicada I posted back in July from this same pear tree: Cicada On My Pear Tree

 

Mating Cicadas - 080217-1736Mating Cicadas Here In Arkansas

 

Cicada Facts

  • In some species of cicada, the males remain in one location and call to attract females. Sometimes several males aggregate and call in chorus. In other species, the males move from place to place, usually with quieter calls while searching for females.
  • After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig where she deposits her eggs.
  • When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs drop to the ground and burrow.
  • Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives at depths down to about 8 feet.
  • Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. Some species have much longer life cycles, such as the North American genus, Magicicada, which has a number of distinct "broods" that go through either a 17-year or, in some parts of the world, a 13-year life cycle.
  • The long life cycles may have developed as a response to predators, such as the cicada killer wasp and praying mantis.
  • Source: Wikipedia
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas cicadas insects nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/mating-cicadas Thu, 03 Aug 2017 08:11:59 GMT
3 Point Whitetail Buck Up Close http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/3-point-whitetail-buck-up-close Being able to use my vehicle as a mobile blind at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge allows me to get some great close up photos of the wildlife. A 3 Point Whitetail Buck feeds in a soybean field just about the same time every morning. Yesterday morning was a little slow for photographing wildlife, so I headed to the road that takes you to South Sally Jones. The field on the left of this road is called Bakers Field and it is planted in soybeans this year. A Buck and Doe usually show up in this field at around 8:00 in the morning. The road is very narrow, so most of the time I will just park in the road. The deer may look up to check out my vehicle, but will go back to feeding.

Yesterday morning the Doe was crossing the road to enter into the field just as I arrived. I stopped my pickup a couple of hundred yards from her and waited for her to get further into the field. After she got about 25 steps into the soybean field I drove and parked parallel of her. I began photographing her and she would look up once in awhile, but would go right back to eating. (Note: I have been photographing the deer in this location for several weeks)

A short time later the 3 point Buck walked out of the brush and crossed the road behind my pickup heading to the field. He then turned and came right in front of my camera. I took a bunch of photos while he fed on the soybeans. He went further into the field, but a while later he walked back over to my vehicle and I was able to get more up close photos.

I know others have photographed these same deer and I think they are getting accustom to seeing us as long as we stay in our vehicles.

 

3 Point Whitetail Buck - 073117-08003 Point Whitetail Buck - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma 3 Point Whitetail Buck - 073117-11623 Point Whitetail Buck - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

More photos of the Whitetail Deer in this field: Whitetail Doe Jumping Through Soybeans and Whitetail Doe Eating Soybean Leaves

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals buck deer nature oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/8/3-point-whitetail-buck-up-close Tue, 01 Aug 2017 08:55:55 GMT
Young North American River Otter http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/young-north-american-river-otter I made a blog post back on July 6th showing a photo of a North American River Otter mother. I have been able to see her and her three young numerous times while visiting the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This young Otter is not so small anymore. It crossed my path to catch up to her Mom. I knew where it was going to cross into an open area and I was ready to get a quick photo.

It is getting difficult to see the Otters this time of year because the vegetation has grown so high. I noticed that they have been traveling through the Upper and Lower Scarborough and crossing the road sometimes into Sally Jones East.

North American River Otter - 062817-8382North American River Otter - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

