Friday, November 30, 2007

Adirondack Park, NY

We just submitted photos for a photo contest. All of these photos were taken in the Adirondack park in New York. Some were taken in early July and some were taken this Fall (late Sept/early Oct). It was very hard to narrow down all the photos taken this year in the ADK to just 10. I just loved the reflections this year. We missed the peak of the hummingbirds this summer but the photo of this female Ruby throated amuses me as she lands on the pine needles.

Here are the 10 photos that Tom entered. Many were taken along my favorite roads, Rt 73. The Osprey are a new pair this year. The previous pair had been at that nest spot for perhaps 8 years and they were quite accustomed to people. This pair was very leery and as you can see, she kept a close eye on Tom. I also have TONS of osprey images from this year. Tom would wait and wait for the male to bring in fish for the female, but this "new husband" was not a great provider and would often show off his catch to his mate but not leave it for her/their young like he was supposed to (he is "supposed to" eat the head andd leave her the rest of the fish. First year pairs are often not successful in raising young. This new pair did manage to raise one baby this year, but it was very slow to mature and it did not fledge until late summer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bombay Hook, Delaware

We got up Tuesday for one more sunrise at Chincoteague. It was mostly cloudy but the sky was lined with pink streaks and we had four minutes of a really spectacular sunrise.

Tom did use the Skimmer (and MY 500mm lens) later in the morning at the beach where he soldier crawled to photograph some Willets and Plovers in the waves.

Before we left Assateague we did get to see the Wild Horses again.

We left for Delaware, after a full morning of photography in VA, to head for Bombay Hook. We went straight to the Refuge where we immediately greeted by a Red Fox, then another and then another -- and the lighting was GREAT! The second fox was right on the road, leaping and bouncing (for prey) like a child playing. She was completely oblivious to us even as Tom braved the mosquitos and got out of the car to photograph her. He was laying down on the road to photograph her, but he could not change his large 300mm lens for a ligher lens because of the ferocious mosquitos. He still managed to get more than two dozen images. He captured images with him trotting, looking over his shoulder, drinking, etc. I just enjoyed watching the Fox from the car because of the mosquitos!

There were also a bunch of Northern Harriers (females) hunting in the meadows -- flying low. We also scoped out the snow geese location -- there were a couple thousand snow geese in Shearness Pool. The only bad thing was the horrendous mosquitos -- we did not anticipate this (but I was prepared and climbed into the back for our bug shirts). The mosquitos were Bionic and fast -- open the car door and hundreds flew in. How that many could find us that fast was beyond us! Outside of Black Fly season in the Adironacks I have never seen anything like it!!!

At sunset (with our bug shirts now on) we had fun with both the sun and the wonderful grasses and crops all around. I just love the way that Tom framed the setting sun with this grass.

Wednesday, for our last morning, we got up very early and were at the gates at Bombay before 6am. The temperature was just right, chilly enough that there were none of those horrific mosquitos but not too cold for us. We drove in and only got to Raymond Pool where THOUSANDS of snow geese had spent the night. The sunrise was spectacular!!

The snow geese blasted off TWICE! WOW! We had heard and saw many blastoffs in Assateague, but not this many and not this close -- it was overwhleming! In Assateague the first Blastoff that we saw was perhaps 2000 snow geese, but they flew right over us so it was quite a sight. Their numbers increased while we were there and one day there was ~6000 snow geese. Bombay had twice that number! The sound of their wings alone, even without their honking, was deafening. What a magical experience!

After the blast off ("the finale" to our trip) we drove around the refuge a couple of times looking for fox (none) and raptors (LOTS). We saw a Golden Eagle, an American Kestrel, Great Blue Heron, a Belted Kingfisher, some rather large Red Tailed hawks, LOTS of Northern Harriers and two large flocks of Avocets (plus all kinds of geese, ducks and waterfowl). It was a great ending to a great trip.
Now for a change...tomorrow no geese but some delectable TURKEY. Mmmm

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Chinoteague

Yesterday we had a spectacular sunrise, followed by an exciting day full of birds (and wild horses).

Other highlights, besides the glorious sunrise and sunset, included "clocking" a Belted Kingfisher at 40 mph as he flew in the canal beside the road that we were driving on, seeing 5000-10,000 snow geese (and seeing them blast off time and time again as a Bald Eagle stalked them, and watching a pair of Bald Eagles try to catch a duck. The snow geese were took up more than two football fields in the pond. Tom loved watching the predator!

I also added a Rusty Blackbird to my lifelist. We saw lots of red winged blackbirds and a birder pointed out a few rusty blackbirds traveling with them (I photographed a few for record shots). The wild horses here are usually in one area and we have seen them every day, including a few pretty close. But there were 10 escapees that jumped over the barbed wire and 4 of them wandered onto the Wild Life loop -- so we were within touching distance of them. Tom even laid down on the ground to get a different perspective while photographing them.
It has been generally very warm out. One morning for sunrise we had to wear out thermals and one evening the wind picked up and it was cold but almost 60 during the day. Sunrise does come early but luckily so does sunset -- and the inspiration to get up early is great.

Today we did not have a great sunrise or sunset, but this allowed us to be a little more creative and hence we still had a good day. After sunset we took photos with the shutter open for long exposure and had a little fun. We watched a Great Egret sit in a canal as the tide came in and catch fish after fish, just waiting, anticipating when he/she would strike next. The Sika deer (there are also white tailed deer on the island) were out in great numbers today, closer than the previous days which was a nice treat.