Posts Tagged ‘photography’

bumblebee in field of clover

The lawn is laden with clover this week, offering an all-you-can-eat bumblebee buffet.  The bumblebees’ activity is so quick and their movement so constant (they’re as busy as bees you know) that almost every photograph I took of them was blurred.  It was also a challenge to not step on the bees as I attempted to photograph them while they worked.

bumblebee showing pollen basket on clover

As they travel from clover floret to floret seeking nectar, female worker bumblebees fill the pollen baskets on their hind legs.  By the time these baskets are considered full by the bee, each might contain up to a million grains of pollen.  Imagine the care and hard work required to gather so many grains!  This pollen will then be carried home to feed the next generation of bees.

clover floret

Due to their long tongues, bumblebees are the insects most capable of reaching the nectar hidden within the folds of the clover floret.  Bumblebees pay for the pollen grains they gather by cross-pollinating the many clover florets they visit.  They’re hairy little creatures, magnets for any pollen they encounter as they go about their busy work.  Later, back at home, they’ll use special combs on their legs to carefully clean off any pollen that’s left lingering on their bodies.

bumblebee on clover

One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care.  Such is the nature of bees…
~ Leo Tolstoy

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2014


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Nova Scotia garter snake

Often described as ‘cool’ and ‘cute,’ snakes were a precious discovery in the yard when my sons were young.  My grandsons were just as smitten recently when their dad was able to capture one I had spotted swimming across a large vernal pool in the woods.

garter snake

This Maritime Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis pallidula was in its Unstriped phase.  These garter snakes also have Black and Striped phases.

garter snake scales

It seemed fairly non-aggressive according to my son, who’s been bitten by garter snakes in the past.  It was pretty compliant and even stuck out its forked tongue for the camera.

garter snake mouth and tongue

As I expected, there were tears shed when it was released back into the wild.  Why can’t we keep it?  I want to keep it as a pet! Though they can be fairly friendly, garter snakes do give off a bad scent in captivity or when they feel threatened.   When will we ever find another?  I’ve come across  a few already in the woods this year, so there’s a good chance we’ll see another soon.

garter snake in grass

In the meantime, we’ll let this one enjoy its freedom in the summer sun. Happy trails snake. (Just don’t freak me out by getting under my feet in the woods!)

For more on garter snakes, see Garden Garter and Snake Berries

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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bird eye view

Boreal chickadees are as shy as their black-capped cousins are friendly. They tend to stay in the inner branches of the spruce trees and seldom linger long enough to allow themselves to be photographed. However, last evening a young one crashed into the front window, providing an opportunity for a close encounter of the sweetest kind.

boreal chickadee face

Though it appeared to be gasping for breath when I first picked it off the ground, it eventually recovered enough for me to place it in a safe spot where its parents (but not local cats or birds of prey) could easily find it.

boreal chickadee

The cement top of the septic cover, which is surrounded by rhododendron bushes, proved a perfect place to set it down.  When I checked it later, the little creature was already moving its head around and looking more alert.  Since it had no outward sign of injury, I left it to God’s care.  I figured He’d be up all night anyhow 🙂

boreal chickadee chick

By early morning it was gone.  The window is still a concern, but I’ve since discovered that keeping the patterned curtains closed will help deter other birds from crashing into the glass.

front window in summer

This morning I saw two adult Boreal chickadees flitting and chirping among the spruce trees.  Could they have been the parents returning to say everything was fine with their little one?

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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hare eyeCapturing nature up close fascinates me as much today as it did when I first started photographing the outdoors years ago.   The nearness amplifies the wonder I have for my subject, whether it’s a wild animal visiting the yard, a flower blooming in the garden or a fungus feeding off an old tree in the forest.

As a photographer, I’m also fascinated by how these small wonders figure into our human environment…





under the daffodil

… especially that of children.

digging around the daffodilsAs a preschool teacher, I frequently marvel at how a single earthworm, ladybug or salamander can sustain the attention of a group of children. At what point do we lose this curiosity and passion for nature’s small wonders?

Those of us who continue to dig in the dirt or walk among the trees as adults have certainly retained some of this magic.  (Do those adults who don’t get up close and personal with the natural world actually know what they’re missing?)

Opportunities for discovery are all around us.  Even older children will display amazing determination in searching a forest for fungi…


A gorgeous polypore fungus

or animal holes in trees.

what s in that hole

Hello in there! Is anybody home?

If children learn more from example than by the written or spoken word, then a few minutes spent outdoors with a child is key to transferring a passion for nature to future generationsI hope my photographs incite others to go outside and see what they can find out there with their own eyes.

bunny seen from kitchen window

A wild snowshoe hare as seen from the kitchen window

My photographs act as a witness to the wonders around me… both in the natural world and in the young eyes of those who are only just beginning to see it for themselves.

looking forward

This post is in response to Views Infinitum’s Assignment 25: Your Photography Passion  
Scott’s challenge is open to all.  Submission deadline is Wednesday May 22nd 2013 at midnight (your time zone).

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013.

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snowshoe hare up close

Wild snowshoe hares are frequently seen in the yard.  They’re present year-round, but most visible during the spring and summer months.

Watching a hare through the window

Watching a hare through the window

We often watch them through the window as they munch on the lawn or rest under the trees.

Snowshoe hare resting under fir trees next to driveway

Snowshoe hare resting under fir trees next to driveway

One in particular often lays under some trees next to the driveway. It was looking especially relaxed yesterday afternoon.  If we are quiet as we come up the driveway and walk into the house, it will usually just open its eyes for a moment and then go back to its rest.

Hare with blended coat of brown and white fur in early spring

Hare with blended coat of brown and white fur in early spring

Unlike most rabbits, hares don’t make underground burrows.  When startled, they either freeze or leap out of sight.  Blending into the landscape is made easier by their varying coat color which is white in winter and brown in summer, a change dictated by daylight hours rather than how much snow is on the ground.  Consequently, a lack of snow cover in winter, or snow on the ground in late spring makes them vulnerable to predators.

snowshoe hare next to deck

Lately I’ve been looking for hare nests in the yard.  Unlike rabbits, hares are born with fur and open eyes, making them more alert to their above-ground surroundings.  In the past, I’ve replaced leverets (baby hares) back into their nest as they’ve jumped out after being startled by my lawnmower.  Leverets are left unattended during the day, visited by their mother only at night.

I haven’t found any nests yet this year, but it’s still early in the season.  Unfortunately, I’m not the only one looking…

Trespassing cat on the prowl

Trespassing cat on the prowl

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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soft morning light on seagrass

Behind the shore, where the dune grass grows, that’s where we’re walking today.  The sun is burning off the rest of the morning’s fog and the grass sparkles where its rays manage to shine through holes in the mist.  The golden grass is dried and brittle in springtime.  I can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since I first felt it beneath my feet.

sand dune haven

We’ve come to this place so many times, you and I, looking for fox paths and ant hills in the sand. We sit in the same spot and together we look out to the ocean.  I dream of African shores with hot sparkling sand across the Atlantic while you ask one more time if it’s still too cold to go in the water.  What three year old doesn’t come to the beach with a plan to enjoy at least one quick splash in the waves?

The golden grass and the color of your hair remind me how much you’ve tamed me these past few years.  All these twenty five years, the dune grass has been of no use to me.  Until now.

hair the color of dried grass

Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold.  Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!  The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.  And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .
~ The Fox to The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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