Sally Jones West Causeway

Today's photo is in the area of the Sally Jones West Causeway at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

This area is on the northwest section of the tour road and I am facing north.

I have seen lots of birds in this area over the years. I had a photo published by National Geographic that I took in this area. It was of a Red-winged Blackbird feeding her young. The nest was in the reeds and I was able to park on the road and shoot from my pickup.

I also had a big scare in this same area that caused me to fall over and roll down this causeway. Several years ago I spotted a skunk walking toward me down the road so I got out of my pickup to get an eye level shot. I was getting a lot of shots of the skunk walking toward me when I felt something touch my back. When I looked to see what touched me I saw another skunk. I tried to jump up and get away before it could spray me but I lost my footing and rolled down the causeway. This caused both skunks to jump and raise their tails. Neither one sprayed so I got lucky. I am glad no one else was around to see this.

Sally Jones West Causeway - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Sally Jones West Causeway - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - Sally Jones West Causeway

I was using my FUJIFILM X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera with an 18-55mm Lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/450 of a second at f8 and the ISO at 160. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, single shot auto-focus with multi metering. I had the camera resting on a beanbag.



Green Anole On A Warm February Day

I photographed this Green Anole back in February of 2016 on a warm day. We have had some warm days these past few weeks and I have seen a Fence Lizard but not a Green Anole. Once the temperature gets up to 70 degrees they should start appearing.

Green Anole - Arkansas

Green Anole - Arkansas

I have a cabin that borders the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas and I have lots of Lizards on my place. The Green Anoles are fun to photograph and will let you get close to them.

The Green Anole in my photo is brown but it can change to a bright green color. The Anole changes its color depending on mood, level of stress, activity level and as a social signal. The typical coloration ranges from the richest and brightest of greens to the darkest of browns, with little variation between.

I like having them around my cabin, not only to photograph but to eat the flies. They will eat crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and flies.

How I Got The Shot - Green Anole

I found this Anole by walking around my property with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting without a tripod. I was shooting in aperture priority mode  (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second at f6.3 and the ISO at 500. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous  autofocus with evaluative metering.

Great Blue Heron Catching Shad On A Windy Day

I photographed this Great Blue Heron catching shad yesterday at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was a windy day and I think this had the shad pushed into this shallow cove. This Great Blue Heron was taking advantage of the wind and was catching lots of shad.

I usually don't see Herons in this location on windy days. They like being in the calmer backwaters.

The wind and the waves were not bothering this Great Blue Heron at all. I was able to photograph it catching three shad. It would have been four but it missed one.

A loud vehicle drove by and scared the Heron and it flew away.

I tried to research how much these birds eat in a day and couldn't find anything on Google.

Here are a few facts I did discover:

  • Herons spend approximately 90 percent of their waking hours stalking for food.

  • Great blue herons will hunt both during the day and the night. They have adapted eyes which help them to see in the dark.

Great Blue Heron With Shad

Great Blue Heron With Shad

Great Blue Heron With A Shad

Great Blue Heron With A Shad

Great Blue Heron Eating Shad

Great Blue Heron Eating Shad

How I Got The Shot - Great Blue Heron

I spotted this bird in an area to the west of Tuff Boat Ramp. This is a part of Kerr Reservoir which is the Arkansas River. I slowly drove toward the Heron watching the birds reaction. Most of the time I can tell when a Great Blue Heron is fixing to fly and I will stop my approach and let the bird settle down. I only had to do this once before I got in a good position.

I was using my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting from the window of my pickup with my camera resting on a beanbag. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 800. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering. It was a cloudy day so I added a stop of exposure compensation.

Arkansas Quartz Crystal

I came across this Quartz Crystal while hiking the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas.

I know tourist will pay money for something like this but I did leave it where I found it.

A friend that lives in the area that knows about crystals told me that finding this on top of the ground is not common.

I read on the Arkansas.com website that the ancient Ouachita Mountain area of Arkansas was considered a mystical location by Native American tribes. The hot springs in the "Valley of the Vapors," now the city of Hot Springs, was considered a place of peace for even warring Native American tribes. The beautiful Arkansas quartz crystals of the Ouachitas were believed to have sacred and spiritual significance.

I also read that Geologists say that Arkansas and Brazil have the best quality quartz on Earth, and today rockhounds, families and tourists from all over the world head for the Hot Springs and Mount Ida area to go prospecting in the abundant quartz crystal deposits of the Ouachita Mountains in hopes of finding these unique clear, prismatic stones.

Arkansas Quartz Crystals

Arkansas Quartz Crystals

Trumpeter Swan at Boxley Mill Pond

I photographed this Trumpeter Swan at Boxley Mill Pond. This Pond is near Buffalo National River here in Arkansas. This was back in January of 2009. This Swan had several bands on its neck and legs so it was difficult to get a photo without the bands.

Trumpeter swans were released at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge along the Arkansas River, a few miles downstream from Dardanelle and in the Boxley Valley area of the Buffalo River in northcentral Arkansas. The hope is these young swans will return to both areas in winter and, within a few years, bring their families. (Source: AGFC)

Trumpeter Swan - Boxley Mill Pond - Buffalo National River - Arkansas

Trumpeter Swan - Boxley Mill Pond - Buffalo National River - Arkansas

How I Got The Shot - Trumpeter Swan

I was using a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second at f6.3 and the ISO at 500. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.

Elk Calf At Buffalo National River

Back in February of 2009, I was at the Buffalo National River here in Arkansas photographing Elk. I spotted an Elk calf standing in a field by itself. I was able to get behind some trees in front of this calf. It walked toward me and I was able to get several photos before it heard or saw me and stopped. I left so as not to stress the calf. I never did see any Elk around this calf.

Elk Calf - Buffalo National River - Arkansas

Elk Calf - Buffalo National River - Arkansas

How I Got The Shot - Elk Calf

I was using a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second at f4 and the ISO at 800. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.