Featured

2022 Wall Calendars at Zazzle

September 09, 2021

I have created five different 2022 wall calendars that are now available for purchase from my Zazzle storefront. All of these wall calendars were designed using images from my wildlife and nature photography.

These 2022 wall calendars were created as 12-month two-page wall calendars. However, there are other options that may be purchased at Zazzle. These calendars may be purchased as small, medium or large sized two page wall calendars. In addition, there is an option for a one page 12-month wall calendar.

2022 Frog Wall Calendar

My 2022 Frog Wall Calendar includes 12 different frog compositions that I share with you for, one for each month of the year. All my frog images were photographed at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Back Cover of 2022 Frog Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
Back Cover of 2022 Frog Wall Calendar available for purchase on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography.

Pelicans 2022 Wall Calendar

The Pelicans 2022 Wall Calendar features 12 different brown pelican poses. These poses include in flight, swimming, resting on posts, and of silhouettes of the pelicans. Both adult and juvenile pelican images are included in this calendar. All of these pelican images were photographed at Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia.

Pelicans 2022 Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
Pelicans 2022 Wall Calendar available for purchase on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography.

2022 Flowers Up Close Wall Calendar

The 2022 Flowers Up Close Wall Calendar includes 12 different up close images of flowers such as roses, tulips, sunflowers, lotus and water lily. These images of the flowers were photographed in many locations in the United States.

Back Cover of 2022 Flowers Up Close Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
Back Cover of 2022 Flowers Up Close Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography

2022 Egrets Wall Calendar

My 2022 Egrets Wall Calendar includes many 12 different images of different species of egrets such as great egret, cattle egret and snowy egret. I photographed theses egret images mainly in Florida in such places as Alligator Farm Zoological Park, Venice Rookery, and Little Estero Lagoon.

2022 Egrets 12 Month Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
2022 Egrets 1Wall Calendar available for purchase on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography.

2022 Great Blue Heron Courting Displays Wall Calendar

This 2022 Great Blue Heron Courting Displays Wall Calendar was created with my images photographed at the Venice Rookery in Florida. This pair of great blue herons were nesting at the rookery. The 12 different images I share in this calendar display many of the courting rituals between great blue herons.

2022 Great Blue Heron Courting Displays Wall Calendar on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography
2022 Great Blue Heron Courting Displays Wall Calendar available for purchase on Zazzle by Lori A Cash Conservation Photography.

These wall calendars will make perfect gifts for wildlife and nature lovers. Check out my many other products that I have created from my wildlife and nature photography in my Zazzle storefront.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

American Bullfrog behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay community involvement conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest grebe walking behavior Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash Mill Creek monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey osprey nesting ospreys at Fort Monroe Outer Banks of North Carolina Phoebus Waterfront Park Photo Contests photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

Backyard Butterfly Garden Tips

August 31, 2021

My backyard butterfly garden was created and planted about three weeks ago as I had recently moved into a new home. I have always had butterfly gardens in my yards in my previous houses. So, I was really eager to get one planted to help and do my part to assist with the declining monarch butterfly population as well as to photograph a variety of butterflies in my own backyard.

Milkweed Plants in Your Backyard Butterfly Garden

Always try to plant native plants such as common milkweed, butterfly weed or swamp milkweed plants to provide food for the Monarch butterflies. The milkweed plants are the only host plants for the monarch butterflies. The leaves of the milkweed plants are the only food source for this species of butterfly. Milkweed is very crucial to the life cycle of the monarchs. Without milkweed as their food source the monarchs population decline.

With the current decline in the monarch population, it is essential that milkweed is planted in our backyard butterfly gardens. In my backyard butterfly garden, I planted both butterfly weed and swamp milkweed plants.

Monarch caterpillar feeding on milkweed on a late summer evening in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) feeding on butterfly weed leaf on a late summer evening in my backyard butterfly garden. The monarch life cycle starts with the eff, then the larva (caterpillar), the chrysalis and then the adult butterfly.

Other Host Plants For Your Backyard Butterfly Garden

Other plants that serve as host plants for other species of butterflies are fennel, dill, parsley, asters and hollyhock. Fennel, dill and parsley are great host plants for Eastern swallowtails. Asters and hollyhock attract butterflies such as the Painted Lady butterfly. In my backyard butterfly garden, I planted some fennel to help attract black swallowtails.

Black swallowtail caterpillar feeding on fennel plant in backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Full grown larva of Eastern Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius) feeding on fennel plant in my backyard butterfly garden.

Nectar Plants for Your Backyard Butterfly Garden

One of the most popular type of nectar plants to put in your butterfly garden is the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). The butterfly bush is a deciduous shrub with colorful flowers that provides a lot of nectar to variety of butterfly species. They are fast growing and easy to maintain. The butterfly bush blooms from summer to autumn and comes in many different colors. One important thing to remember about butterfly bushes is that they only provide nectar to adult butterflies. Butterfly bushes are not host plants and will not attract butterfly larva (caterpillars).

There are many other types of nectar plants that you can plant in your backyard butterfly garden. Some of these plants include purple coneflower, verbena, common zinnia, sedum and phlox. Purple coneflowers have always been one of my favorite nectar plants. Not only are they beautiful flowers, but they provide great color contrast with butterflies, especially if you are planning to photograph the butterflies in your backyard butterfly garden.

Fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) on Black Knight butterfly bush on a summer evening in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) on Black Knight butterfly bush on a summer evening in my backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.

My Backyard Butterfly Garden

Since I have only been in my new house for two months, I wanted to make sure I got a butterfly garden planted in my backyard as soon as possible. About three weeks ago my butterfly garden was planted. I used butterfly weed, swamp milkweed and fennel as my host plants. In addition, I am providing nectar with three butterfly bushes. In my garden, I have the three different varieties: Black Knight Butterfly Bush, Honeycomb Butterfly Bush and the Nanho White Butterfly Bush. Next year I plan to add a couple more hosts plants and maybe some purple coneflowers.

In these past few weeks, I have had 10 monarch caterpillars in the butterfly weed and swamp milkweed plants. So, I feel really good about doing my part in helping the monarch population. In addition to the monarch caterpillars, my fennel has attracted two black swallowtail larva or caterpillars.

My three different colored butterfly bushes have been attracting many species of the skippers and cabbage white butterflies. I have had a monarch and black swallowtail feed from the butterfly bushes as well.

Monarch caterpillar crawling on milkweed plant leaf on a summer evening in Hampton, Virginia.
Monarch caterpillar crawling on milkweed plant leaf on a summer evening in my backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia. Monarch caterpillars need to consume a lot of food in a relatively short period of time. This allows the monarch caterpillar to store enough food so that they can go through metamorphosis.

