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)


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
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.


Turning On The Charm


click on image to enlarge
muskrat-5281The muskrats natural enemy is the mink. They are so good in water they can swim backwards and stay submerged for 15 minutes at a time.

To learn more please visit http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/muskrat.htm

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

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.



Labor Day Weekend

Ecstatic would best describe my feelings on the images I captured this weekend at The Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota New York. Saturday the Green Heron (pictured  below) spent time atop this old tree paying me little mind.

Green Heron A 4905

Sunday a pair of Green Herons were perched on tree limbs far out in the swamp.We observed each other (and I took some photos) for twenty minutes. Surprisingly one of the Herons decided to fly in my direction landing on some fallen trees a mere 60 or so feet away.

Green Heron 5481

Once he flew closer to me we enjoyed a 45 minute photo shoot. He walked and at times took brief flight to different locations in this general area (getting as close as 20 feet away). This Heron’s accommodation allowed me to get so many great shots of him in different poses and with different backgrounds. I couldn’t be happier for the way this worked out.Green Heron 5532 

The Heron pictures alone would have made this weekend’s photography sessions a success. However, there was more. As I entered the end of the swamp Saturday morning I encountered another species new to me. A Northern Harrier (hawk) this one  a juvenile (if not it is the adult female). I liked this image, a beautiful bird.Northern Harrier 4787

Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer is now coming to a close. For this amateur bird photographer it couldn’t have been better.

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