Tag Archives: Wildlife

Bet You Never Expected To Find This At Home Depot!

Most people walk into Home Depot looking for things like tools, lumber, gardening supplies, and bathroom or kitchen fixtures.  They don’t walk into Home Depot looking for a duck.  That’s right.  I said duck.

Yet that’s exactly what I did.

This past Wednesday (June 1st) I sat down at 6pm to watch the local evening news.  Amidst all the stories of the devastation caused by tornadoes in the South (and one in Massachusetts), car accidents, arrests, etc. there was one story that caught my attention.

The Hope Depot Duck.

It seemed as though a female duck wandered into the Home Depot in Bangor, Maine (for the second year in a row) and set up shop right smack in the middle of the store’s Garden Center.  She picked a nice spot on a waist high shelf among some potted flowers, built herself a nice cozy little nest, and laid her eggs.

The Bangor news crew interviewed one of the women that worked in the Garden Center and she said that not only was this was the second time the duck has done this, but she didn’t seem bothered by the noise of the cars outside, the equipment, or the people inside the store.  She just went about her business like nothing was out of the ordinary.

Employees in the store have made signs asking customers not to disturb their resident duck and even went as far as to run yellow caution tape around the area the duck is residing in.

Now, even though I saw this story on the news and saw the video recorded from the scene, I had to see it for myself.  So, the following day, my mother and I hopped into the car and drove the 90 miles from our house to Bangor.  90 miles just to see a duck in the Home Depot Garden Center.

What?  People have traveled greater distances for stranger reasons!

Upon arriving at Home Depot I went straight to the Garden Center.  After all, I was there to see the duck not shop for lumber!

I rounded a corner and spotted the yellow tape that marked the duck’s nesting area.  And true to the news report, it was smack in the middle of the Garden Center.  At first I couldn’t see the duck because she had piled so much hay around herself to make her nest but then I saw her move and I couldn’t believe it.  There was actually a duck nesting in the Garden Center.  Not only that but like the news report said, she actually didn’t seem bothered by anyone or anything around her.  She was just going about her daily business, fluffing the nest, checking on her eggs, and doing what ducks normally do when they‘re nesting.

Of course I had my camera with me (what good photographer doesn‘t?!).  I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.  I clicked off a few frames (you can see one here, and another here) before my actions drew the attention of  a few other people who didn’t know anything about the duck and had come there to actually shop.  I even had a woman run up beside me and ask what was going on before she noticed the duck on her own and immediately pulled out her cell phone to snap a few pictures saying “Oh my God, that‘s so cute!”.

It may have been a long trip for something some may deem trivial, but to me, it was worth it.

It just goes to show you that there can be peace and tranquility, new life in the midst of chaos, whether it be in the world or in the Garden Center of your local Home Depot.

Until next time.

Keep your eyes open, folks.  You never know what you may find!




Wildlife Sightings Are Awesome!!


The biggest April Fools joke that was played on me today came from Mother Nature.  After spring had taken the stage, winter decided to come back for an encore.  Here in Downeast Maine, we had no snow on the ground yesterday and today, we have about a foot.  So, while everyone else out there is pelting you fine folks with April Fools jokes and pranks (Mother Nature included in some areas of the country), I’ve decided to be nice and update you on my most recent wildlife encounters!

This past Wednesday (March 30, 2011 for those of you not following closely) I went on a nice hike with my parents in Milbridge Maine.  We went to the Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge to be exact.  Now, usually, when it’s just me and my mother hiking this particular trail, we spot animal tracks but never any animals beyond small birds.  My father must be our wildlife good luck charm because this was the first time he hiked this trail with us and we had two awesome encounters with wildlife.

First, halfway through our hike, we were at a portion of the trail that runs along the water.  Just a few yards away is a small island, and I mean small.  While looking around and basking in the relatively nice weather, we spotted a rather large bird taking off from the tree tops on the little island.  While watching the bird we came to realize that it was a Bald Eagle.  I, personally, had never seen one that close before.  As I was busy taking a photo of the eagle, I heard my mother say “There’s another one!”  And when I looked up, there was indeed a second eagle taking off.  Putting two and two together, we concluded that there had to be a nest somewhere in the trees.  Smart, huh?  [^_^]

Now, for those of you that don’t know, my father was really the one that got me interested in photography in the first place.  So when we go out on these little hikes/walks/day trips we take photos together.  However, more often than not, these little photo outings of ours tend to turn into competitions as to who got the better shot.  It’s all in good fun (though I tend to win!  My father blames it on me having the better camera.  [^_^]).