Milkweed Beetles

Milkweed beetles are often found on milkweed plants as well. These beetles also eat the leaf, stems and even the milkweed seeds as their food source. However, these beetles are harmless, and often the monarch butterflies and milkweed beetles co-exist on milkweed plants. At least they have been doing so in my backyard butterfly garden. The milkweed beetles have predominately been eating on my swamp milkweed plant that I have in my butterfly garden. I do not look at these milkweed beetles as pests but as part of nature.

Milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) resting on a swamp milkweed leaf on a summer afternoon in a backyard butterfly garden in Hampton, Virginia.
Milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) resting on a swamp milkweed leaf on a summer afternoon in my backyard butterfly garden. These beetles do not harm the milkweed plants, but they will eat the leaves, stems and seeds.

Providing A Water Source for Butterflies

In my garden is a glass bowl birdbath that provides some needed water for the butterflies as well as for birds. The butterflies cannot land on the water and drink. However, I have watched the butterflies dip down in the water to get some moisture similar to a dragonfly. Any type of puddling in your garden will also help to provide needed water to butterflies as well.

One last tip is that, if you are planting a garden to attract butterflies, it is really important to avoid the use of pesticides as they harm the butterflies.

I look forward to seeing how my backyard butterfly garden grows in the coming years and to the different species of butterflies that come to my garden. I have already spent a great deal of time observing and photographing the visitors in my garden in just the past three weeks. My backyard butterfly garden serves a dual purpose for me as a conservationist and as a wildlife photographer.

I hope these tips will help you build and create a beautiful space for the butterflies in your backyard.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

American Bullfrog behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay community involvement conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest grebe walking behavior Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash Mill Creek monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey osprey nesting ospreys at Fort Monroe Outer Banks of North Carolina Phoebus Waterfront Park Photo Contests photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

Featured

Photographing the Sunrise At Buckroe Beach

August 18, 2021

Recently, I spent the morning in the field at Buckroe Beach photographing the sunrise. As usual I arrive around 45 minutes prior to sunrise at my location. I love to photograph the gorgeous colors of civil twilight. Often this period before sunrise, provides some of the best colors for your landscape photos.

About Buckroe Beach

Buckroe Beach is located just north of Fort Monroe on the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia. The beach is three-quarters of a mile long with various areas of jetty rocks and a pier. This area offers various views of the Atlantic Ocean off the Chesapeake Bay. Buckroe Beach is one of the oldest recreational areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is one of my favorite local beaches to go out in the field photographing the sunrise.

Twilight Photography

Twilight is roughly the 30 minute time period prior to sunrise. Photographing at the twilight in the morning calls for me to arrive at my location in the dark. But I like to have time to get my photo gear out and find a spot on the beach to start off with. I always use my my tripod, camera timer, L-bracket on my camera and my wide angle lens to photograph seascapes or landscapes. I always move about on the beach looking for different compositions. Sometime, I have my tripod set up high, and sometimes I take it down low to photograph my beach compositions at the different angles. Twilight often gives the sky a blue color and is often called the “blue hour” among photographers.

Buckroe Beach at twilight on a summer morning in Hampton, Virginia.
The colors of the sky during twilight just prior to sunrise.

Changing Colors of Twilight

During the time of twilight the colors are constantly changing. This quality of light during twilight time creates wonderful seascape or beach images. I love how when I go out in the field at Buckroe Beach in the early morning, everything is all serene and peaceful.

Beach sunrise on a summer morning at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
I used a technique called long exposure photography with this image. Long exposure photography is when you use a very slow aperture to capture the motion of the water. My shutter speed was 2 seconds at f/22.

Silhouettes While Photographing the Sunrise

Photographing the sunrise at Buckroe Beach, or any other beach area, is where I like to try a lot of different types of compositions. Sometimes, if there are fishing boats or tankers out in the Chesapeake Bay, I will photograph them. On this morning I did not see any type of boats on the water, but I did find some other inspirations to create some silhouettes with the colors of the sky in the background. Every time I have been to Buckroe Beach to photograph the sunrise, there are usually quite a few people coming out to the beach to watch the sunrise.

On this morning, I was back on the beach away from the surf and behind the lifeguard station taking pictures of the lifeguard station with the colors of the sunrise behind it. Suddenly people started coming out to stand at the edge of the surf to watch the sunrise. This inspired me to try some silhouettes of people on the beach during the sunrise.

Silhouette of a couple watching the sunrise on a summer morning at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
Silhouette of a couple watching the sunrise on a summer morning at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
Silhouette of people at the beach with lifeguard station at sunrise on Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
In this image I captured the silhouette of the lifeguard station as well as a person walking a dog and a group of children standing near the surf to watch the sunrise.

Bird Photography at Sunrise

One of the most important reasons that I love to photograph the twilight and sunrise at beaches is because I almost always find birds at the beach. However, today, other than the usual birds of pigeons and gulls, there were not too many birds that I was able to photograph. Usually during the summer there are a few dozen black skimmers that hang around on Buckroe Beach especially in the mornings. But on this morning, I only saw a few that were flying around the surf of the beach. I was fortunate to capture this silhouette of a black skimmer that was flying low to the surf.

Silhouette of a black skimmer (Rynchops niger) in flight over the water during sunrise at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
I captured this silhouette of a black skimmer flying low to the surf with the golden glow of the sunrise on the water. For this image, I used my Sigma 150-600mm lens handholding.

Photographing the sunrise at Buckroe Beach is always a magical experience for me. To watch and photograph a peaceful and serene moment with nature is a special time for me. The stillness of our earth as the sun rises up over the horizon is such an amazing moment that I like to document and share my images with others in hopes to inspire folks to appreciate our natural world.

The sun rises up on the horizon on a summer morning at Buckroe Beach in Hampton, Virginia.
As the sun rises up over the horizon, the colors have changed significantly since the twilight time period.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

American Bullfrog American Oystercatchers behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay community involvement conservation cover photo crabbing boat Fort Monroe fox kits fox pups Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest grebe walking behavior Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash Mill Creek monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey osprey nesting ospreys at Fort Monroe Outdoor Photographer Outer Banks of North Carolina Oystercatchers nesting Phoebus Waterfront Park Photo Contests photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

Featured

Images Published in 2022 Our Common Agenda by Virginia Conservation Network

August 12, 2021

Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) released its annual policy Briefing Book called Our Common Agenda. The 2022 annual publication of Our Common Agenda has my red fox kit as the cover photo. My image is the cover photo as the result of being the winner of the 2022 Our Common Agenda Photo Contest.

