Flying Lessons

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Several young Bald Eagles were flying around a small island in the middle of the marsh. Some attempted to catch a fish but failed.

Young Bald Eagle.

Young Bald Eagle.

Young Bald Eagle.

The one above landed on the island where a mature Bald Eagle was watching everything.

Young Bald Eagle landing on island.

For several minutes the older Bald Eagle seemed to be calling to the new arrival.

Young Bald Eagle landing. Note the older Bald Eagle calling.

After the young one landed and stood to the side, the mature Bald Eagle kept calling, perhaps telling the younger one to fly again and go catch some fish.

Mature Bald Eagle: “Go catch some fish!”

Finally the younger Bald Eagle had to take off again.

Young Bald Eagle resumed flying.

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Bald Eagle Courtship

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Yesterday at the refuge, a pair of Bald Eagles were flying in a courtship ritual that was dramatic, fast, and hard to catch for my camera. They were alternatively soaring to the sky and plunging toward the marsh at high speed. Often they were too far from where I was, and I could only get good focus on about half of the shots. The following photos will give you an idea of what took place.

Bald Eagle flying in courtship ritual.

Bald Eagle flying in courtship ritual.

Bald Eagle flying in courtship ritual.

Bald Eagle flying in courtship ritual.

Two Bald Eagles flying in courtship ritual.

Two Bald Eagles flying in courtship ritual.

Two Bald Eagles flying in courtship ritual.

Great Blue Heron and Willet

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A Great Blue Heron held in its bill a small fish that it had caught. A Willet had just caught a bigger fish, and flew up right in front of the heron. I was too far and actually did not see this small drama until I got home and displayed the image on my computer monitor. It looks like the Willet was bragging about its catch, and the heron was by no means happy.

Great Blue Heron and Willet.

Here’s a closer look.

Great Blue Heron and Willet.

Red Amaryllis

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As of today, the Amaryllis I have been photographing for the past two weeks has opened six of its eight flower buds. Here are some close up of these brilliant red flowers. As the blooms grow larger, it is more difficult to capture all of them in one frame. I am already standing in another room to take the following shots.

Amaryllis.

Amaryllis.

Amaryllis.

Birds in Autumn

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The American Goldfinch stands out with its bright yellow coloring in Spring and Summer. The rest of the year, when they are not breeding, their colors are more subdued, even drab, although they still remain very cute.

American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch.

Another ubiquitous bird is the Red-winged Blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird at Edwin B Forsythe NWR..

The female Red-winged Blackbird does not have that red and yellow patch on her wings.

Female Red-winged Blackbird at Edwin B Forsythe NWR..

In the fall, Red-winged Blackbirds often join with European Starlings to form flocks of birds that roam through refuges, importuning even Bald Eagles.

Bald Eagle at Blackwater NWR being buzzed by Red-winged Blackbird.

The smaller birds temporarily took over a favorite perch of the Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR.

Red -winged Blackbirds swarming a Bald Eagle favorite tree.

Finallly, many flocks of Canada Geese flew over the non-migrating Bald Eagle.

Canada Geese flying over Bald Eagle at Blackwater NWR.

Canada Geese at Blackwater NWR.

Tundra Swans, Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR

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Just before Thanksgiving, I went to look for Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles to photograph. I drove first to Maryland’s Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a place that is threatened with closure for lack of funding. At the present time, there is only one employee left at Eastern Neck. He told me Tundra Swans have started arriving, but only a few have, and they were staying far from the refuge coastline.

Next I went on to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD. From the Visitor Center, I could see four Tundra Swans , but it was not easy to photograph them as they were too far. The following photo shows one of them waking up from a midday nap, stretching a wing and a leg. I hope to have better images in late December or next January as the swans arrive in greater numbers at Eastern Neck NWR.

Tundra Swan among Canada Geese at Blackwater NWR.

Blackwater NWR is famous for its Bald Eagles, with some staying there all year round. This is one pair that could be seen from Wildlife Drive.

Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR.

After watching that pair, I drove around Wildlife Drive for a second time, and found another pair, unless it was the same one above that moved to a different location. This couple was perched on a dead tree sticking out of the water.

Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR. “Not so loud, dear!”

One of the eagles kept calling out for several minutes.

Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR. “I will be as loud as I want!”

Finally, the one that was calling flew off.

Bald Eagle flying at Blackwater NWR.

It went in circle, looping around several times, putting on a majestic show for the visitor photographer.

Bald Eagle flying at Blackwater NWR.

Bald Eagle flying at Blackwater NWR.

Then it landed back to its perch on the dead tree.

Bald Eagle flying at Blackwater NWR.

Bald Eagle landing on perch Blackwater NWR. Note the other bird that remained at its position.

Bald Eagle landing on perch at Blackwater NWR.

Bald Eagle back on perch at Blackwater NWR.

Autumn Scenes

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Some more shots of autumn scenes around Acadia National Park.

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park.

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park.

These photos were taken a month ago. By now, Acadia probably looks bleak, like the frozen ferns in the following shots.

Ferns at Pretty Marsh Picnic Area, Acadia National Park.

Ferns at Pretty Marsh Picnic Area, Acadia National Park.

Boulders

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It has been raining all day, heavy at times. A remedy for that is the following shots taken in Acadia National Park only three weeks ago. It was cloudy and rainy too, but autumn colors were still vivid, and there were some interesting boulders.

View from top of South Bubble.

The famous rock on top of South Bubble mountain.

Another boulder near the above one.

Another boulder in the same area of South Bubble mountain.

