Turtles

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One day last week I had to stop several times to let turtles cross the road in front of me. Here are a few shots of them at different places in the refuge, and one shot at Colonial Lake closer to home.

Diamondback Terrapin.

Diamondback Terrapin.

Snowy Egret with turtle under water in background.

Diamondback Terrapin at Colonial Lake.

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Silent Sunday

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I don’t know the name of the following flowers. If you do, please tell me.

Update: I searched for this flower image on the Internet, and it’s a Pink Evening Primrose!

Pink Evening Primrose.

Pink Evening Primrose.

Pink Evening Primrose.

Osprey Feeding Time

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I arrived at the nest just as the male Osprey brought in a fish it had caught that morning, presumably after it had eaten the head. The female Osprey was waiting with two lanky and hungry young chicks.

Female Osprey with two chicks. Male was in the back after flying in the fish it had caught.

Having delivered breakfast, the male Osprey flew up to his perch, but he seemed to be nibbling something at his feet.

“What is he eating up there?”

Feeding time.

Mama feeding chicks while Papa watched out for intruders.

Sky Divers

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Forster’s Terns have impressive sky diving skills when they hunt for fish, and I have been trying to capture them doing aerial acrobatics in photos. Yesterday’s several of them put on a fantastic show at the refuge under a sunny sky.

Forster’s Tern hovering.

Forster’s Tern hovering.

Forster’s Tern starting dive.

Dive, dive!

Forster’s Tern diving straight into water.

Early Birds – 2

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This evening, I tried to shoot more photos near the bird feeder, and surprised two birds, one full of color, the other blander.

A Northern Cardinal flew in and landed on a magnolia branch. It shook itself as if to get rid of some water, and that’s when I took this photo. He was one of the reddest Cardinals I have ever seen.

Northern Cardinal.

A young female House Finch did not see me until I took her picture.

Female House Finch.

Early Birds

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This morning, I went out on the deck and took pictures of the early birds that came for breakfast. Some looked very young, and they may be this year’s fledglings.

Blue Jay.

Northern Cardinal: “Peekaboo!”

Blue Jay: “I see you!”

Young male House Finch.

Young Carolina Chickadee.

Black Skimmers

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A flock of Black Skimmers, those amazing birds that draw perfectly straight lines with their beaks on the water as they look for fish, was parked on a sand bar at the refuge. They were quite far away from me, and those that were fishing were flying fast.

Black Skimmers.

Two Black Skimmers.

Two Black Skimmers. The one in front must have just missed a fish.

Here’s a picture of one that I took last year.

Black Skimmer 2017.

Here’s one from 2015 where the straight line is seen clearly.

Black Skimmer in action

Last Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

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The link for this final Weekly Photo Challenge is:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/all-time-favorites/

Here are my submissions:

The Wave at Coyotes Buttes North.

From inside The Wave looking out.

Clashing waves.

More clashing waves.

Wavy and graceful lines imprinted on red sandstone by the forces of nature.

Ocean wave near Barnegat Lighthouse.

Barn Swallows

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Barn Swallows live under a bridge at Fortescue, NJ. While observing the Horsehoe Crabs, I saw these birds darting around the bridge. They were too fast for me to catch them in flight. After a long time, two of them decided to rest on wood pilings and calmly posed for pictures.

Barn Swallow, female.

Barn Swallow, female.

Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallow, male.

Horseshoe Crabs 2018 – 2

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Here are some more photos to give you an idea of what the annual Horseshoe Crab egg feast is like on the South Jersey shoreline.

Sanderlings and other birds near an upside down Horseshoe Crab.

Shore birds, including Red Knots to the left of image, waiting for Horseshoe Crabs eggs being spawned on the right.

Shore birds flying up as a Bald Eagle passed by.

Red Knots, Dunlins, Sanderlings eating eggs by upturned Horseshoe Crab.

A couple of Laughing Gulls had needs other than food to be met.

Laughing Gulls temporarily did not care for Horseshoe Crab eggs.

Northern Mockingbird

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While watching the Horseshoe Crab egg feast at Fortescue, I saw several other kinds of smaller birds flying around. One of them was a Northern Mockingbird that openly paraded on the road.

Northern Mockingbird crossing the road.

Northern Mockingbird looking at intruder.

The bird was very active flying in and out of some bushes by the road. Inside one of the bushes was a juvenile waiting to be fed.

Juvenile Northern Mockingbird.

The adult fed the youngster several times, but I could not see whether it was with a Horseshoe Crab egg or not.

Northern Mockingbird feeding juvenile.

The juvenile kept asking for more as the adult contemplated what to do next.

Northern Mockingbird.

Finally it flew up to an electric wire, surveying the landscape.

Northern Mockingbird on electric wire.

Horseshoe Crabs 2018

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This year I had to go twice to the South Jersey shore at Fortescue, NJ to photograph Horseshoe Crabs as they come ashore to mate. It rained heavily last weekend, and I had to shoot from the car quickly before the camera got wet.

Upturned Horseshoe Crab, still alive.

Red-winged Blackbird eating Horseshoe Crab eggs.

The second time was yesterday, with plenty of sunshine. There were tens of thousands of birds of all kinds on a stretch of the beach no more than a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) long.

Sandpipers, Laughing Gulls at the mouth of Oyster Creek. The rocks in the water are Horseshoe Crabs.

Red Knots depend on Horseshoe Crab eggs to replenish their energy during their long migration flight of 9,300 miles (15,000 km) from the tip of South America to the Artic. This year there were many of them, and they appeared well fed and in good shape.