Tearsheet of about my winning Red Fox Kit image from 2022 Our Common Agenda Policy Briefing Book.

In addition, in this publication I had several other images of various wildlife and nature subjects that appear in this annual briefing book by Virginia Conservation Network.

Our Common Agenda is a collection of over 40 environmental policy papers written by, vetted through, and voted on by VCN’s 150+ Network Partners. This policy book by VCN is released every summer. It serves as an educational tool for policy makers and conservation advocates as it is comprised of policy solutions to address the environmental problems facing the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

I am proud to have my images published in a very important environmental briefing book that addresses conservation issues in my home area of Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

American Bullfrog behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay community involvement conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest grebe walking behavior Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash Mill Creek monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey osprey nesting ospreys at Fort Monroe Outer Banks of North Carolina Phoebus Waterfront Park Photo Contests photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

Featured

American Bullfrogs at the Norfolk Botanical Garden

August 9, 2021

Capturing images of American bullfrogs at the Norfolk Botanical Garden is one of my favorite things that I like to do in the spring and summer. Last year, I discovered a new love for photographing these adorable frogs. I spent a lot of time last summer taking pictures of the bullfrogs in various compositions. I have been back again this spring and summer looking to capture new images of these American bullfrogs at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

American Bullfrog on Lily Pad Photographic Compositions

Although last year, I photographed the bullfrogs in a lot of different situations, I was unable to get an image of a bullfrog on a lily pad that I really liked. So, this year I was determine to get that shot. So far this year, I have taken a lot of pictures of bullfrogs on lily pads.  And I really like these images I have captured of the frogs on lily pads.

Here are a few of the images I captured of the bullfrogs on lily pads this year.

Also, I have been able to find and capture other different compositions of these bullfrogs such as in the grass and with reflections in the water. One of my unique compositions, I have been able to photograph was a bullfrog with the pink water lilies in the image with a frog.

Here are two different perspectives of the same bullfrog among water lilies at Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Photographing American Bullfrogs

When I am in the field photographing frogs, I always get down as low as I can to the ground or to eye level of the frogs. I am almost always handholding my big lens. I like to move around a lot to photograph the frogs at many various types of angles and perspectives.  Not using my tripod gives me a lot of flexibility. Therefore, I usually increase my ISO so that I have enough shutter speed to hand hold my camera and lens. This low perspective gives me a very intimate look to my frog images.

American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) sitting in grass near the lily pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.
American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) sitting in grass near the lily pond at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

American Bullfrog Facts

The American bullfrog is native to the eastern United States. American bullfrogs are large aquatic frogs that can reach a length of 6 to 8 inches. They are very powerful swimmers with strong back legs. Bullfrogs are carnivores. They like to eat a variety of prey including crayfish, snails, fish, small turtles, water beetles as well as other frogs. The lifespan of bullfrogs living in the wild is estimated to be 8 to 10 years.  

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) up close on lily pad on a spring afternoon at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

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New Article Posted on Photographing Sunflower Fields: 8 Tips to Create Stunning Sunflower Field Images

July 31, 2021

I have written and posted a new article on photographing sunflower fields. These 8 tips I have suggested will help create stunning sunflower field images. This article is found on my homepage and on the articles page. Also, you can click here to read article.

I have always had a love for sunflowers and have enjoyed photographing sunflowers through the years. Recently, while in Arkansas, I had the opportunity to photograph agriculture sunflower fields. This photography experience inspired me to write this article and share these tips that will help you create beautiful and stunning sunflower field images.

Good things happen when you just go out and enjoy nature and be creative!

Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

American Bullfrog behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay community involvement conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest grebe walking behavior Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash Mill Creek monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden osprey osprey nesting ospreys at Fort Monroe Outer Banks of North Carolina Phoebus Waterfront Park Photo Contests photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

Grand Prize Winner for 2022 Our Common Agenda Photo Contest

July 30, 2021

I am very excited and honored to announce that my image of a red fox kit was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2022 Our Common Agenda Photo Contest held by Virginia Conservation Network!

This past spring and early summer, I spent a lot of time photographing a local red fox den and got a ton of outstanding images. I am very proud of this image of the red fox kit which I captured on Mother’s Day in the very early morning when this kit came right near me as it was exploring its territory. This particular day of photographing that fox den in the very early morning was a very special and fun day of photographing those kits.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

Featured

Ways to Protect the Monarch Butterfly

July 14, 2021

The monarch butterfly has been in decline these past two decades, and we need to protect the this species. This decline is due to habitat loss, climate change and due to the use of pesticides. The monarch butterfly is also known as the milkweed butterfly. As part of the monarch’s habitat loss is the loss of the milkweed in agriculture fields due to the use of pesticides. This loss of milkweed is a major reason why the this butterfly is in decline. We must find ways to protect the monarch butterfly.

A pair of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) mating on thistle bloom needs protecting from loss of habitat.
A pair of monarch butterflies mating on thistle flower in the Butterfly House at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Facts About the Monarch Butterfly

It is one of the most common and most recognizable butterflies in North America. Its wing markings include black, orange, and white patterns which makes it easily recognizable. Their wing span is about 3-4 inches. These large popular butterflies are a long-distance migrators and often find their way to Mexico during the winter.

The male and female monarchs look very similar to each other. They are only differentiated by the male monarch having thinner black veins and two small black spots on the lower back wings. In addition, the monarch butterfly is hard to distinguish from the similar color and markings of the viceroy butterfly. The difference between these two insect species is that the monarch is significantly larger and does not have the black line across the bottom of the hind wings as the viceroy does.

Male monarch (Danaus plexippus) with monarch caterpillar on leaf of butterfly weed in the Butterfly House at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.
Male monarch butterfly with monarch caterpillar on leaf of butterfly weed. This butterfly displays the black spot on lower hind wing which indicated this monarch is a male.

Threats to the Monarch Butterfly

A special concern for the decline in this butterfly is due to the many changes in our climate. In the monarch’s overwintering habitats, the increasing amounts of severe weather such as droughts, wildfires and severe storms have impacted the monarch butterflies ability to survive.

In addition, deforestation is a threat to the survival of the monarch. The continued amount of logging and even the falling down of trees have diminished the monarch butterfly’s ability to migrate, therefore, affecting their ability to mate and to increase their population.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) perched on a flower is in decline and there are ways to protect the monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterfly perched on a flower in backlighting on a summer evening n the Butterfly House at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Ways to Protect the Monarch Butterfly

One of the best ways to protect the this particular butterfly species is to plant native milkweed in gardens and yards. This will help replace the loss of milkweed in agriculture fields. Monarch caterpillars will only eat milkweed so this is a very important way to protect this species and to help stop their decline. Milkweed may take a couple of seasons before producing flowers for the monarchs. Providing habitat for these butterflies and caterpillars is essential in saving the monarchs.

