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From the past couple of days:

Yellow (California) poppies … in Illinoize!

Yellow Poppy 2

Yellow Poppy 1

Hummingbirds … and more hummingbirds …

Hummingbird 1

Hummingbird 2

Hummingbird Magnolia

Hummingbird 3

Hummingbird 4

Blue dragonfly — this one tried to land on my head!

Blue Dragonfly 2

Blue Dragonfly 1

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My boss showed up next door (her ex lives there; she was dropping her son by to pick up his bike and some clothes) this evening whilst I was over at Donald — or, as Kameron calls him, McDonald — and Virginia’s, staking out the hummingbird feeder. At that particular moment, I was staring straight up into a tall tree, where the hummingbird was perched on a branch — waiting to see if the male hummingbird was nearby so she’d know whether it was “safe” to visit the feeder.

“Are you praying?” my boss asked.

I told her I wasn’t. (I didn’t mention that, a few minutes earlier, a bird had pooped on my back!)

I ended up with a few hummingbird shots, nothing noteworthy. I experimented a little: using flash, bumping up the shutter speed, shooting from different angles. Still can’t get as close as I’d like … and I’d still prefer getting shots in which the birds are dipping their beaks into actual flowers instead of the humdrum, artificial-looking feeder.

Patience, Grasshopper …

Hummingbird

What did you do this weekend?

I pretty much did absolutely nothing — which, admittedly, is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. Limited human contact, a great pseudo-Mexican lunch, a couple of naps, some unexpected photo opportunities. I spent the first 36 hours or so feeling rather lethargic, which only further enhanced my desire NOT to do anything; I started to perk up today around 2 p.m., just in time to start lamenting the fact that Sunday was more than halfway over.

Not long after that, I found out that Diane had had a flat tire and Karl’s Jeep had broken down. Both were more than an hour from their respective homes when their car troubles had struck (stricken?). Diane, driving on the spare, had to backtrack to help Karl transport the kidlets to his house. Meanwhile, I was relegated to the role of dispatcher but ended up not having to make any emergency runs. Fortunately, everyone made it to their destination safely and soundly.

I’ve been in a bit of a sports mode here lately, what with the Cubs leading the National League Central … and here it is, late August. What a rarity! Oh, I know it won’t last, but wouldn’t it be cool if it did? (I, too, am a dreamer, at times!) Plus, tomorrow the U.S. Open starts, which means 12 hours of tennis a day over the next two weeks. Yay!

I’m also kind of excited because there’s supposed to be a full lunar eclipse tomorrow night/early Tuesday morning. Of course, knowing how much of the meteor shower I managed to see a couple of weeks ago (none!), I can only predict that I will sleep through this event, too.

Yesterday evening, I found some horses. (I probably should’ve made a separate post, but I’m feeling really really lazy right now. Plus, it’s past my bedtime as it is!)

Closeup Paint

Running Horse

2 Horses

Horses Eating

Not long after that, I stumbled upon some flowers. And monarchs.

Puffball

Monarch

Open Monarch

The only drawback about shooting the flowers and flutterbies was that, later, I found two tiny ticks on my left foot! (Neither of them had attached themselves to my skin, though. Thankfully.)

I shot this deer before leaving the late. I was in my car, and I was hoping to have time to fire off three or four shots (or more!) and get something in focus, but this young buck wasn’t in the mood to stand around waiting for me … darn it!

Young Buck

Kiddle

Kiddle has become my new (feline) best second-best friend (just seeing if Mittens was paying attention). Yeah, Little Kiddle’s missin’ her kittens; I can tell she’s sorta looking for them, occasionally — when she’s not rubbing against my legs or trying to trip me while I mosey around the yard. Purring all the while.

This one’s for Jill because she actually likes dragonflies … just like I do!

Dragonfly on a Stick

This is a hummingbird, silhouetted amongst the maple leaves:

Hummingbird Silhouette

(Times like these, I really wish I had a stronger lens.)

You and I are out in the wilderness, climbing on rocks and branches and ladders — some Swiss Family Robinson-style place — and I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before, only with someone else.

At some point, we both stop climbing. I try to kiss you, but you refuse (you don’t want to mess up what we have). Before long, a grizzly bear enters.

Next, I’m strolling along with my mom. I’m holding up my arm as we walk, briskly, and I have a hummingbird perched on my left index finger. I’m also trying to take pictures of the bird; meanwhile, my mom keeps handing me papers to hold, so I’m carrying them in my mouth until, finally, I can’t hold any more.

The bird turns into an old woman. She’s mad because her boyfriend stood her up for the dance.

Yellow Poppy

Napping Patches

Hummingbird at Feeder

Green Dragonfly

This is the hummingbird I “adopted” over the weekend. (I’m not the one holding the birdie, but I did get to let it fly from my hand after I took this photo.)

My Birdie

I think this is a female ruby-throated hummingbird, based on what Master Permit Bander Vernon Kleen told us at the sixth annual Hummingbird Festival. (I have to admit, I was concentrating on taking pictures more than I was on listening to what Vern had to say.) Male ruby-throated hummingbirds have … well, ruby-colored throats — once they’ve matured, anyway. Females and young males do not have ruby-colored throats. Apparently, you can also tell their gender by their tail-feathers, and one way to determine a younger bird from a more mature bird is by whether their beaks have ridges.

Young hummingbirds have ridges or tiny notches on their beaks — basically, from having their beaks smooshed whilst the baby birds are still in the egg, according to photographer David Brewer! The ridges get worn down, however, as the birds dip their beaks into flowers and feeders and what-not; hence, older birds have smoother beaks.

Anyhoo, I dig hummingbirds. Can’t help it.

Hummingbird & Sunflowers 1

Hummingbird & Sunflowers 2

Hummingbird & Sunflowers 3

Hummingbird & Sunflower 4

And along the lines of SNL’s “Find the Pope in the Pizza Contest” from the 1970s: How about a “Find the Hummingbird in the Rose of Sharon Contest”?!

Humminbird & Pink Flowers

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