Category Archives: SHOT FROM THE FILE

Black-tailed Prairie Dog – Using Your Head

Using Your Head

Using Your Head

     This Black-tailed Prairie Dog was in the process of playing architect and to accomplish the task, the phrase ” using your head ” became quite appropriate.  A powerful storm had just passed over and the soaker had drenched the earth.  The prairie dog took this opportunity to move the moistened, loosened soil to build up the mound around its burrow.  Of course this was facilitated by pushing the dirt into position and then tamping it with its nose and forehead.  So … using your head to do the job, in this case, was literally accurate.

~ Anecdote and Black-tailed Prairie Dog capture, Using Your Head © Jerry L. Ferrara

Gray Catbird – The Cat’s Meow

The Cat's Meow

The Cat’s Meow

     Sitting in the catbird seat is a phrase referring to being on top of a situation or in control.  For the Gray Catbird that is more than likely the case as it steals through the underbrush often making it frustratingly difficult to observe.

     But that’s not what this surreptitious feathered spirit is most noted for.  The Gray Catbird is an outstanding mimic.  It comes by its name honestly, too, for part of its vocal repertoire is a stunning rendition of a cat meowing.

     Albeit archaic, the phrase “the cat’s meow” references something that stands out, is excellent or first rate.  Seems the Gray Catbird not only sits in the catbird seat, but when it comes to its voice it truly is “the cat’s meow”.

~ Anecdote and Gray Catbird capture, The Cat’s Meow © Jerry L. Ferrara. 

Cooper’s Hawk – Beware! A Presence Lurks

Beware! A Presence Lurks

Beware! A Presence Lurks

     Dodging between the trees, a Cooper’s Hawk used its long tail and blunt wings to deftly and precisely maneuver through the upper canopy.  Its flight seemed an effortless choreography, when in fact the activity was designed to surprise an unsuspecting bird or squirrel … and then, the predator’s forward motion suddenly ceased.  Landing on a limb, the hawk waited.  Beware! A presence lurks.

~ Anecdote and Cooper’s Hawk capture, Beware! A Presence Lurks © Jerry L. Ferrara

Mountain Goat – Rambunctious and Demanding

Rambunctious and Demanding

Rambunctious and Demanding

     Gently the dame Mountain Goat lowered herself to the verdant and flowery alpine floor to savor a peaceful moment while ruminating when her rambunctious and demanding charge appeared on the scene seeking to be fed.  At first the nanny resisted the request.  But when the capricious kid started climbing onto its caretaker, the peaceful respite was over and done with as the unrelenting solicitation could no longer be ignored … and a milky snack was served from reconstituted vegetation.

~ Anecdote and Mountain Goat capture, Rambunctious and Demanding © Jerry L. Ferrara

Sandhill Cranes – Staging



     For this capture of Sandhill Cranes called Staging, I have created a fine art print.  The image was originally made on Kodachrome 64 film in the 1980’s in New Mexico.  It was early morning, bitterly cold, and the cranes were lining up to take flight.  Interspersed amongst the sandhills are various waterfowl.

~ Anecdote and Sandhill Cranes capture, Staging © Jerry L. Ferrara

The Big Dipper and The North Star [Polaris] – The Way

The Way

The Way

A horse and a rider do gallop each night
A test for the eyes, the strength of one’s sight
What appears at first two, in reality’s six
Great distance deceives and perception is tricked
Yet not very far from all that’s bound up
Lies Merak and Dubhe at the edge of the cup
A line through these bodies so many will say
Reveals the direction that points to the way

The two stars at the front of the Big Dipper’s cup are in line with and point to the North Star [Polaris].

~ Poem and the Big Dipper and the North Star [Polaris] capture, The Way © Jerry L. Ferrara

Southern Elephant Seal/Antarctic Fur Seal – That’s a Lot of Bull

That's a Lot of Bull

That’s a Lot of Bull

     A bull Southern Elephant Seal [right] gives its trumpeting challenge call as a bull Antarctic Fur Seal [left] lumbers nearby.  Whether this was an inter-species mistake on the part of the elephant seal, or a definite provocation aimed at the fur seal is irrespective of the fact, “that’s a lot of bull”.

~ Anecdote and Southern Elephant Seal/Antarctic Fur Seal capture, That’s a Lot of Bull © Jerry L. Ferrara

Red-naped Sapsucker – A No Brainer

A No Brainer

A No Brainer

     After lapping up tree fluid that had collected in sap wells, a Red-naped Sapsucker goes to work creating new wells and enlarging those that already exist.

     With reckless abandon, the woodpecker diligently pounds away at the tree bark.  What should cause great pain and possible brain damage is seemingly taken in stride.  That’s because the sapsucker and its relatives have specially developed anatomies.  A well-cushioned cranium, a tightly-packed skull and a highly efficient method for dispersing impact energy from beak through body enables these remarkable creatures to effectively sustain blunt-force shock with impunity — it’s a no brainer.

~ Anecdote and Red-naped Sapsucker capture, A No Brainer © Jerry L. Ferrara

Mountain Bluebird – The Idaho State Bird

The Idaho State Bird

The Idaho State Bird

     Sitting alertly on an ancient wooden fencepost overlooking an expansive open farm field, a Mountain Bluebird suddenly launches itself airborne.  Its quest is more than likely an unsuspecting juicy caterpillar or grasshopper, though being omnivorous, the spritely thrush could just as well be in search of ripening berries.  The Mountain Bluebird was named the Idaho state bird in 1931.

~ Anecdote and Mountain Bluebird capture, The Idaho State Bird © Jerry L. Ferrara

Northern Flicker – Down The Hatch

Down The Hatch

Down The Hatch

     There was a smart flash of red that boldly burst across the yard as a Northern Flicker quickly wended its way to the bird bath.  It had been a warm day and the flicker was in need of hydration.  Upon landing on the bath’s edge, the handsome woodpecker dipped the tip of its bill into the limpid liquid.  Scooping up the water, the flicker tilted its beak skyward allowing the refreshing fluid to flow down its throat.  Like many birds, the Northern Flicker employs gravity to ensure a successful drink … “down the hatch”.

~ Anecdote and Northern Flicker capture, Down The Hatch © Jerry L. Ferrara