Another way to help protect the monarchs is to plant pollinator gardens in your backyard, neighborhood, school or church. Monarchs need the nectar from flowers to stay healthy and to survive. This will not only help the monarch but all pollinators as well.

Lastly, gardening organically without the use of pesticides is a very important way to protect these butterflies.

Pair of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) mating on mulch in the butterfly house at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.
Pair of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) mating on the ground on mulch in early summer in the Butterfly House at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Working Together

As concerned citizens, nature lovers and lovers of our world, we all need to take action to help protect the monarch butterfly. This decline in the monarchs indicates that our climate is in trouble as well. We need to work together to save the these pollinators which will also impact our climate. Monarch butterflies are extremely important to the health of our environment. The monarchs are a very important pollinator as they feed on the nectar and pollinate many different wildflowers in our environment.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) with wings spread out on flower showing veins and markings.
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) with wings spread out on flower showing veins and markings.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

Protecting Birds from Fishing Lines, Lures and Hooks

Protecting birds from fishing lines, lures and hooks is critical to the welfare of birds and keeping birds safe from injury or death from these items. One of the most rewarding experiences to me is to photograph wildlife especially birds in their natural habitat. However, one of the saddest experiences for me as a conservation photographer is when I see a bird in danger or in distress from litter from fishing lines, lures, hooks or other fishing gear.

Encounter with Yellow-Crown Night Heron Juvenile Threatened by Fishing Lure

Last week, I went to Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia in the early morning. On this clear morning, I saw this yellow-crowned night heron juvenile near the shoreline along the low tide of Mill Creek.

I noticed this heron was chewing on something that was red and white. I kept moving in closer to see what this object was in this young yellow-crowned night heron’s mouth. Meanwhile, I took pictures of this yellow-crowned night heron juvenile as I tried to figure out what was in its mouth.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) walking in the water at low tide in Mill Creek with a fishing lure in the heron's mouth and fishing line attached to lure at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron walking in the water at low tide in Mill Creek with a fishing lure in the heron’s mouth with fishing line attached to lure at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron trying to swallow fishing lure

Then, suddenly, I realized it was a fish lure and saw a fishing line that this heron was dragging behind itself. My initial thought was that I had to help this bird as I initially thought the lure was hooked to the bird’s mouth. I happened to be here at Fort Monroe with my spouse who I sent to the Fort Monroe Police Station just a few hundred yards away to get help for this bird. The police station was closer than the park headquarters as we did not have the phone number to the park headquarters.

As I continued to observe this bird, I did not see any signs of it being in distress such as raised wings, loud screeching or screaming or even any panting. Before my spouse reached the police station, this juvenile yellow-crowned night heron released and dropped the fishing lure from its mouth.

Yellow-crowned night heron drops fishing lure from mouth

I was relieved to see that this heron was not hooked to the lure and fishing line. However, I continued to observe and photograph this heron as this bird kept picking up this lure from the sand area and trying to eat it.

After a long ten minutes, I was glad when the juvenile yellow-crowned night heron dropped this lure for the final time and walked away from it. Witnessing this bird trying to eat a lure and having a fishing line wrapped around its body was alarming to me as an individual and as a conservation photographer. This is an example of why we need to protect our birds and wildlife. We must clean up after ourselves when outside in nature so we may continue protecting birds and wildlife.

This incident with this yellow-crowned night heron juvenile trying to eat a lure made me think about what one should do as individuals in protecting birds from fishing lines, lures and hooks.

uvenile yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) with fishing lure in the water that this heron just dropped from its mouth along the shore at low tide in Mill Creek at  Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron after dropping fishing line and lure in the water along the shore at low tide in Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

Tips for protecting birds from fishing lines, lures and hooks

Firstly, dispose of all fishing gear in a proper manner such as in a trash can or pack up all your gear and take with you. Do not leave your fishing gear such as fishing, line, lures, hooks or even bait near the water or even on land. We need to make sure the water and surrounding areas are free of debris. These fishing lines, lures, hooks and metal weights present significant dangers to birds and wildlife. Here are a few tips for protecting birds from fishing lines, lures and hooks.

When practicing catch and release when fishing, do not leave the hook in the fish. Please remove the hook and dispose of the hook properly.  

If you accidentally hook a bird, try removing the hook, if possible. Call the local animal control or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or even local park rangers, if unable to remove the hook from the bird.

If you discover a bird or animal that is entangled in fishing line or hooked with a fishing hook, call the local park ranger, animal control or licensed wildlife rehabilitator so that they can assess the bird and its situation to determine what injuries the bird or animal may have.

Educate others about the harmful and deadly impacts that birds and/or wildlife have from improperly discarded fishing line, lures, hooks as well as other fishing tackle.

Lastly, if you are out in nature a lot watching, observing or even photographing birds or wildlife, it is important to have the park headquarters, local animal control and a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator phone numbers in your cell phone.

How to find a wildlife rehabilitator in your area

With this experience that I had seeing this juvenile yellow-crowned night heron in possible distress, I was unprepared as I did not have any contact information for the park headquarters, local animal control and a local wildlife rehabilitator. So, I learned this lesson and have included these contact numbers in my phone so that I am better prepared in the future.

To find a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area, the Humane Society has a listing for links to each state and where to find local wildlife rehabilitators in that state.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) picking up a fishing lure in the water during low tide in Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron kept picking up and dropping a fishing lure attached to fishing line in the water during low tide in Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

Please help keep our birds safe

As a passionate bird lover, bird photographer and conservation photographer, I urge everyone to please help keep our birds safe from fishing tackle debris by picking up after yourself, by picking up after others and by helping birds when they are in distress. Let’s keep our birds and environment safe for all of us to enjoy.

Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) unharmed by encounter with fishing line and lure in mouth during low tide along the shore of Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Juvenile yellow-crowned night heron unharmed by encounter with fishing line and lure after walking away from the fishing line and lure during low tide along the shore of Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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In the Field During Summer Solstice at Lake Drummond

Last Sunday, during the Summer Solstice, I was in the field at Lake Drummond an hour before the sunrise. Lake Drummond’s Wildlife Drive opened up early at 4:45 am for a few days during the Summer Solstice. I had never been to Lake Drummond before and found this opportunity hard to pass up. The Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive entrance gate usually opens at sunrise. The wildlife drive takes 30 minutes of driving down a gravel road to reach Lake Drummond. I thought this was an excellent opportunity for some nature photography and to capture some scenes of Lake Drummond from the wildlife drive. These views of Lake Drummond from the wildlife drive are very rarely seen and/or photographed at sunrise.

