Friday, July 12, 2013

Observant Ramblings

Sedge Wren

If you can endure the plague of mosquitoes and black flies, there are lots of wonderful sights and sounds at Pheasant Branch Conservancy's prairie right now. The pests aren't irritating until you stand still. Because my ThermaCELL proved to be ineffective, I resorted to using insect repellent with DEET. Even so, I still got bit and chewed up.

Between song phrases, this Sedge Wren seemed to be grabbing every tiny insect that flew past it. The branch it's perched on is actually mounted to a post that someone installed years ago. This wren has been using it for a couple of weeks while trading songs with another male just on the other side of the trail.

What an adorable pose!

Without warning, the wren was chased off its perch by an Eastern Phoebe. After the phoebe consumed an insect, it flew off and the wren was quick to reclaim his spot.

Eastern Phoebe

Pearl Crescent


It was getting late enough that I began finding fireflies slowly climbing up plants and flowers as I scanned for macro subjects. I thought it would be cool to try and capture their bioluminescence. It's easy enough to photograph a stationary insect when there is adequate light, but as dusk approached I realized it would be necessary to tripod mount my camera. I also increased the ISO to 800 and turned on noise reduction.


The challenge was to locate a firefly and stick with it until it started to flash. A couple of times the one I was on flew off before it began flashing, but this gave me a few nice shots, too.

There were more fireflies to choose from as the light slowly faded away. Eventually, I captured what I was looking for. Being able to shoot 10 frames per second proved handy in capturing a firefly's flash.

Content with my batch of nature photographs, I headed down the trail and spotted the waxing crescent moon in the western sky. It was going on 9:00 p.m. and many birds continued to sing over a soft layer of  cricket bows.

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell


  1. The Sedge Wren photos made my day!

  2. Magnificant!
    I have never seen pictures of flashing fireflies before.