So, my father and I both took several photos of the eagles as they flew back and forth from their nest on the island to wherever they were going to find food.  I didn’t see his photos on the computer screen but the shots he took looked pretty decent on his camera’s screen.  Mine came out decent as well, though I know I could have done better.  You can see one of my photos here.

Now, the Bald Eagle sighting was awesome.  I was still stoked from the sighting as we headed back down the trail toward the parking lot.  While walking along, I heard something rustling in the brush off to my left.  I stopped and looked expecting to see a deer or perhaps a raccoon running off, but instead I saw something climbing a tree that gave me a little moment of shock.  At first, I thought it was a bear cub, and as everyone knows, where there’s a baby, there’s usually a mom close behind.  But after the split second of mistaken identity, I realized I was watching a chubby porcupine waddle up the tree.

I’ve seen porcupines waddling across the road or traipsing through my yard in the evenings but I had never seen one in bright daylight climbing a tree like that.  It even stopped half way up the tree and looked at us.  Again, my father and I started our little “I-can-get-the-better-shot” competition.  And again, I didn’t see his shots on the computer screen so I can’t attest to how well he did.  Come to think of it, I didn’t see any of his shots of the porcupine at all.  Hmm.

You can see my photograph of the porcupine here.

The day didn’t end there.  Before heading home for the day, my parents and I went to the beach.  Though it was cool, it was nice.  My mother and I went hunting for beach glass while my father wandered off and tried his hand at digging up a clam or two.  Just before we were getting ready to leave, I knelt down, dug with my bare hand, and brought up two clams that made the six my father found look like infants.  Yeah, I’m awesome.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take photos of the clams I found compared to his so you’ll just have to take my word on this one! [-_^]

I hope everyone’s having a fun and safe April Fools Day.  Hopefully no one has suffered any mental or physical injury from any bad pranks.

Until next time folks…

Keep on rockin’ on.



Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post but I have to tell you folks, I love the Petite Manan Wildlife Refuge. The two main trails there are amazing.

I went there yesterday, since it’s the safest place to hike during what is now hunting season.

Tell me, how much sense does it make that people can hunt in state parks? I mean, the rest of the forests in Maine aren’t enough? What about people like me that like to hike in the fall? Supposedly we still can though, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel safe walking trails in the woods knowing there are people around with firearms looking to shoot something. And before anyone jumps on me about all this, yes I wear bright colors (which was difficult in itself for me because my wardrobe is nearly totally black), and yes I announce my presence with noise/coughs/talking to my hiking companion/etc through out the hikes on trails in state parks where hunting is allowed. You’d think that if hunting is allowed in certain areas the park rangers would put up signs either prohibiting hikers from trails during hunting season or, at the very least, warning people that hunting is allowed. I didn’t know you could hunt in state parks until I looked it up online.

I don’t think it’s right, myself. I guess it’s just because I’m against hunting. Not hunters, mind you, that’s their choice (their misguided choice in my opinion, but still their choice). It’s just the act of shooting a defenseless animal that I’m against. People say it’s for population control but when you stop and think about it, what right do we really have to “control” any population when we can’t even control our own?

Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be a rant on my beliefs about what I think is right and wrong so I’ll reign it in and get back to my original topic.

Where was I?…

Oh yes…

Yesterday I went to the Petite Manan Wildlife Refuge (where hunting is prohibited) and spent the day on the trails.

I started off on the John Walker Hollingsworth, JR. Trail. This trail winds out to a point with an awesome view of the Petite Manan Lighthouse (I posted a picture of that in a post a while back).

While on this trail, I took a picture, well, several pictures, of this squirrel that was showing off in a tree close by me. I tried out the spiffy ten shot per second burst rate on my new camera. That’s pretty good for catching subjects in motion. But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the squirrel when it looked directly at me. It waited until my camera was recording and processing the images. By the time the camera was done and I had lifted it to take a few more pictures, the squirrel had taken off.