Location of Lake Drummond

Lake Drummond is a freshwater lake. The lake is within the Great Dismal Swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp is situated on the borders of Southern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina. Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive is located within the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.  The wildlife drive is 6 miles of gravel road. This gravel wildlife drive begins at the entry gate at the Railroad Ditch entrance to Lake Drummond.

In Virginia, there are a couple of other entrance points to reach Lake Drummond. These include access through the Dismal Swamp Canal or the Feeder Ditch both located in Chesapeake, Virginia.  

Facts About Lake Drummond

Lake Drummond is a 3,100-acre natural lake and is one of two natural lakes in Virginia. This freshwater lake is circular shaped and is the largest natural lake in Virginia. Lake Drummond was discovered in 1655 by an early settler from Scotland named William Drummond; thus, the lake was named after him. No one knows how Lake Drummond was formed since there are no natural streams or tributaries that empty into the lake.

Lake Drummond is in the center of the Great Dismal Swamp. Therefore, the water in Lake Drummond is dark and acid-stained. This is because of the organic acids leaking in to the water from the surrounding swamps as well as the peat soils. Lake Drummond has limited types of fish species because of the low nutrient levels in the water.

Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive is in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge land. The swamp has a very important historical significance. The swamp was part of the Underground Railroad system where escaped slaves found refuge. The escaped slaves found the densely forested wetlands of the swamps to be an isolated area away from settlers.  

Summer Solstice Sunrise

On the morning of June 20, 2021, I arrived at 4:42 am at the entrance gate to the wildlife drive. I was excited for this special Summer Solstice early entry. We, my spouse and I, drove down this gravel road to Lake Drummond in the dark hours of the morning. I saw a potential for a lot of wildlife photography. Along the wildlife drive there were areas of long leaf pines, densely forested area and of course the swamps.

Due to a hectic schedule, I was unable to scout out the wildlife drive. I normally like to see the area and know where to set up for sunrise images. However, I did some extensive online research about Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive beforehand. I relied mainly on this research to help me during my wildlife and nature photography photo outing at Lake Drummond.

Once I arrived at the end of the wildlife drive there was a small parking area. The lake was situated right off the parking area. There was a small boat ramp and an observation pier located in this area of Lake Drummond. The observation pier had a pair of stationary binoculars to view the scenery of the lake. The views included the bald cypress trees along the edges of the lake.

Lake Drummond at the blue hour of twilight during the Summer Solstice at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.
Lake Drummond at the blue hour in the twilight period during the Summer Solstice at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.

Photographing Lake Drummond During Summer Solstice

The sunrise on this Summer Solstice morning was very nice, and it was a very peaceful morning photographing the sunrise as well as the early morning views of Lake Drummond. First, I sat up my tripod on the bank of the lake. I used my Canon 6D Mark II and my wide angle lens, a Canon 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens, to photograph the twilight and sunrise. An L-bracket was attached to my camera. This allowed easy switching between horizontal and vertical orientation of my camera on my tripod. I used my timer on the camera. This is essential to photograph in the very low light prior to and during sunrise.

While photographing sunrise, I always suggest trying different angles and positions. Try not to be static or stuck in just one place with your camera. I started off with my tripod at full height and then lowered it down to get a lower perspective. Eventually, I walked around the pier and photographed from many different spots on the pier. It is important to also observe and photograph the other areas of the sky during sunrise. Try not to always focus just towards the sky where the sun will rise. Often the skies in other directions will give the best colors of a sunrise.

Lori A Cash photographing the sunrise scene at Lake Drummond during the Summer Solstice at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.
Lori A. Cash behind the scenes photographing the sunrise during the Summer Solstice at Lake Drummond located in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.

While on the pier photographing this Summer Solstice sunrise, I was fortunate to meet three local folks. These folks had embraced the opportunity and came out to spend a very peaceful morning watching the sun rise over Lake Drummond. I enjoyed meeting and talking with these folks while I continued to take photographs. It was just great to be in such an historic area, see the wonders of nature and listen to stories of those who lived in and had grown up in the area.

Morning at Lake Drummond

After the sun had risen up over Lake Drummond, it went behind a bank of clouds. I used the very cloud-filtered lighting to photograph more of Lake Drummond. I continued to move around the area and photograph the scenery around me. In addition, I kept observing for any wildlife photography potential that morning might provide. But I did not see any wildlife at the Lake Drummond spot at the end of the wildlife Drive.

Serene Lake Drummond morning during the Summer Solstice at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.
Serene Lake Drummond morning during the Summer Solstice at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.

Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive

I spent a couple of hours photographing the beautiful morning scenery of Lake Drummond. Afterwards, we drove slowly back down the 6-mile gravel wildlife drive. We watched for wildlife photography opportunities while exploring what this area had to offer.

Unfortunately, we did not see any black bears on this particular morning. However, we did see two white-tailed deer which were in non-photographable dense vegetation off walking trails. We did stop and walk the two trails, Cypress Marsh boardwalk as well as the West Ditch Boardwalk trail.

I photographed a lot of dragonflies and some butterflies flying around the marshy grasses along the edges of the wildlife drive and the trails. After finishing up the last trail and walking back to the car, I spotted a prothonotary warbler. It was the first time I was able to photograph one of these gorgeous songbirds. I managed to get a couple of shots off before it flew away.

The prothonotary warbler’s habitat has been affected by the climate change in the recent years, and this bird is listed as a species of concern.

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) landing in a tree on the last day of spring along the wildlife drive at Lake Drummond in Suffolk, Virginia.
Prothonotary Warbler landing in a tree on the last day of spring along the wildlife drive at Lake Drummond in Suffolk, Virginia.

Photography Opportunities

Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive offers a vast variety of habitats for wildlife. Some of the wildlife that can be found here include deer, black bears, frogs, turtles, songbirds, dragonflies, and butterflies. There are a lot more species of mammals and birds that can be found here. In addition to the wildlife, there are many opportunities for nature photography as well. This includes capturing the scenic views of Lake Drummond. As a conservation photographer, I see from the Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive that the Great Dismal Swamp NWR serves an important role in providing diverse habitats that wildlife need for shelter, food and breeding.

My in the field photo outing at Lake Drummond was a very successful photo outing. This was a morning of calmness and beauty among this gorgeous expanse of our natural world. It was very inspiring to see the wonders of our natural world and a privilege to document all its beauty. It is very meaningful to me to be able to share and inspire others to appreciate our natural world.

