t We’re in  a drought here in Northern Virginia, July 2024 and so slime mold sightings have been very slim.  First photo taken 2 PM after rain the night before. The subsequent picture was taken around 7:00 the next morning.  It had popped up right next to the previous  one which by now was totally gone except for short black stems.  While photographing a ladybug came by. Half an hour later the texture was starting to change and then 11 hours later the change was quite striking.  I’m presuming this is a Stemonitis sp. They are about 2-3 mm tall.
While photographing the stemonitis in the morning I saw a lot of Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa.  The tiny dots on the end of the 'sticks' are spores.  (Visible in the close up shot.) By afternoon the C. fruticulosa was all dried up.
I spent one day in Death Valley in mid April.  The place is stunning and one day is certainly not enough.  Preparing these photos has just made me determined to get back there again some day and spend more time

This was taken at sunrise.

In the next two photos notice the small white rectangle in the cliffside.  The third photo below is a close up.
 And then turning around one sees 
After time below sea level I went above sea level for a hike.
Sand dunes?  I wasn't expecting that.
And there were flowers.
I spent four days in the desert in the vicinity of Las Vegas the week of April 15th.  While I had all my gear for photographing small things, I was so taken by the larger picture that I never took any macro shots  Following are photos from the Valley of Fire state park and Red Rock Canyon.  Both close to Las Vegas.  

And it is only April!  Naturally, I hiked anyway and did carry plenty of water.

Now on to Red Rock Canyon

In a slot this is a good way to keep your feet dry.


 Still nothing new from me on the slime mold front, but a trip out to the west coast yielded a lot of bird photos.




A good morning kiss at sunrise?  Heron rookery in Eugene.
Choosing only the best branches, one presumes.
Meanwhile in the water below a Grebe works on a pretty big fish
Cormorant drying his wings.
Red-winged Blackbird on a grey day.
Ring-necked Duck
Mallards may be common but their coloring is sure beautiful.
The rookery at Ballard Locks (Seattle) has at least a dozen nests and cormorants waiting to appropriate the nests after the chicks have fledged.  This group of cormorants is hanging out lower down the hillside from the heron rookery.
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is a nice day trip from our place in Seattle.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Yellowlegs

Female Common Goldeneye

Surf Scoter

Sapsucker

Mt Rainier from Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Pacific tree(chorus) frog

And finally, Fritillary across the street from our house
Osprey hunting while being harrassed by crows on Four MIle Run (Arlington, VA)
Slime mold with nematode
Mushrooms come in so many different sizes, shapes and colors.  the mushrooms above are all small and some really small and this next colorful one is about the size of my fist.  There were a number of them growing on the tree trunk.
These little mushrooms (below) are getting the only few minutes of sunlight they get each morning, as they are ensconced in a deep groove on the side of a rotting log. They're about 1/2 inch tall.
 The following shots caught my eye because of the brown palette in the normally colorful fall. 
Haven't had any luck lately finding slime molds but did have this Ravenal's stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii) growing in the front yard.  Each stock only lasts a day.  It really stinks and so attracts the flies very effectively.
Following are some shots from trip to Maine and environs Sept of 23
And finally, a slime mold. Lycogala sp. aka Wolf's Milk
Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse
Portland Head Lighthouse
Owls Head Lighthouse
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
 Acadia Sunrise
Cog railway up Mt Washington in New Hampshire
View from top of Mt Washington (clouds, not smoke)
My niece has chickens and turkeys.
Below are pictures from a hike in the Cascades in July 2023
A couple of rainy day shots.

An early morning ride yielded some photos of an osprey eating a fish which attracted some crows.  Taken on Four Mile Run in Arlington.
Meanwhile, down at ground level another oprey was just watching the traffic go by.
While watching the eagle nest this flying pair caught my eye and I got their photo when they landed.
Spring means wild flowers and around here blue bells.  Not all blue bells are blue just like not all violets are violet.
Spring in the high desert of eastern Oregon doesn't look like spring here in the DC area.
An attempt to summit Black Butte was foiled by thigh deep snow.  But still got some nice views.

Sunrise over Key Bridge

Our resident hawk in our backyard.
Viewers have perhaps noticed I take a lot of pictures of spiders.  Some of them are tiny and I get to have fun figuring out how to best photograph them.  The first one was so small I decided to use my laptop so I could get a bigger view of what I was photographing.
I've seen bees get caught in a spider web and work their way free.  In the following sequence the spider was so quick it was as if it had anticipated the bee's arrival.  It immediately began wrapping it and then left it to be consumed later.
While wandering about looking for fungi I frequently find other interesting subjects.
This is the ground side of a fungi growing on a fallen branch.  Not so interesting.
This is the topside.  Much nicer.
This little guy is about the size of my pinkie finger nail.
Thanksgiving means time spent in Seattle, WA and Eugene, OR.  Both places offer good birding opportunities in biking distance.
Late fall and early winter offer a different view of flowers.  The final three shots in the grid are close ups of lichen and fungi.  The single white mushroom was taken at 3x.  It is very tiny.  The three mushroom group is around an inch tall.
This August's trip out west yielded the following shots

Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Bandon Beach
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Since getting back from June's Seattle trip (pictures farther down the page) my photo opportunities have been pretty diverse but mostly centered in my yard.  The electric bike has made getting down to (and especially back up from) the river something I can consider doing more than once a week.
After putting a lot of miles on the bike I've found much to photograph in the yard.
The yard has an incredible variety of life forms, most of them very small.
Trip to Seattle and Eugene yielded some good photo opportunities
Green heron coming in a for a landing
At a pond near our house in Seattle
At Mt St Helens.  The elk were so far way one could barely see them with the naked eye.
Thirty first wedding anniversary celebrated by hiking 5 miles in view of Mt St Helen's
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: https://spark.adobe.com/page/pq9u66kt4l2me/
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