A Saturday In Mid October

Saturday was a beautiful sunny fall day. This Rusty Blackbird was photographed in full fall plumage. Breeding adult males are black in color females gray. I rather prefer this out of breeding season look.

Rusty Blackbird (click on photos to enlarge)

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European Starlingeuropean-starling-6531

Another bird with fall plumage I prefer over It’s breeding look is the European Starling. Not a popular bird for sure and many consider it drab, however in the fall it does look quite different.

Great Blue Heron
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Passing the beaver damn I flushed out a Great Blue Heron. Fortunately it flew to a nearby spot even better suited for my photography needs.

I want to thank those whose blogs I follow, you have helped me become a better photographer. Not that I am in your league, some of you are amazing!

To those who follow me thank you, I am humbled. Just trying to improve my photography and share what I love about nature and The Great Swamp Conservancy.

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A Little Of This and …”Whoa”

Started out this particular morning photographing sparrows. Water levels being low offered  access to a spot at swamps edge opposite dense vegetation where many sparrows were busying themselves. It was relaxing watching them and a challenge (as always) to get a good shot.

Swamp Sparrowswamp-sparrow-5963Leaving this area I made my way to the trails on higher elevation. This land is dry and bordered by woods on the side opposite the swamp. Upon hearing the call of an unfamiliar bird I readied the camera and tripod, slowly making way to the tree from where the call came. All of a sudden, “Whoa” I wasn’t expecting this, an eight point buck stopped grazing  coming to trails edge to check me out.

White-tailed Deerwhite-tailed-deer-5879Turning the camera towards him I quickly snapped this shot,he was very close. To close for his comfort as he quickly took off.  white-tailed-deer-5880 white-tailed-deer-5882Imagine my surprise while taking these pictures another eight point buck comes into the viewfinder.white-tailed-deer-5888 Unfortunately I missed the money shot. One of the deer stood broadside  looking my way before entering the woods.I snapped a shot but it was unusable,blurry. Not the best deer photos but it’s what I got and a pretty good representation of a pleasant morning spent enjoying nature at the Great Swamp Conservancy.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (female)

images captured September 24 2016
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There are two subspecies of the Yellow-rumped warbler. In the east we have the Myrtle Warbler in which the female has has a whitish throat. In the western United States the subspecies is know as the Audubon’s Warbler she has a yellow throat. To learn more of the Yellow-rumped Warbler check out Cornell Universities All About Birds website.

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In Appreciation

Entering a deer trail in the late spring of 2015 I encountered this beautiful Black-billed Cuckoo. Being a novice bird photographer  I was anxious for good shots and excited to shoot a species new to me.black-billed-cuckoo-17361

Black-billed Cuckoo 1776

 

Fortunately  this bird showed much patience. As I fumbled with my camera, tripod, changed settings and read histograms, this bird sat and observed. It allowed me to get some good images and become more familiar with my gear. The Cuckoo was present (off and on) over the course of a few weeks,then nothing, gone, over a year now.

Exiting the main trail recently, near the entrance of the deer trail, a startled bird flies from the ground for the cover of a tree.  “Probably a Robin” I thought, as they commonly search for worms on the mowed trail. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity I took aim in the tree. What a pleasant surprise, a Black-billed Cuckoo! In two days the image below was the best shot the bird allowed. Likely this is not the bird from last year, but then again, what if it was?

I would have liked to click off a few photos in appreciation and for old times sake. Nonetheless, a memory created over one year ago of a novice photographer and a species of bird new to him is satisfaction enough.

Black-billed Cuckoo  1977

click on any image to enlarge

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Bull Thistle

Bull Thistle is an introduced wildflower to North America that many view as an invasive weed. Which ever your point of view there is no denying many of our  animals use this spiny plant for food.

Post bloom, thistle down is produced. This will eventually allow the wind to carry seeds to new destinations. Unless of course an American Goldfinch (seen here) gets there first. Goldfinch are very skilled at removing the seed from the thistle down.

While Dark-eyed Junco’s and small mammals also enjoy the seed, Eastern Cottontail Rabbits and White-Tailed Deer enjoy the spiny leaves and stems.

click on images to enlarge

Images captured August 13 2016

The Dog Days Of Summer

 

A Killdeer search’s for food, taking advantage of the soft soil at the edge of a receding  swamp. This being the result of a season with below average rainfall.

Nearby a Garter Snake (harmless) has left the safety of the tall wetland grasses where he resides. Vulnerability a price he will pay to bask in the warmth of the morning sun.

And on a hill overlooking both, a Robin is beginning its molt. Not pretty, but necessary. And when completed, a healthy new set of feathers just in time for the harsher months.

The dog days of summer are here, at The Great Swamp Conservancy.

Click on images to enlarge

Images captured  August 7 2016

Pleasant Surprises

Walking the trail and coming to the end of the Swamp to my surprise I encountered a small flock of Great Egrets. A bird almost hunted to extinction in the 1800’s for their beautiful feathers.I have seen them at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge but not at The Great Swamp Conservancy. Some were flying overhead, others perched together within the swamp. I assume they are migrating, stopping here for rest and nutrition.

 

I didn’t get good pictures of the Great Egrets, still, it was satisfying seeing them here. Those were my thoughts while putting away photography gear. Suddenly something caught my eye, an Osprey had landed on the telephone pole nearby. Grabbing the camera from the seat of my SUV I took a few photos.

It just goes to show,  whether deep within the trail system or at the outer edges, pleasant surprises await you at The Great Swamp Conservancy’s East Side Trail System.

Images captured July 31 2016