Camera: Sony HX1, Focal Length: 99mm, F-Stop: 5, Shutter Speed: 1/160, ISO: 160

A little while later, maybe about a quarter of a mile further down the trail, I came across another squirrel, or it could have been the same one, I’m not sure. At first I thought something was in the grass moving around but as I got closer I could see little pine cones falling from a tree. I looked up and saw the squirrel nibbling on them then tossing them over the branch it was sitting on. The little bugger looked down at me, sat for a second staring at me, then tossed a pine cone at me. And the damn thing hit me! I laughed, told the squirrel it won, and that I was leaving. I then headed out to the end of the trail.

What I really want to catch a picture of on one of my hikes is either a deer or a moose. But, where it’s getting into hunting season I’m sure they’re all avoiding these well traveled trails.

I think maybe I’m going to take up snowshoeing this winter. I’m sure I’ll get some nice pictures then.

I have other stories about other trails and other pictures to share, but I think I’ll save those for later.

Until next time folks…

Keep on rockin’ on.



Back In The Saddle

Here I am, to rock you like a…um…well, I probably shouldn‘t finish that, my luck I’d probably get sued or something for copyright infringement for using the lyric, so I’ll just say I’m here to rock you.  Deal?

Ok, deal.

I’m not sure how many of you will consider this rock worthy, but I’ll continue anyway.

For those that were unaware, my birthday was yesterday.  Woo  (That was sarcasm there folks).  Just another day out of the calendar year.  Nothing important.

Anyway, yesterday I went hiking.  It was the definition of a “crisp fall day.”  Cold yet nice.  I climbed Pigeon Hill in Steuben and got a few decent panoramic photos (my little Sony HX1 can do some amazing things!).

After returning from Pigeon Hill I went on to the Birch Point Trail in the Petite Manan Wildlife Refuge.  I’m a bit bummed because the foliage around here kind of sucked.  We didn’t get the bright vivid colors I was hoping for.  It was basically a tree turning a sickly shade of yellow here, another a bland red there, then bam…all the leaves fall.

Today I went hiking yet again.  This time closer to home.  I had started down the hiking trail of Roque Bluff’s State Park earlier in the year, around August or something but the bugs were out so thick that I had to turn back.  Today, I got to experience the trails, bug free.  And I must say, I’m impressed with them.  More so than I thought I would be.

I managed to get some very interesting pictures while I was there.

Let me set the scene for you.

I was walking down the trail, searching for wildlife (we all know how elusive animals can be when you’re looking for them), and any kind of tree in full fall bloom, when I heard the unmistakable chatter of a squirrel right over my head.  I looked up to see this plump little rust colored squirrel on a branch maybe two feet above my head.  It just sat there, staring at me and chattering its little head off.  I managed to get a picture before it ran off to warn its friends of my approach.

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 100mm, F-Stop: 5.2, Shutter Speed: 1/100, ISO: 125

Now, I just love how the lighting worked out in this photo.  A lot of people would disagree and say it was a bad shot, but I think it gives it a unique and neat quality.  I tried to sound all artsy and technical right there.  FAIL.

Moving on…

I managed to get another interesting picture while I was on this trail.  After I escaped the squirrel citadel, I came upon a portion of the trail that brought me up to the water’s edge.  The tide was out so there were a bunch of various types of birds frolicking about searching for fish.  I just happened to look in the right place at the right time and saw a bird I had never seen before.  I’m told, from a lady I passed on the trail, that it’s a heron.  If anyone disagrees with that, let me know cause I’m no bird expert.

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 100mm, F-Stop: 5.2, Shutter Speed: 1/320, ISO: 125

Not to sound conceited or anything, but I timed that pretty damn good to have the bird looking almost directly at me.

Now, on my way back out of this trail, I stopped and took a few random shots of some leaves that were still hanging on, and probably the only tree that was still in semi-decent fall bloom.

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 100mm, F-Stop: 5.2, Shutter Speed: 1/160, ISO: 200

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 100mm, F-Stop: 5.2, Shutter Speed: 1/160, ISO: 160

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 5mm, F-Stop: 8, Shutter Speed: 1/50, ISO: 125

Camera: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1, Focal Length: 100mm, F-Stop: 5.2, Shutter Speed: 1/100, ISO: 125

If it’s a nice day tomorrow, I plan to head out for a third day’s hike.  Back to my favorite place, Quoddy Head State Park.

