Saturday, May 31, 2008

Truly Outstanding Hummingbird Photographs

The May issue of the Missouri Conservationist magazine has some truly outstanding pictures of hummingbirds by photographer Noppadol Paothong.

I especially like the cover image of a hummingbird captured in mid-hover, with wing and tail feathers spread out.

At my three hummingbird feeders at home, we've had many ruby-throated hummingbirds flying about for several weeks. At times, every feeding perch has had a bird, with one or more hovering behind it.

These are fascinating birds. The article in the magazine is a great introduction and more information is available on the Missouri Department of Conservation Web pages.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sleep Under the Stars in Independence, Missouri

My wife made a quilt for us that has stars on every piece of fabric. We can "sleep under the stars" every night.

When I was growing up, "sleeping under the stars" meant camping out without a tent. I've heard new terms for this, like "meadow crashing" which means putting a sleeping bag or pad out in the grass of a field or meadow to "sleep under the stars."

The Bass Pro Store in Independence, Missouri, is inviting families to come camp out at the store on May 24, 2008. From the events page on their Web pages, they write:

"Have you ever wanted to sleep out under the stars? Bass Pro has the solution for you. On Saturday, May 24th, we will hold the first annual FAMILY NIGHT UNDER THE STARS. Register early as space is limited! Contact Amy at 816-795-4317 or by email at to save your space. We will have activities range from outdoor survival skills, storytelling and what campout wouldn't be complete with out smores. So join as for the first annual FAMILY NIGHT UNDER THE STARS."

The announcement is on the list of events for the Independence, Missouri Bass Pro Store.

Also, an article on family camping was in the 1999 Missouri Conservationist magazine, or take along some of these books about camping and the outdoors that are mentioned in another article.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chuck Will's Widow Calling in the Evening

I heard two chuck-will's-widow birds singing in the evening yesterday. It's the first time I 've heard them this year. I don't recall ever hearing them when I was very young in north Missouri. They probably were not that far north.

I particularly like the sound of the chuck-will's-widow and the whip-poor-will. We can hear both birds in the evening where I live in central Missouri. The chuck-will's-widow has a song much like the name, with a quieter "chuck" and then most emphasis on the "will's-widow."

I've heard the whip-poor-will and another bird, the nighthawk, for several weeks. The nighthawk is a similar bird and generally heard in town, making a short nasal call as it circles over parking lots and buildings, catching insects.

The recently released report for Missouri from the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation indicates that about 2.2 million folks watch or observe wildlife in Missouri. Perhaps several of those folks also like to listen to the chuck will's widow.