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Failed attempt but pretty

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These little black aphids are feeding on our nasturtiums. I was aiming to get a good sharp view of them and ended up with something softer and more impressionistic.

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Feeding babies to the babies

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A common grackle caught and killed a fledgling house sparrow, brought it to our yard to dismember and feed it to its own chick.

More venting, sorry

I posted to facebook saying I need to express my rage and grief but that I didn't want to pollute my friends' social media pages.

so here I goCollapse )

Four views of an orchard orbweaver

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She's eating something! (probably a small fly that got trapped in her web)

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Leucauge venusta are super common around suburban yards, but so beautiful they deserve a close look.

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Green, yellow, black, orange, silver...
They are adapted to forest edges, a habitat that humans replicate throughout our parks, yards, and gardens.

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They make wonderful neighbors, hanging around the edges of trees and shrubs, taking extra flying insects (there are always extras).
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First, right up against the back of the house next to our compost, the magic guardian of the compost. Only the bravest and cleverest of mice may get by the guardian. This was the third time I saw it in the course of the day, but the only halfway decent photo. If you follow Alexis on social media you may have seen me holding it--it never tried to bite, it just thoroughly coated me with its stink gland.

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First day with the new lens

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Ever since I got a digital pentax slr I've had my eye on a particular macro lens. It's not even made by pentax, but it is prohibitively expensive: in the four to five hundred dollar range on Amazon, whenever I check. I checked eBay randomly a week ago, and found it for $275. I thought about what I really like to take pictures of--bugs and mushrroms--and how I've spent a lot of time and money trying to find a reasonably priced way to do it. I bought the lens. Here is the first photo I took with it, a strawberry in our garden.

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First Visit to the Needham Town Forest

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Needham is a small mostly residential town next to the one I live in, in eastern Massachusetts. I don't go there much, except to Cutler Park, a big boardwalked swamp that's fun to visit. To be fair, I haven't been to a big boardwalked swamp that WASN'T insanely fun in my opinion, and I've been to a few. I noticed that in addition to Cutler, there was another parcel of public land in the town, designated Needham Town Forest. When my dad drove up for the day, we went there. It was a very unusual Town Forest in many ways.

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May Urban Nature Walk at Cutler Park

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This mysterious and perhaps a little creepy stone cabin welcomes you to the south entrance of Cutler Park. The northern end is far more developed and well traveled, and I have never been there.

come along for a lot of picturesCollapse )

Cutler Park Boardwalk

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I think Zari appreciates me as a naturalist, but isn't too happy with me as a photographer. This is right as she noticed the ferns among the cattails.

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None of us present knew the identity of this wildflower. A little digging turned up "swamp cinquefoil," Comarum palustre, found in wetlands throughout the northern part of the northern hemisphere.

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I appreciate the reassuring messages on the boardwalk.

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I hadn't thought about it before, but I guess they must trim back the cattails that come up through the boardwalk.

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The Urban Pantheist

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