For now, that’s my update.

I’m back in the saddle folks.  The hike is on!  It’s just too bad it’s getting so late in the year.  I could use some more nice warm days before the bitter winter stakes its claim.

Keep on rockin’ on.



Holy Double Hike, Batman!

Ok, go ahead and say it….I’m a slacker….

It’s true, at least in part.

I wish I had some profound and valid excuse for not updating this regularly, but alas, I don’t. I just simply haven’t been doing much in the way of getting out and taking pictures.

Recently some things have interrupted the usual flow of my daily routine. I’m not trying to sound melodramatic here cause not all said “things” are really bad. My brother’s birthday was last week so of course I attended that shindig…Yes, I said shindig. Then I used some downtime to work on a gift I’m going to give one of my professors for Halloween this year. That reminds me, I can’t forget to make one
of the crucial pieces in the next two weeks. For the bad part, I’ve been struggling with a music download I purchased…A HUGE download. 280MB. Yeah. But luckily I was able to get in touch with the man that is responsible for the file and he was nice enough to break it into pieces for me. I’m still in the process of downloading said pieces (they’re still hefty files).

So now, with my pathetic attempt at explaining my lack of updating, I’ll get to the actual update. Yay? YAY!
I’ve grown just a bit bored with the beach near my house. I’ve been taking pictures of that place almost constantly since I moved here (and that was about 6 years ago) and until recently we had nowhere else to go. Now, as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts my mother and I have taken up hiking. In taking up said hobby, we’ve found some new places around here with some rather nice trails.

For example, Tuesday we went to the Bold Coast Trails in Cutler. We followed the shortest of the trails just to see what it was like since it was our first time visiting the place. We were pleasantly surprised. The trails were marked well, and they weren’t too strenuous. At the end of the coastal trail we were on, there was an overlook point. Out on a rocky ledge we got a clear view of Grand Manan (Canada). There were fishing boats zooming back and forth checking traps. But what really stunned and excited me was the seal sighting. I’ve seen one seal in real life before about seven years ago so to see this one, and have my camera all ready was pretty awesome.

Isn’t it cute!? I just wish it had been swimming toward me instead of away.

(Camera: Sony A100. Focal length: 500mm. F-Stop: 6.3. Shutter Speed: 1/500. ISO: 200)

After the little seal showed off for a bit, it decided it had had enough and swam away. At that point we had decided we had had enough so we hiked back. After that, we went to Quoddy, had some lunch, then hiked out to Green Point. I got some more pictures of the rock formations people make there. I’m thinking I could do my gallery show (whenever my professor gets back to me about it) just on the rock stacks at Green Point. Interesting notion, no? I’ll have to explore that further.

Anyway, yesterday, we went out yet again.

That’s right….Two days in a row.

This time we went back to Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge in Steuben. We hiked the Shore Trail again and I got a better picture of the lighthouse where I had my biggest lens with me.

(Camera: Sony A100. Focal length: 500mm. F-Stop: 22. Shutter Speed: 1/100. ISO: 100)

After we got back from the Shore Trail and had our lunch we set off to explore the Birch Point Trail. I was impressed with the quality of this trail. Granted there were a few muddy and marshy areas but that was to be expected since it was on the coast, in the woods, and after all the rain we had a while back.

The four mile loop was a really non strenuous hike which I was glad about (I’m still not in the best of shape). I managed to get a few ok shots of the water at different points but the big thing that happened was my discovery of a feather among the rocks on the beach. It wasn’t any seagull feather mind you, this thing is huge. It’s over a foot long. I’m not sure exactly what kind of feather it is but I’m thinking it’s either an Eagle or an Osprey feather. It’s cool regardless.

So in total, over the past two days, my mother and I hiked about 8 or 9 miles. And we’re planning to go back out again tomorrow, not sure where yet though. I just hope my arthritis doesn’t start acting up. Yes folks, I have arthritis. 25 and I have arthritis. Not the debilitating kind that requires constant medication but enough to cause discomfort when it acts up. Not fun. Not fun at all.

Well, I guess that’s all for now folks.

Take it easy.