The Joy of Spring

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Skunk Cabbage leaves unfolding

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Chippy after a field trip to the bird feeder

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The female flower of a Norway Spruce tree

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Eurasian honeysuckle, an invasive shrub, in full bloom

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A mature doe reaching above my protective fencing to nibble on the new growth of a young apple tree; deer are losing their winter coats and look pretty ragged

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Morels in a maple-hemlock woodlot

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A fat and happy Red Squirrel framed in dandelion seed heads

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Osprey after an incredible 30 meter dive into the shallow water of a large pond

Gone fishing………………………………….

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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The Winter Solstice

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.”     – Gary Zukavteasel16dec168647e5c8x10

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!”             – Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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“Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers.”     – Kahlil Gibran

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“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ― Ruth Stout

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“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”     – John Burroughs

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“When snow falls, nature listens.”     – Antoinette van Kleef

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”            ― John Steinbeck

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“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.”     – John Boswell

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Photos by NB Hunter; taken in Central New York in December, 2016 © All Rights Reserved.

Portraits of a Young Red Squirrel, 2016

Cool, dark days with occasional rain shifted my extracurricular activities from nature photography to firewood and habitat management. Every time I left the house to do something a family of 4 or 5 young red squirrels ran for cover. All but one. I think he viewed my presence as an opportunity rather than a threat: he could gobble up bird seed in the absence of sibling competition.

Needing a break, I got the camera and approached slowly, keeping a low profile. Eventually I was motionless, in a prone position, and he resumed normal activity. Shutter noise aroused his curiosity, but didn’t drive him away. I can now share an intimate, 20-minute peek into the daily life of an adolescent red squirrel!

(PS: the pinkish flowers in the background are Dame’s Rocket, a garden escapee that closely resembles Phlox).

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Wildlife Odds and Ends

I walk often, usually traveling short distances on local trails. Late Spring is a wonderful time to do this because there’s so much going on in the world of wildlife.

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Wildlife populations are approaching their annual peak as new recruits arrive daily!

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Juvenile Red Squirrel

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Goslings

Songbirds are in various stages of nesting: some are building nests, some are sitting on eggs, some are feeding young. Regardless of the species, males can usually be heard singing on the nesting territories.

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Chestnut-sided Warbler above a dense thicket of shrubs and young trees

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Great Crested Flycatcher nesting in a “Bluebird” box (1 of 3)

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Reptiles and amphibians have come alive in the summer-like heat. This American Toad has claimed my compost pile as home.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Current Events: Stubby the Red Squirrel

From a photographer’s point of view, Stubby can be a challenge. He’s difficult to “pattern”: sometimes he’s out of sight for a day or two; sometimes he’s crepuscular, feeding in the dim light of early morning and late evening; sometimes, like today, he’s out in the middle of the yard in the mid-day sun running in circles, from seed to seed. He’s also becoming more adventurous, investigating stone walls, brush piles and other habitats beyond his original cruising radius. In any event, he lives, and life is good.

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Photos by NB Hunter. 30March2016. © All Rights Reserved.

Sunlight and Shadow

From my earliest days fishing mountain streams, I’ve been fascinated by the effects of sunlight and shadow on a scene. Regardless of the goal, catching trout or memories, the manner in which form, color, detail and ultimately perception vary with observer position always gives me pause.

These scenes illustrate my point, explain my passion: sunlit subjects with background snow and evergreen trees in shadow.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.