I am amateur photographer and nature enthusiast Joe DuChene, and this is my personal website. My goal is to promote The Great Swamp Conservancy of which I am a member. Please visit their official sites linked here on the blogroll. Better yet come hike the conservancys east side trail system, it's what I enjoy and where all these images were captured.
Mid to late summer as their ducklings become juveniles Mallard Ducks acquire what is known as eclipse plumage. As a result of the yearly molt males lose their distinctive shiney green heads and look suprisingly like females. Looking closely you can tell the difference – male beaks are of a greenish hue while the females are yellow and black.
During the few weeks of the molt the ducks are incapable of flight. This fact is what inabled me to take this photo; otherwise the birds would have flown upon noticing my arrival.
When courtship begins in the fall the males will have their distinctive look back and the cycle of life continues.
A colorful and beautiful bird you’re just as apt to see at at a bird feeder as in the wild, is the Blue Jay. This is a photo I am particularily fond of which was taken in the fields of the Great Swamp Conservancy.
The next photo is of a colorful bird you most likely will not find at your feeder. However within the Conservancy this year there seemed to be quite a few, Blue-winged Warblers.
This last bird photo was taken this morning near the Beaver dam, a ten to fifteen week old male Ring-necked Pheasant. It was an exciting find for me as I know last year the GSC released numerous pheasants into the wild which were raised here. So it would seem their efforts have paid off! This male will have a shiny green head in another four to five weeks. I’d like my shot at photographing him again at that time.
Nature is always evolving and so is life within the confines of the GSC. Why not come out to the trails and see what is new today and at the same time you may even be adding a little color to your life.
What the following post lacks in verbiage I have tried to compensate for with image quality.
Thanks to the GSC for the numerous acres of scrubland it maintains. An environment in which many birds prefer, if not require to thrive. Their efforts are not in vain; as an example I present numerous photos of the Yellow Warbler taken this spring.
click on photos to enlarge
The combination of sunshine and a Yellow Warbler makes for an exciting photographic opportunity, and can be a testament to the warmth of the season.
A season of growth and colour which seems to contrast the previous season of cold and stagnation. A season of hope.
The beauty in these springtime scenes bestows an uplifting of spirit.
Upon leaving the conservancy Sunday I stopped a few miles away, along Black Creek at Verona Beach State Park. The intent was to take some photos of ducks with their chicks. There were none on this day, however. What I did come away with was not quite so cute.
click on photo to enlarge
Dining on something that smelled horrendous, a startled group of Turkey Vultures took short flight to the nearby trees upon my presence.
Enjoying nature comes from not getting what you expect but rather from observing what you’re given.
In 1938, the Union Oil Company discovered that by injecting a strong-smelling organic chemical called mercaptan into gas lines, they could readily find leaks by monitoring vulture activity above the pipelines. Some mercaptans smell like rotting cabbage or eggs. They and related chemicals are released as carcasses decompose.
The above paragraph was taken from an article found at Cornell University’s All About Birds web site. You can click here to read the complete article.
Last Sunday’s birding walk was cut very short due to rain (contrary to what the weather service I use had stated). Before the rains drove me away (for the sake of my rather pricey camera and lens) I managed a couple of images.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Waiting at the edge of the swamp for some ducks to travel past I noticed this Canada Goose nesting atop a beaver lodge.
Viewing the scene above a song bird could be heard close behind me. It turned out to be the first warbler sighting of the year, a Myrtle Warbler.
The rains arrived shortly after this photo was taken forcing me out of the trails prematurely. However I left optimistic for what this Myrtle Warbler represents to me; the start of spring/summer birding season.
Lastly here is a different version of a photo from the last post, because I rather like it.
The Allman Brothers Play through headphones as I edit bird photos at 2 a.m.. I am anticipating good fortune for todays photo shoot as they call for morning sun [fingers crossed]. Until then I will drink hot coffee and post a few shots taken within the east side trail system of the GSC this spring.
(click photos to enlarge)
Thats about it for this post. Soon I will be off attempting to capture more usable images. Chances should be very good as spring migration is in full swing. More and more birds will be arriving in the coming days and weeks filling the trails with song, color and activity.
On the way out I have something to add:
These boys reside across the street from where I often park. Not early risers, for you will only hear them bleating around dawn. Later on however they will be in the field checking me out as I break down my tripod and put gear away.
I look forward to seeing them later today, with a camera full of images. Keeping my fingers crossed.