I will definitely return to photograph the wildlife, nature and landscapes at Lake Drummond Wildlife Drive in the future. My thoughts are of going back next spring. Especially when the horseflies are not as prevalent as they were on this hot summer day. In the spring when the marsh grasses have died back will allow me to see more of the wildlife potential.  

Blue dasher dragonfly resting on a blade of grass at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.
Blue dasher dragonfly resting on a blade of grass at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog , and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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Today is Nature Photography Day

June 15, 2021

Nature Photography Day is June 15th which is designated by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) to promote the enjoyment of nature photography. Nature Photography Day is a way to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes both locally and globally.

How to Celebrate Nature Photography Day

NANPA encourages people worldwide to get outside and enjoy the day by taking a camera and exploring our natural world. This could be your backyard, a nearby park, a wildlife refuge, or any other place that is close by on June 15th.

Explore our natural world with your camera and find something that interest you and capture some pictures whether it is landscapes, plant life or wildlife. Then share those images on social media with this hashtag, #NaturePhotographyDay.

Other ways to celebrate Nature Photography Day is by learning about the different plant and/or wildlife species in your local area, going birding, walking some hiking trails, and even learning about nature photography and/or nature photographers.

Nature Photography Day

I would like to urge everyone to get outside and explore the nature surroundings that are near your area. I truly hope that everyone will just take a few minutes today to appreciate our natural world. I hope you will take your camera or phone and snap a few images and share it on social media as well.

Let’s celebrate or beautiful natural world on this Nature Photography Day!

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

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Volunteering with Wild Virginia

June 13, 2021

This month, June 2021, I began volunteering with Wild Virginia which is a non-profit organization located here in Virginia. As a volunteer with Wild Virginia, I currently serve as a member of their communications team. I look forward to helping Wild Virginia to spread the word about their conservation work in Virginia and am hoping to make a difference by helping to advocate and protect our wild places in Virginia.

What is Wild Virginia

Wild Virginia is an organization that works to preserve forest ecosystems by enhancing connectivity, water & climate in Virginia. They also work to improve habitat connectivity, to educate and to provide opportunities to have adventure outings so that individuals will get to know, love and appreciate the wild places here in Virginia.

What Wild Virginia Does

This below excerpt is taken from Wild Virginia’s website. I wanted to spread the word about the missions of Wild Virginia and what this organization does to protect our water and land.

Wild Virginia educates citizens, landowners, and other stakeholders about threats to our forests through hikes, outings and events.

Wild Virginia advocates for the connectivity and integrity of Virginia’s forests and waters

Wild Virginia influences decision makers by mobilizing citizens

Wild Virginia protects Virginia’s water quality and ensures the that the laws that exist to protect it are properly applied. They also host trainings so you can learn to help monitor water quality.

Wild Virginia fights fracking and other types of oil and gas infrastructure, like the Mountain Valley Pipeline. They also take citizens, media, students and elected representatives on tours to see first-hand the impacts of this destructive industry.

Wild Virginia organizes and leads interpretive hikes, outings, and events. They believe that the places you experience are the places you come to love and care about.

Wild Virginia monitors all timber sales and projects in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Wild Virginia organizes the Virginia Safe Wildlife Corridor Collaborative working to protect both people and wildlife by reducing animal-vehicle conflicts and improving safe wildlife passage. They also help pass legislation to identify and protect wildlife corridors in our Virginia.

Wild Virginia inspires action through their Wild Virginia Film Festival and other film screenings each year.

Wild Virginia provides a place for volunteers to help out and learn more through their volunteer program.

Volunteering with Wild Virginia

As a conservation visual storyteller and photographer, I look forward to my volunteer work with Wild Virginia. Being able to be a part of an organization that works to protect, advocate, and educate for Virginia’s wild places to help make our lands and waters safer for all Virginia citizens is a very important to me as an individual and as a conservation photographer.

I enjoy photographing in these wild places in Virginia and want to ensure that these places continue to exist for future wildlife and nature photographers as well as for folks who just enjoy being out in nature.

I urge Virginians to check out Wild Virginia and to help support their efforts to protect these wonderful Virginia places that we all love to see and to explore.

As my volunteer work with Wild Virginia continues to evolve, stay tuned, as I will share more about my experiences and conservation efforts with Wild Virginia in my future Field Notes blog posts.

Lori A Cash wearing a Wild Virginia t-shirt and holding her camera and lens out in nature.
Lori A Cash at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

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In the Field at Fort Monroe National Monument

June 9, 2021

Over the past two months I have been out in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument. I have spent a lot of time capturing tons of wildlife and nature photography images. Fort Monroe National Monument is located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton, Virginia. I have even spent a full day there from sunrise to sunset. I have been fortunate to photograph a variety of birds. In addition, I have photographed many different compositions of sunrises and a sunset at Fort Monroe. The potential for wildlife photography and nature photography is very good. Every time I photograph there, I see something new, a different species of bird or a different composition for a sunrise or even a sunset.

Sunrise Photography at Fort Monroe

There are a variety of potential sunrise compositions that can be found along the beaches at Fort Monroe National Monument. There are many sunrise compositional elements that are located at Fort Monroe. These include the jetty rocks, fishing piers, sandbars at low tide, beach grass, and of course, sand and the water. The sunrise photography at Fort Monroe has provided me many different opportunities to find diverse scenes on each visit.

Fort Monroe beaches are right near the channel of the mouth of the Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay. Therefore, one of the most interesting compositional elements that I have found are the cargo ships, tankers, fishing boats and sailboats that are often in the channel in the early morning. I started incorporating these subjects into some of my sunrise compositions.

Lori A Cash in the field photographing wildlife and nature photography.
A very colorful sunrise through the silhouette trees at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.

Bird Photography at Fort Monroe

Being in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument weekly for the last two months has provided me many opportunities for wildlife photography, especially birds. I have photographed and observed a diverse amount of bird species over these last two months. There are about 8 pairs of ospreys nesting along the Mill Creek side of Fort Monroe. The osprey are often seen flying around Fort Monroe as well as hanging out at their nesting platforms and on top of light poles. I have observed and photographed several species of shorebirds at the beaches and along the rocky shoreline. Some of these shorebirds include ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, spotted sandpiper, and a pair of American oystercatchers with their one chick.

Yellow=crowned night heron walking with crab in Mill Creek at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) with crab walking towards the edge of Mill Creek to eat the crab.

