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

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