Butterfly

I thought this Butterfly was so pretty!  I haven’t had much luck capturing butterfly photos for the blog.  They seem to be rather scarce this past year, and when I did see them they were too far away, or flew too quickly.  But this one was so great.  I took these October 29th.  He hung around and let me take oodles of good photos of him.  I’ll post one here.

I don’t know what he is, I’m not very good with Butterfly names.  I only know a few.  But I think I’ve seen this type on Mary’s blog before, so I’m hoping she can tell me what it is.  (hint hint)  LOL!!!    🙂

If a different view would be helpful to anyone in identifying him, let me know.  I took lots of him.  I can post more if needed.

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Mallards and an unidentified Duck

These were all shot from a distance, so they aren’t fantastic photographs.  But worth looking at for the odd duck if nothing else.

I was spotted early on…

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These four mallards are regulars at my parent’s feeders near the creek.

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Now below is the odd duck.  Sorry for the blurriness but it’s the best I could do so very far away.
It appears to be mostly black, but my mother (who has had opportunities to view the duck much closer) says that even though it appears black from a distance, it actually has a pattern on the lower part, much like the female mallard – but much much darker.  As you can see there are two little white lines on the wings (like the female mallards have).  And a big white patch on the lower neck/upper breast.

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Here’s a few more:

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I thought this next one was neat.  I was spooking them trying to get a little closer, and I caught this photo of one of the females with her wings raised, about to go into the creek.

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As you can sort of see in this photo below, it is more similar in size to the females than the males as well.

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As you can see in this next photo the appearance it gives while in the water is of an almost all black duck.

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In this one I got it stretching up and showing off its white neck.

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Again, I apologize for the poor photo quality but I was just happy to get it on film.  It’s been coming around down there off and on for a couple of weeks.  But this was the first day I was able to get any photos of it at all.  If I get the opportunity to get some better ones, I will post them.  If anyone has any thoughts on an explanation for the color pattern of this duck, I’d like to hear it.  I have heard of Mallards cross breeding with other ducks.  And my mother has seen a couple of wood ducks down there this year – for the first time ever.  The wood ducks are not regulars though.

If I were to just guess, I would say that it is probably a female and either an odd color variation of the Mallard duck, or the result of a cross breeding between a Mallard and some other duck.

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Family outing

This day we took a little trip out around the hill.  The whole family.  One of the things that I love about being a homeschooling mom is that you can take advantage of whatever moment you like.  You aren’t bound by time clocks and concrete lesson plans – or concrete buildings for that matter.  And you can turn just about anything into a learning opportunity if you play your cards right.  Don’t get me wrong, I value having a great core curriculum, but I love the freedom to explore the things you feel are important as parents and your children’s individual interests.

I’d been wanting to go out to this area to look for things to photograph for a while, but hadn’t felt up to making the walk.  Which is kinda sad if you knew how very close this is to my house.  But for the shape I’ve been in, it is quite a walk.  I realized on the way out that I actually hadn’t been out there for a year.  Shocking, but true.  My pre-term labor contractions with Ella started at 5 weeks gestation when we nearly lost her due to problems I was having with rupturing ovarian cysts.  And I spent the rest of the pregnancy on modified bed rest with regular issues with contractions.  So… no walks for me.  And since her birth at the end of July, I’ve been dealing with the complications from a botched spinal block and other health issues I have had since that whole mess.  But I finally got back out there.

It was gloomy looking, with impending rain, and not a great day for taking pictures.  But when how you feel is so variable, you have to take advantage of good moments when you can.   So we packed up the family and we all went.  Little Miss Ella Rose wasn’t quite sure what we were doing.  The stroller had never went out in a walk to the woods before.  But she loved it.  She just took it all in with such great interest.  I love it when they get to this age.  The age where things start to “click” and they start to take in the wonder of their surroundings and learn things like cause and effect.  She did lots of staring and thinking, and even smiled lots too.

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Her eyes were open when I went to take this smiling photo, but she blinked.

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We saw what I think are wild asters on the bank along the narrow foot path.  It is very dark through there, even when it is sunny, so the photos aren’t fantastic.  But I’ll share them anyway.  😉

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After we made it out there my husband sat at the picnic table and gave Ella her bottle, while I roamed around taking photos, and the kids did what little kids to best in wide open spaces.  They ran around, occasionally taking breaks to learn details about what Mommy was taking photos of.

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Someday if I can feel up to it, I would love to get some hostas started out here.  The conditions on this area of the property would be perfect for hostas, if the deer didn’t wear them out.  With it being a more secluded area, I think we might have a problem with deer eating them.

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I found quite a few different mushrooms, but was only able to photograph a couple before it got too dark.

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Emma likes to find flowers and hold them up and say “Mommy take a picture of this.  Take a picture of this.”  And I always do, just to make her happy.  I really liked the way that this one below turned out though.  It looks like you photo shopped it or something.  But this is the photo exactly as I took it, only it’s been made smaller in size for the blog.

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Then the lighting was going downhill too fast to get any more photographs.  And then it started to rain, so we headed back.  By the time we made it close to the house my legs were a mess, but I was still glad that I made the walk.  And thankful to have been able to do it, even if I did pay for it afterwards.  All in all it was a really nice time.  Not that we did anything particularly special.  But it was just nice to spend some time outdoors with the whole family.

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