North American River Otter Facts

  • The range of the North American river otter has been significantly reduced by habitat loss.
  • River otters are very susceptible to the effects of environmental pollution, which is a likely factor in the continued decline of their numbers.
  • A number of reintroduction projects have been initiated to help stabilize the reduction in the overall population.
  • They have long bodies, and long whiskers that are used to detect prey in dark waters.
  • An average adult male weighs about 25 pounds against the female's average of 18 pounds.
  • About one-third of the animal's total length consists of a long, tapered tail.
  • The right lung of the river otter is larger than the left, having four lobes compared with two for the left. Reduced lobulation of the lungs is presumed to be adaptive for underwater swimming.
  • The otters may leave the den by eight weeks and are capable of sustaining themselves upon the arrival of fall, but they usually stay with their families, which sometimes include the father, until the following spring.
  • Prior to the arrival of the next litter, the otter yearlings venture out in search of their own home ranges.
  • Source: Wikipedia
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals north american river otter oklahoma otter sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/young-north-american-river-otter Mon, 31 Jul 2017 08:07:37 GMT
Fawn Infested With Ticks Around Ears http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/fawn-infested-with-ticks-around-ears I showed you a photo I took of a Doe Sticking Tongue In Fawns Ear yesterday. Todays photo is a closeup of a Whitetail Fawn with lots of ticks around each ear. This will give you an idea of what these poor deer go through with the ticks at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The deer spend lots of time grooming each other and this helps with tick removal. I noticed the edges of the ears are the worst. I think this is because it is more difficult to get to those ticks during grooming, but they seem to eventually get it done.

According to The Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases in the Southeastern United States, a comprehensive guide published by SCWDS, “…heavy infestations of ticks may produce fawn mortality up to a reported estimate of 30 percent.” (Source: QDMA)

I always thought that regular burning of an area would reduce the tick population. Studies show fire can certainly reduce tick abundance, but it seems the parasites will quickly rebound. (Source: QDMA)

Here is a blog post with a photo of a Whitetail Buck that has ticks on its velvet antlers: Whitetail Deer With Ticks On Antlers

Whitetail Fawn With Ticks Around EarsWhitetail Fawn With Ticks Around Ears - 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/2017/7/fawn-infested-with-ticks-around-ears Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:58:35 GMT
Doe Sticking Tongue In Fawns Ear http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/doe-sticking-tongue-in-fawns-ear I guess a Whitetail Doe sticking her tongue in her Fawns ear is one way to keep it clean. The Deer Fawns at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma need the extra attention this time of year because of the ticks. The Deer will keep the ticks picked off of each other during grooming. The ticks have always been terrible at this refuge. I have been watching the deer at my place near the Ouachita National Forest and they don't even come close to having the same amount of ticks. I will post a photo tomorrow of a Fawn with lots of ticks around the outer edge of its ear.

Doe Grooming FawnDoe Grooming Fawn Whitetail Doe and Fawn | Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge | Oklahoma

Social Grooming Among Animals

  • Grooming is a major social activity, and a means by which animals who live in close proximity may bond and reinforce social structures, family links, or build relationships.
  • Social grooming behavior has been shown to elicit an array of health benefits in a variety of species.  For example, group member connection has the potential to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of stressors.
  • Grooming has also been shown to play an integral role in reducing tick load in wild baboons. These ectoparasitic ticks carry the potential to act as vectors for the spreading of disease and infection by common tick-borne parasites such as haemoprotozoan. Baboons with lower tick loads show decreased occurrence of such infections and display signs of greater health status, evidenced by higher hematocrit (packed red cell volume) levels.
  • There exists a wide array of socially grooming animals throughout the kingdom, including primates, insects, birds, and bats.
  • Source: Wikipedia
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals deer doe fawn oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge whitetail wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/doe-sticking-tongue-in-fawns-ear Wed, 26 Jul 2017 09:08:06 GMT
Western Slender Glass Lizard http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/western-slender-glass-lizard A couple of young girls and a dog had this Western Slender Glass Lizard spotted on the Sandtown Trail located at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. When I walked up on them, I saw that they were excited about something on the asphalt  trail. They asked me if I knew what this Western Slender Glass Lizard was and at the time I had no idea. I waited for the girls to continue on the trail and then I took a few photos before it went into the tall weeds. When I got home, I did some research and discover what this lizard was. I read that they are common in this area, but this was the first time for me to see one in all the years I have been hiking outdoors.

Note: This took place back in 2010 and I have not seen one since.

