Friday, July 15, 2016

The critter post

During these past eleven months of my 366-day photography project, I have taken pictures of a wide variety of subjects, including parks, rivers, trees, flowers, people, sunsets, buildings, and more. Today, I thought that I would share with you some of the animal pictures that I have taken recently (or not so recently). The butterfly above, that found a resting place on Phil's water bottle, is a hackberry emperor. It is found in wooded areas and it gets its nutrients from overripe fruit and tree sap.

This is a bumblebee. Bumblebees are large, hairy, and easy going. Despite their rather bumbly appearance, bumblebees are very effective pollinators. They pollinate plants of the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos), as well as berries.



They like certain flowers, especially plants native to the region in which they live. Here, in Grand Island, which is considered to be USDA Zone 5a, they like daisies, coneflowers, Joe Pye weed, wild geranium, whorled tickseed, and other plants.


It's always fun to find a snail. They are entertaining to watch because they are so slow but I think that I would be slow if I had to carry my house on my back. A snail without a shell is called a slug. Some snails are useful in gardens while others are very destructive. People try to remove the snails from the garden because of the tendency for destruction. 



I watched a snail as it came out of its shell and began its adventure.



It looks around at its world.


Where should it go? Will it find another snail? I remember a scene from the movie, "Microcosmos," a 1996 movie made by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou, in which the snails were mating. This was a wonderful documentary about the lives of insects in a meadow in France. It definitely motivated me to love and appreciate insects.



It is time to go in a different direction. Oh, I do understand that! I have often discovered, in the life of this human, that it is time to go in a different direction.



It is beneficial to have frogs and toads in the garden.



Frogs and toads eat pests, including insects and slugs. They keep the pest population down, which means that it is unnecessary to use toxic chemicals on the garden, which can have an adverse effect on bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other desirable pollinators.



These little squirrels are enjoying some of the bird seed that landed on the ground, thanks to the antics of a larger squirrel. That squirrel jumped on the bird feeder and caused it to shake. Hence the bird seed fell out, for the benefit of the little squirrels.








"Mmmmm, that is yummy."




This was one of three rabbits in my back yard. It was quite photogenic. Rabbits will eat anything in the yard, although they don't like daffodils and marigolds. They savor lettuce and all varieties of greenery. Sometimes, we want to eat our produce and we don't want to share with the voracious rabbits.


Chicken at a nearby farm. These chickens run around the yard and seem to be quite happy. Some of them are very sociable and seem to have made friends with the humans. They produce lovely brown eggs.


Once upon a time, all of the chickens were babies...



Horses are beautiful and delightful to watch and to photograph. Here are a few facts about horses. Their scientific name is equus caballus. The gestation period for a baby horse is eleven to twelve months. Shortly after birth, horses are capable of running. Horses can gallop at a speed of 44 miles per hour. The fastest horse sprinted at a speed of 55 miles per hour. Being able to see well helps horses run more effectively. Because their eyes are on the sides of their heads, they can see 360 degrees without swiveling their heads.  They live for about 25 to 30 years. 

The only truly wild horse left on earth is the Przewalski's horse. It lives in Mongolia. In the United States, there are feral horses, mainly Mustangs. Horses have better hearing and eyesight than humans. Characteristics of the horse include intelligence, independence, and a free spirit.

Breeds of horse include thoroughbred, American saddlebred, quarterhorse, Arabian, Mustang, Andalusian, Percheron, Clydesdale, Friesian, Shetland pony, Lippizan, and many more.

Male horses have 40 teeth and female horses have 36 teeth, but who is going to open up their mouths and count their teeth to determine who is a girl and who is a boy and who just prefers to bite?

Horses like sweet food and they don't like to eat anything that is sour or bitter. They drink approximately 25 gallons of water a day.



Horses are social animals that get lonely when alone. When a companion horse passes away, horses mourn. 

Cats are domestic animals that become part of the family. There are many poems written about cats. TS Eliot wrote Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which was later adapted to the stage. It became the musical, "Cats."



At age 16, Zoe is the Queen of my house and of my heart.

















7 comments:

Vicki Maheu said...

So many great critters!!! I like the horses and the little squirrels best!

Martha DeMeo said...

Your photos are always exquisite! I love the butterfly on the water bottle and the horses are beautiful.

Alice Gerard said...

Thank you so much!

Janet Biery said...

Looks like you are really getting the most out of your camera. Appreciate your sharing these shots.

Alice Gerard said...

I'm glad that you all like the animals. They are adorable although posing for the camera is not their best skill, lol.

Alana said...

I don't do well trying to photograph animals, and I enjoyed your following around of the snail. And, the horses, which are such wonderful creatures. I need to expand my photography horizons!

Marian Allen said...

I love your critter photos, and your comments on them. :) The snail photos are fascinating. :)

W is for the wow factor

There is something about doing art that just seems astonishing. For sure, there is a "wow factor" involved. From a blank sheet...