Red Knots (orange breasts) on beach at Fortescue, NJ.

Cedar Waxwing

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Cedar Waxwings are quite common birds native to North and Central America. They live all year round in our area. However, it was only until yesterday that I could photograph one. It was perched high on a branch by the water at Colonial Lake. A band of them were flying around eating insects. They are normally fruit eaters but there was no fruit to be found yet at this time of the year.

Cedar Waxwing.

Cedar Waxwing.

Cedar Waxwing flying away.

 

Lotus – 2014

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Recently I inadvertently deleted some old posts and images from 2014. Today, another in a long string of rainy days for this week, I went back to my archives and recreated the images below. It appears that there are some viewers who have been trying to look at the images, which happen to be Lotus flowers from a pond near our house.

Pink Lotus.

White and Pink Lotus.

Pink Lotus.

American Robins

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The American Robin shown below was making so much noise and movement that I had to take its picture.

American Robin, excited and shouting.

The target for its cries was another Robin, who watched it very nonchalantly.

American Robin, cool and relaxed.

Here are the two of them in one photo.

Two Robins.

Perhaps the shouting Robin was a juvenile clamoring for food, and the older bird did nothing, as a way of telling the younger one to go find its own worm. Just my guess.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake

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This morning a Bald Eagle stood on the same branch at Colonial Lake in Lawrenceville, NJ for at least an hour, probably digesting its breakfast as people took turns photographing it. Lighting was ideal, and the bird let us come as close as we wanted.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake.

Bald Eagle at Colonial Lake looking at photographer.

Paw Paw Flowers

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Our Paw Paw (Asimina Triloba) trees are loaded with flowers this year, even before any leaf appeared. Here are some shots of the flowers, which promise a bountiful harvest  of Paw Paw fruit, also known as Quaker Delight or Hillbilly Mango, in the fall.

Paw Paw flowers.

Paw Paw flowers.

Paw Paw flowers.

Paw Paw flower.

Forster’s Terns

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The following pair of Forster’s Terns were unconcerned by my presence as I parked close to the guardrail where they were perched. They seemed busy deciding when to plunge into the marsh water to look for fish.

“Lots of fish down there! High tide is bringing them into the marsh.”

“Here we go, 1, 2, …3”

“I can’t do it!”

“Sure you can! Go!”

Forster’s Tern hovered before coming back to the guardrail.

“Again!”

Flight.

Landing.

Standing.

Goslings

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Conversations between Canada Goose goslings at the refuge in yesterday’s 90°F (32°C).

“Mommy said we should be eating veggies!”

“Here are some!”

“Look at her chewing that grass!”

“She’s right, it’s yummy!”

“Mommy is always right!”

Canada Goose and goslings.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

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The URL for this challenge is: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/lines-2018/

Here are my interpretations of it:

Starlings on power lines.

Bridge to nowhere, in South Jersey.

Railroad tracks near Kootenai Falls, MT.

Saturday Birds

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Spring is a frenetic time for birds as it is their breeding season and they are very busy courting, building up their nests and their bodies for the rigor of incubating, and in general preparing for the arrival of the next generation. Last Saturday I took the following shots of a variety of birds carrying out those spring activities.

Flying tissue: a female Northern Cardinal ferrying a piece of tissue toward her nest.

Eastern Phoebe between trilling to attract mate. Updated after Eliza’s comment below.

House Wren taking over Bluebird birdhouse.

Snowy Egret caught first fish.

Snowy Egret caught second fish.

Snowy Egret caught third fish.  

Spring Flowers

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It’s amazing how a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures brought forth the beauty of Spring as flowers rival one another to bloom and display their colors. I took the following shots over two different mornings around our house.

Daffodils.

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra Spectabilis) “Alba”.

Magnolia Soulangiana.

Jane Magnolia.

Jane Magnolia.

Jane Magnolia.

Eastern Bluebird, Finally

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The Eastern Bluebird is one of the prettiest birds with its vivid blue and rusty colors, at least for the males. As usual for birds, the females are gray and not as noticeable in the wild. It’s a bird I have not been able to photograph successfully until now, despite putting out four Bluebird houses around our backyard. House Wrens usually end up taking over those birdhouses and I have not yet found a way to discourage them from doing so.

Today, I was photographing some yellow Magnolia flowers when a male Eastern Bluebird flew by and perched not more than 10 feet (3 m) from me. It stayed there for a while, perhaps checking out a nearby birdhouse, and allowed me to take the following photos.

Male Eastern Bluebird.

Male Eastern Bluebird.

Male Eastern Bluebird.

Male Eastern Bluebird.

Frisbee

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I haven’t taught my Golden Retriever, Jackie, too many tricks, but one game she loves to play is frisbee. Neither she or I are very good at it. However, over the past few days warm and sunny weather has allowed us to play a few games of frisbee as you can see below.

Jackie missing the frisbee.

Jackie bringing the frisbee back.

Jackie accelerating with frisbee in her mouth.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

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The URL for this challenge is: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/prolific/

This week we were gifted a Natal Lily (Clivia Miniata) with bright orange blooms which immediately brightened our living room. The plant originates from South Africa and is reputed to be a prolific bloomer as well as a nearly indestructible house plant in our temperate climate. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, so it is related to the better known Amaryllis flowers. However, it is much sturdier and requires less care. Even benign neglect, especially as far as watering, would do.

Here are some photos I took of this new plant as soon as the sun made its appearance inside our house.

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).

Clivia Miniata (Natal Lily).