 

Western Slender Glass LizardWestern Slender Glass LizardWestern Slender Glass Lizard - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Western Slender Glass Lizard Up CloseWestern Slender Glass Lizard Up CloseWestern Slender Glass Lizard - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Western Slender Glass Lizard Facts

  • Two subspecies are recognized: The Western and Eastern Slender Glass Lizard
  • Unlike snakes, they have eyelids and ears.
  • They can attain a total length (including tail) of up to 40 inches.
  • Slender glass lizards are diurnal, so they are quite often seen, but they can move fast (with a serpentine movement like that of a snake).
  • If captured, a specimen may thrash vigorously, causing part of the tail to fall off in one or more pieces.
  • While a potential predator is distracted by the wiggling tail, the lizard quickly escapes.
  • They sleep in burrows borrowed from other animals, and in the northern reaches of their range, slender glass lizards will use those burrows to hibernate through the winter.
  • They eat a range of insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, and will also consume spiders, small mice, snails, and the eggs of other reptiles and ground-nesting birds.
  • Unlike snakes, glass lizards do not have flexible jaws, and this limits the size of prey items they can consume. (Source: Wikipedia)
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals lizard oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge western slender glass lizard wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/western-slender-glass-lizard Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:33:04 GMT
National Moth Week 2017 http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/national-moth-week-july-2017 I received an email informing me that this week is National Moth Week (July 22–30, 2017). I was going to dig through my photos to find a moth to post, but yesterday I found a nice one in my yard. This is what I believe to be a Achemon Sphinx Moth. It was close to some honeysuckles that hangs on my fence from my neighbor's yard. I read that they like sipping nectar from honeysuckles. I also read that these moths are nocturnal, so I guess it was meant for me to find this one to photograph and share for National Moth Week.

Note: I noticed that the National Moth Week website is down. Maybe they will have it back up soon.

 

Achemon Sphinx MothAchemon Sphinx Moth Achemon Sphinx Moth - Arkansas

 

Achemon Sphinx Moth Facts

  • The Achemon Sphinx is a large, heavy-bodied moth with a wing span of about 3 to 4 inches.
  • Adults may emerge in June, but are most common during July at which time eggs are laid on host plants.
  • Caterpillars are similar in shape to the commonly encountered tomato hornworm.
  • Larvae are of three forms: light green, reddish orange, and tan to brown.
  • It is one of three main pollinators of the rare orchid Platanthera praeclara.
  • Source: Wikipedia

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) achemon sphinx moth arkansas eumorpha achemon moths national moth week http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/national-moth-week-july-2017 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:40:16 GMT
Cicada On My Pear Tree http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/cicada-pear-tree Yesterday evening I found a Cicada on the trunk of my pear tree. It was low to the ground so I went and got my camera to get a few photos of it. It stayed in the same spot for a few minutes and then it climbed higher into the tree.

The Cicadas have been noisy the past few days here in my yard since the temperature has been in the high 90's. They start emerging around here about midsummer.

 

Cicada On My Pear TreeCicada On My Pear Tree Cicada - Arkansas

 

Cicada Facts

  • Male cicadas have a noisemaker called a tymbal below each side of the anterior abdominal region.
  • The tymbals are structures of the exoskeleton formed into complex membranes with thin, membranous portions and thickened ribs.
  • Contraction of internal muscles buckles the tymbals inwards, thereby producing a click; on relaxation of the muscles, the tymbals return to their original position, producing another click.
  • The male abdomen is largely hollow, and acts as a sound box.
  • By rapidly vibrating these membranes, a cicada combines the clicks into apparently continuous notes, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae serve as resonance chambers with which it amplifies the sound.
  • Partly by the pattern in which it combines the clicks, each species produces its own distinctive mating songs and acoustic signals, ensuring that the song attracts only appropriate mates. (Wikipedia)
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) arkansas cicada insects nature wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/cicada-pear-tree Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:26:13 GMT
Indigo Bunting | Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/indigo-bunting-sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge Like the Painted Bunting I wrote about yesterday, the Indigo Bunting is another difficult bird for me to photograph. I see them all the time in the summer while driving around at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. I will see them in the roadway in front of my pickup and when I get close they will fly into the thick brush. I do get lucky sometimes and can get a clear photo of one. I like the below photo of the male Indigo Bunting because it will give you an idea of its size and where they like to stay.

