I decided to spend the afternoon at Kickapoo State Park, since it was much too nice to stay inside. I went exploring in the area of the park south of I-74, places I pretty much hadn't been. And I took the camera, decked out with the 500mm lens and the 1.4x teleconverter, because I was really hoping to get pictures of birds, and they just won't let me get close. For the most part I was feeling more like just enjoying the walk than aggressively taking pictures, but I still came back with 140 or so shots, and I'm going to present a bunch of them here.
The first subject I encountered was geese with new fuzzy goslings. I couldn't resist taking some pictures.
Here they're crossing the road.
Here's a big family on the water.
Here's a little guy who stopped walking to deal with an itchy spot.
I also got to watch, and snap some pictures of, a fight between two geese. One appeared to be a parent of one of the groups of goslings, while the other appeared to be alone. The parent thought the loner got too close...
There were other birds besides geese. I was starting to see a few warblers other than yellow-rumped.
This one is a palm warbler.
Not sure of this one's species. I only got one shot of him, it wasn't the best, but I managed to get this out of it.
There were other birds too.
I got a decent picture of this downy woodpecker. Of course the woodpecker I really wanted wasn't so cooperative -- I heard what I was pretty sure was a pileated, and saw a big bird flying away from the approximate place where the call was coming from. I saw nothing but a silhouette, so it's not a positive ID, but this was in perfectly good pileated woodpecker habitat, so it probably was one. But the bird split and didn't show any signs of coming back for a picture.
I took several pictures of a bee on the flowers of a crabapple tree. They were pretty good, but I'm not sure if they'll be good enough to do art prints. Definitely interesting enough to share here, though.
I've been trying to organize the pictures I picked into groups, but I've run out of themes. So, these are the rest of the pictures I wanted to share.
This is a common flower, it's blooming all over the place right now. And I know I should know what it's called but I forget, so I'm posting this so birder2 can remind me.
Dragonflies fascinate me, and this one let me get close enough to get a fair picture. (I tried to get closer, and of course he left.)
There weren't very many butterflies today, and this was the only one I photographed.
I don't generally concentrate on landscape pictures, and since I was feeling too lazy to switch lenses today, I really wasn't set up for them, but I still took a couple of shots to try to capture the feeling of the ponds with the blooming trees. Here's one.
The dogwoods were blooming beautifully. In this shot, I tried to capture the effect of a treeful, but I had too little depth of focus (because my super-telephoto rig needed too much light, so I had to have the lens wide open). I have only myself to blame; I could have switched lenses and gotten a better picture. But they're still pretty.
Here we have pure serendipity. I was using the camera as a telescope to look at something farther away, and accidentally caught this poison ivy shoot in the view, and the light on it was so lovely I took the picture.
I was inspired to take this by the irridescence on the strands of the cobweb. When I got the shot onto the computer, the debris in the web seemed almost like jewels. I thought it was a neat image.