I have spent a bit of time photographing a yellow-crowned night heron along the low tide mudflats of Mill Creek. I have photographed this yellow-crowned night heron catching and eating fiddler crabs and larger crabs. These herons would catch their prey and then walk back closer to the shoreline to devour their meal.

Other birds that I have observed in the field at Fort Monroe National Monument include bluebirds, purple martins, Eastern kingbirds, clapper rails, red-breasted mergansers snowy egrets, black ducks, ospreys, juvenile bald eagles, common loons, horned grebes, buffleheads, laughing gulls, common terns, royal terns, and black skimmers.

Ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage standing on the rocky shoreline at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) in breeding plumage standing on a rocky shoreline at Fort Monroe.

Sunset Photography at Fort Monroe

Most of my time in the field photographing at Fort Monroe has been in the early mornings. However, recently I did stay to photograph a sunset. I wanted to see what the potential was for sunset photography along Mill Creek at Fort Monroe. During the spring and summer, there is not a lot of compositional opportunities for sunset photography. This is because of the angle and location of the setting sun during this time frame. However, I did discover the best location at Fort Monroe for the spring and summer sunset photography, which is the marsh area in Mill Creek behind the campground at the end of Fort Monroe.

Sunset over the marshes on Mill Creek at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Sunset over the marshes at Fort Monroe captured by using three bracket exposure merged as an HDR image using Photomatix Essentials.

Location of Fort Monroe National Monument

Fort Monroe National Monument is located at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton, Virginia. Fort Monroe is surrounded by the Hampton Roads, the Chesapeake Bay and Mill Creek.

There has been a variety of wildlife and naturescapes and gorgeous sunrises that I have experienced in the field at Fort Monroe. This place is special and a haven for wildlife and nature photography. My weekly in-the-field shooting visits at Fort Monroe will now start to be more sporadic visits. But this is definitely a location where I will continue to spend a lot of time photographing.

Lori A Cash photographing the sunrise at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Lori in the field photographing the sunrise at Fort Monroe on an early spring morning.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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Caring for the Environment with Beachside Litter Challenge with Keep Norfolk Beautiful

June 02, 2021

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Keep Norfolk Beautiful held a Great American Cleanup event called Beachside Litter Challenge in Norfolk, Virginia. The purpose is to love our beaches by putting litter in its place. Picking up litter and caring for our environment we can make our world a better place for all of us.

Beachside Litter Pickup

As a conservationist and a lover of our environment, especially beaches since I spend a bit of time on the beaches photographing sunrises and shorebirds, I decided to participate in this year’s Beachside Litter Challenge held by Keep Norfolk Beautiful.

My spouse and I spent an hour on the beach at the Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk, Virginia picking up trash with the grabbers and trash bags provided by Keep Norfolk Beautiful. In our 3 hours of collecting trash off the beach and in the dunes area we collected 3 white trash bags of litter. Some of the litter we picked up included plastic wrappers from food products, clothing, empty beer bottles and beer cans, plastic straws, eye goggles, broken toys, old beach towels, plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags and lots of random small pieces of litter.

Lori A Cash picking up litter on the beach at Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk, Virginia as a participant in Beachside Litter Challenge held by Keep Norfolk Beautiful.
Lori A Cash Conservation Photography picking up litter on the beach at the Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk, Virginia as a participant in the Beachside Litter Challenge over Memorial Day weekend held by Keep Norfolk Beautiful.

Ocean View Fishing Pier

Ocean View Fishing Pier overlooks the scenic Chesapeake Bay. It is located in the town of Ocean View, Norfolk, Virginia. Ocean View Fishing Pier is the longest free-standing fishing pier in North America. This fishing pier is 1690 feet long and was built in 2005. A bait house, restaurant, game room and restrooms are located on the Ocean View Fishing Pier.

Ocean View Fishing Pier located on the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia is the largest pier in North America.
Ocean View Fishing Pier on the Chesapeake Bay on a spring evening in Norfolk, Virginia.

Caring For Our Environment

It felt great to be outside in nature and taking care of our environment and making the beach safer especially for the birds that use the beach as their habitat. Making a difference in my community is important to me as an individual and as a conservation photographer.

I urge you to spend an hour picking up litter in your area to help make our environment a better place for us and our wildlife.

Lori A Cash with bags of litter that she helped pick up as a participant in the Beachside Litter Challenge over Memorial Day weekend with Keep Norfolk Beautiful.
Lori A Cash with 3 bags of litter she helped pick up as a participant in Beachside Litter Challenge held by Keep Norfolk Beautiful over Memorial Day weekend at the Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk, Virginia.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog , and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

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Link to My Interview with Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast

May 25, 2021

I was interviewed on Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast hosted by Marsha Wietecha on May 24, 2021 where we discussed photography including my journey into the field of conservation photography as well as sharing some personal info about me. Below, I have included a link to my interview with Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast.

Talking About My Photography Journey In My Interview

In my interview with Marsha, I shared how I got started in photography and how I developed my special interest in bird photography. In addition, we discussed why conservation photography is my true calling in photography. We also talked some about the camera equipment that I use these days.

Revealing My Physical Limitations on my Interview with Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast

This personal information that I revealed in this podcast interview involves medical issues that I have been dealing with and withholding from the photography world. Since 2016, I have been having an issue with both of my eyelids drooping and involuntarily closing, on and off, all day, every day. Some days are much tougher than other days.

Over the past year, I have also developed some other symptoms including generalized weakness. I have not received a diagnosis yet, as the medical field has not been able to identify what is causing my medical issues. I wanted everyone here in the group to be aware as I revealed this info in my podcast interview.

Despite the physical limitations that I have, I still manage to do what I love most which is photographing wildlife and nature and sharing these images with others. These medical issues have given me a purpose with my wildlife and nature photography and is what has lead me to the field of conservation photography. I want my photography to matter, and I want to inspire others to advocate for and protect this beauty of our natural world including wildlife and their habitats.

My Photography Mentors Discussed on Born to Talk Radio Show Podcast

Also, in this interview with Born To Talk Radio Show, I shared the two biggest photography mentors who have influenced me and who have had the biggest impact on my developing my photography style and my storytelling skills for conservation photography. These two mentors are Art Morris and Jaymi Heimbuch.

Art Morris, renowned famous bird photographer, was my inspiration and helped me to develop my skills as a bird photographer. I studied his images, read his blogs, read his photography guides and was a participant in an Instructional Photo Tours back in December 2006. I developed my style of bird photography from his teachings.