 

Male Indigo Bunting Male Indigo Bunting At Sequoyah National Wildlife RefugeMale Indigo Bunting - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Indigo Bunting Facts

  • The habitat of the Indigo Bunting is brushy forest edges, open deciduous woods, second growth woodland, and farmland.
  • The Indigo Bunting forages for food on the ground or in trees or shrubs.
  •  In winter, it often feeds in flocks with other Indigo Buntings, but is a solitary feeder during the breeding season.
  • During the breeding season, the species eats insects, seeds and berries, including caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, beetles, and grass seeds.
  • The seeds of grasses are the mainstay of its diet during the winter, although buds, and insects are eaten when available.
  • The young are fed mainly insects at first, to provide them with protein.
  • The Indigo Bunting does not drink frequently, generally obtaining sufficient water from its diet. (Wikipedia)
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) birds indigo bunting nature oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/indigo-bunting-sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:05:40 GMT
Painted Bunting At Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/painted-bunting-at-sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge The Painted Buntings are easy to find at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, but are difficult for me to photograph. Most of the time I will see them on the road in front of my vehicle. They will even let me get close if I stay in my vehicle, but I can't photograph them if they are directly in front of my pickup. When they fly it seems like they will land in a spot that is thick with cover and I am not able to get a photo I like.

I have been taking hundreds of photos of these birds this summer and the photo below is the best I can do so far. I will keep trying and hopefully I will photograph one on a perch that I like.

 

Painted Bunting - 070217-9126Painted Bunting - 070217-9126Painted Bunting - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Painted Bunting Facts

  • The bright plumage of the male only comes in the second year of life; in the first year they can only be distinguished from the female by close inspection.
  • Its colors, dark blue head, green back, red rump, and underparts, make it extremely easy to identify, but it can still be difficult to spot since it often skulks in foliage even when it is singing.
  • It is found in thickets, woodland edges with riparian thickets, shrubbery and brushy areas.
  • It is often found along roadsides and in suburban areas, and in gardens with dense, shrubby vegetation.
  • Painted Buntings are shy, secretive and often difficult to observe for the human eye, though can be fairly approachable where habituated to bird feeders.
  • Painted buntings often feed by hopping along the ground, cautiously stopping every few moments to look around. (Wikipedia)
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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) birds oklahoma painted bunting sequoyah national wildlife refuge http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/painted-bunting-at-sequoyah-national-wildlife-refuge Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:23:07 GMT
Coyote Wading A Slough http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/coyote-wading-a-slough Three years ago I was sitting on the Phillip Parks Memorial Fishing Pier at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge when I saw two Coyotes wading in Reeves Slough. One of the Coyotes left the water and went into the tall weeds. The other continued walking the edge of the slough in front of me. I have watched Coyotes hunting together like this before. Years ago I saw a pair walking the banks of a creek. Each Coyote was on a different side of the creek. I read that when hunting large prey, the coyote often works in pairs or small groups.

The Coyote I was photographing in the water kept looking at my pickup which was parked near the pier. I don't think it ever saw me on the pier. It continued down the edge of the slough until it was out of sight. It stopped and looked into the tall weeds several times before disappearing out of sight.

Coyote - 072814-9288Coyote - 072814-9288Coyote - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

 

Coyote Facts

  • Like other canids, the coyote caches excess food.
  • Coyotes catch mouse-sized rodents by pouncing, whereas ground squirrels are chased.
  • Although coyotes can live in large groups, small prey is typically caught singly.
  • Coyotes sometimes urinate on their food, possibly to claim ownership over it.
  • Coyotes may occasionally form mutualistic hunting relationships with American badgers, assisting each other in digging up rodent prey. The relationship between the two species may occasionally border on apparent "friendship", as some coyotes have been observed laying their heads on their badger companions or licking their faces without protest. (Wikipedia)

 

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screek@gmail.com (Steve Creek Wildlife Photography) animals coyote nature oklahoma sequoyah national wildlife refuge wildlife http://www.stevecreek.com/blog/2017/7/coyote-wading-a-slough Mon, 17 Jul 2017 08:44:12 GMT