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Lately I have turned into a bird photographer.  And regularly finding hawks.  It's always a treat to get a bike ride in and some fun shots to boot.
The starlings took quite an interest in the pileated woodpecker's cleaning out a cavity.  Eventually the woodpecker drove them off.
Of course I haven't lost my interest in the small things of this world, so here's some fungi and lichen.
A little December color.  Shots taken December 17th in northern Virginia.
A bush we have never seen flower before put out this on flower.
A tiny maple tree.
Well Happy New Year.  January 1st for us saw temperatures in the low 60's.  Today (Jan 3) looks like this in our back yard.  7 inches of snow...
And now for something entirely different:
I had a day where I wasn’t feeling very energetic (post Covid booster) and so I was able to stand behind my camera for an hour or so and watch a preying mantis.  If I had been feeling good I would not have had the patience.  But between the covid shot and not being able to play the viola due to my shoulder I was enabled to stand and watch for a long time while nothing happened.  Which to say no prey come by for the preying mantis.  But it did seem to be keeping an eye on me.  I tried a shot from the side and it turned and looked straight at me.  I was close at that point and decided to move further away lest I disturb the creature and prevent it from getting a meal.  That’s when the hour or more wait started.
I have a pretty long lens so I was able to get some nice portrait shots without disturbing the creature. For the hour we were head on to each other 5 feet apart.  I had seen (presume the same) this mantis capture a bee a few days before in this same hanging flower pot, but not this time.  ​​​​​​​

This time after so long watching each other it came over to where I was and checked out my flash and then came to me and walked up my leg and up across my shoulders and then onto my neck.  On my bare skin was more ticklish than I could take so I scooped it up and walked it back to the hanging flower pot.  Whereupon it immediately made its way back to me and crawled up to my head again.  I put it back in the flowers again and left since there did not appear to be any good shots forthcoming.​​​​​​​
Walking down the tripod leg before then walking up my pant leg.
My experience with the restrictions of living in a pandemic and with a rotator cuff injury have been interesting and gotten me into photographing in a way I might not otherwise have done.  Such as the cicada invasion:
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