Jaymi Heimbuch, wildlife conservation photographer/naturalist/instructor, has more recently influenced my photography as I have transitioned to the field of conservation photography and storytelling. I am learning a lot from Jaymi through taking a conservation photography 101 course from her Conservation Visual Storytellers Academy and as a member of her Wild Idea Lab. Wild Idea Lab is an paid membership community for conservation photographers and filmmakers of all levels where creative folks with diverse backgrounds can share their experiences and learn skill sets. The various tools and trainings that are offered to members of Wild Idea Lab have help guide me to reach a new level with my conservation photography.

Link to My Interview With Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast

The one-hour interview was an awesome experience as I really loved talking about photography with Marsha. Hope you will check out my interview with Born To Talk Radio Show.

I would love to hear what you think of my interview with Born To Talk Radio Show podcast.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog , and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

My Upcoming Interview on Born to Talk Radio Show Podcast

May 21, 2021

On Monday, May 24th at 4pm EST I will be interviewed by Marsha Wietecha on the Born to Talk Radio Show Podcast discussing my journey in wildlife and nature photography as well as my conservation photography. In addition, I will be sharing a little more personal information about me.

I hope you will listen to the podcast and learn more about me and my photography. The podcast will be live on Monday at 4pm, but if unable to catch it live, there will be a recording where you can listen to the episode at your convenience.

Here is the link to listen to the Born To Talk Radio Show Podcast on May 24th:

www.blogtalkradio.com/borntotalk

Click here for the Born To Talk Radio Show website about my podcast.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog , and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron


Featured

An Unusual Nesting Site for an American Oystercatcher Pair

May 19, 2021

On a late spring morning, an American oystercatcher was foraging along the rocky shoreline searching for food as the tide was coming in. I observed and photographed this American oystercatcher as it was stabbing his brightly colored orange red bill into the water at the edge of the rocks. It would consistently find oysters just under the water’s surface. Using his sharp bill, the oystercatcher would pry open the oyster shell and extract the oyster with his long bill. But instead of eating the oyster, the oystercatcher would grab the oyster in his bill and fly off, carrying the oyster to feed his chick that was nearby at its nesting site. The male oystercatcher would repeatedly go searching and finding oysters and bring them back to feed his chick while the female American oystercatcher watched over their one chick at the oystercatchers nesting site.

Pair of American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) nesting site on old marine pier where they are feeding one chick oysters at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
Pair of American oystercatchers on an old marine pier used as their nesting site. One oystercatcher is feeding chick that is hidden behind the concrete wall on the pier.

American Oystercatchers Nesting Site

I followed the oystercatcher to see where he was taking the oysters, suspecting that he was feeding chicks. I found that the pair of American oystercatchers was feeding one chick on this old marine pier located on the rocky shoreline that sits along Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia on the Hampton Roads.

Usually, American oystercatcher nests are found on the ground near vegetation on barrier beaches within the dunes, mudflats, sandy beaches, marsh islands or on dredge-spoil islands. Some pairs have even nested on gravel rooftops or rocky artificial islands, but this American oystercatcher pair at Fort Monroe found an old marine pier in the wide open along the shore on which to nest and raise their one chick.

American oystercatcher chick waiting to be feed by his parents on their nesting site on an old marine pier at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
American oystercatcher chick at nesting site on an old waiting to be feed by his parents on their nesting site on an old marine pier at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

American Oystercatcher Feeding Chick

In between the feedings, the male oystercatcher would defend the nesting territory and chick anytime a gull or tern would fly over the old marine pier. These birds are very territorial and will defend their territory especially when nesting or raising chicks. The American oystercatcher chicks rely on their parents for food until the time when the chicks’ bills are strong enough to probe and stab for food and feed themselves.

I found this location of the American oystercatchers raising their one chick to be unusual or non-typical for American oystercatchers. This old marine pier is behind a building that has a parking lot and pier located behind locked gates, so these oystercatchers are pretty safe from the human predators. Although the old pier is situated along the shore and near a marina there are a lot of gulls, terns and even an occasional bald eagle flying over this area. I was quite surprised when I happened on this pair of oystercatchers raising their chick on the old marine pier in the wide open with no vegetation around to add any protection. 

American oystercatcher feeding chick at nesting site on an old marine pier at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.
American oystercatcher feeding chick at nesting site on an old marine pier at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia.

Reference:

All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Oystercatcher/lifehistory

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

Community Input on Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia

On Saturday, May 15, 2021, The Partnership for a New Phoebus with support from the American Flood Coalition will be holding a drop by at Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This drop by will be held to gather community input on how the park can be improved as a community space and to reduce tidal and stormwater flooding.

Phoebus Waterfront Park has been a special place for me as I have been photographing at this location a lot this past year. The wintering brown pelicans roost here at the pilings off the dock at the park, and there are a lot of wintering ducks like buffleheads that are swimming in Mill Creek where this Phoebus Waterfront Park is located. I plan to stop by and give my support and input as a conservation photographer and as a photographer that frequently photographs at this location.

Here are a couple of images that I have captured at Phoebus Waterfront Park.

Hope you will stop by and give your input on how Phoebus Waterfront Park can be better for the community and for you.

Bufflehead drake swimming in the golden waters of the sunrise light in Mill Creek at Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia.
Bufflehead drake swimming in the golden waters of the sunrise light in Mill Creek at Phoebus Waterfront Park in Hampton, Virginia.

*raindate would be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope you will share this with others.  

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

Copyright © 2021 Lori A Cash

behind the scenes bird conservation birds brown pelicans butterflies Chesapeake Bay conservation cover photo crabbing boat fox kits fox pups Hampton Roads Hampton Roads Community Hampton Roads conservation photographer Hampton Roads Virginia Hampton Roads wildlife photographer Hampton Virginia in the field local event Lori A Cash monarch butterfly nature Norfolk Botanical Garden Outer Banks of North Carolina photography photo story Pied-billed Grebe red foxes red fox family red fox kit Save The Seabirds Week Seabirds sunrise Virginia Virginia bird conservation Virginia conservation Virginia Conservation Network Virginia conservation photographer Virginia wildlife conservation Virginia wildlife photographer welcome wildlife wildlife conservation wildlife photography yellow-crowned night heron

Featured

Finalist in Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest by Outdoor Photographer

I am very proud and excited to share that the above image titled “American Bullfrog Sitting on Pine Needles” was announced as one of the 30 finalists in the Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest by Outdoor Photographer. There were over 1,000 images entered into this contest and only 30 images made it as finalists.

Last year I spent a lot of time photographing the bullfrogs at Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, Virginia, and I captured many great images of the bullfrogs. So, I am very happy that one of these bullfrog images received some recognition.

Check out the slideshow of the 30 finalists images of the Great Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest by Outdoor Photographer, here.

All the best,

Lori

https://linktr.ee/LoriACash

behind the scenes