Big boulder near Pretty Marsh Picnic Area in Acadia National Park.

Autumn scene near Bass Harbor, ME.

Birds in Flight

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You won’t believe how many times I have missed capturing, or badly captured, birds in flight. Two days ago, at the refuge, I finally was able to get several good shots of a Great Blue Heron as it took off from the marsh.

Great Blue Heron in flight.

Great Blue Heron in flight.

Great Blue Heron in flight.

On the same day, a Great Egret also put on a good show.

Great Egret in flight.

Great Blue Heron in flight.

Great Blue Heron in flight.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon

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The Ospreys have migrated from the refuge to warmer places down South, leaving their nests empty. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon was preening and posing in one of the nests for about five minutes, enough time for the following shots.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon.

It was banded on both feet, however I could not make out what the letters or numbers were. Peregrine Falcons are no longer on the endangered species list, but people are still very keen on helping it make a come back after it became almost extinct between 1950 and 1970.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon preening.

“Yeah, did you see me do the scratch?”

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon getting ready to fly.

Unfortunately a flock of Sanderlings distracted me for a minute, and when I looked back at the nest the Peregrine Falcon was no longer there.

Eastern Box Turtle

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An Eastern Box Turtle crossed my path as I drove out of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge yesterday. It was a small but colorful turtle that moved very slowly, allowing me to circle it and take the following shots. It was the smallest adult turtle that I have ever seen, measuring about 5 in (12 cm).

Eastern Box Turtle, a female from the color of the eyes. Males would have red eyes.

Eastern Box Turtle.

Eastern Box Turtle.

Eastern Box Turtles often get run over by cars, and are now classified as vulnerable. People (children) also like to have them as pets because they are small and colorful, but they require good care in order to survive.

Colonial Lake Wildlife

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Colonial Lake close to home is quite small, but it has a good variety of wildlife. An old Canada Goose, named Hank by the locals, does not seem to fly any more and enjoys eating the bread crumbs and cookies that people throw to him.

Hank, the old Canada Goose.

Squirrels are abundant, and at this time of the year they are stocking up on acorns and other wild nuts to prepare for winter.

Squirrel at Colonial Lake.

An Eastern Phoebe had something in its bill, but I couldn’t tell what it was. They usually eat small insects, and sometimes small fruit or seeds.

Eastern Phoebe.

A Ring-billed Seagull landed with a splash and caught something in its beak.

Ring-billed Seagull.

The champ was a Great Blue Heron who caught three fishes in less than 10 minutes as I photographed him.

Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron with first fish.

Great Blue Heron with second fish.

Great Blue Heron with a crawfish.

Maine Autumn

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Some more shots of autumn colors in and around Acadia National Park.

Shawnee Peak Mountain ski area on a sunny day before arriving in Acadia National Park.

Farm entrance near Bass Harbor.

In Acadia National Park.

In Acadia National Park.

In Acadia National Park.

Maple leaves over Bar Harbor.

Lake George

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The village of Lake George above Albany, NY was the last stop on my way home from Acadia. In the morning I went to the banks of Lake George to photograph a sunrise which proved to be as stubborn about rising as the one in Acadia.

Lake George sunrise, 30 seconds exposure.

Lake George sunrise, 0.4 second exposure.

While waiting for the sun, I took a few shots of the nearby scenery.

Lake George sightseeing boats moored for the night.

Lake George sightseeing boats moored for the night.

There was a wooden sculpture created in 2017 by Paul Stark, a chainsaw carver. It depicts Major Robert Rogers leading a band of Native Americans during the 1754-1763 war between British and French forces. One of the areas where Rogers operated was Lake George.

Robert Rogers and Native Americans on Lake George.

Acadia National Park – Local Life

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Under the rain, I drove to the Schoodic Peninsula which is a separate part of Acadia National Park near Winter Harbor. It does not have as many visitors as Mount Desert Island where Bar Harbor is located, and on a rainy day there were only two cars, mine included, on the road. The Schoodic part of the park was practically closed for the season, and the rain and wind sent me taking pictures of the local life.

Coastline on Schoodic Peninsula on a rainy day.

House on Schoodic Peninsula.

Church near Winter Harbor on Schoodic Peninsula.

Beside tourism, the people living around Acadia National Park depend on the lobster industry as a major source of income. Lobster traps and boats can be seen at almost every harbor.

Lobster traps, also called lobster pots.

Lobster boats at Prospect Harbor.

Lobster floating marker buoys decorating a shop near Bass Harbor.

A Maine political statement near Bass Harbor.

Farm near Bass Harbor.

Acadia National Park – Bar Harbor and Cruise Ships

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During the time I spent at Acadia, the main road into Bar Harbor, ME was undergoing repair and repaving. It became a temporary one-way street, with a major detour through the park when one wanted to go the other way. Traffic was severely congested, and parking a nightmare. I only went into town once and that was enough.

Bar Harbor is well known as the place where the rich and famous live or spend their summer. In the fall of 1947 a giant fire was fanned by wind and lasted more than a month. It completely burned many cottages, hotels, and over 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of Acadia National Park. Regrowth of the forests occurred naturally, and it is said that the park looks better now because of the fire.

Here’s a view of a part of Bar Harbor from Park Loop Road above it.

View of Bar Harbor from Park Loop Road.

In this next shot, you can see three cruise ships anchored along Bar Harbor water front.

View of Bar Harbor from Park Loop Road with cruise ships anchored in the distance.

Cruise ship at Bar Harbor.

Cruise ship at Bar Harbor.

Cruise ship at Bar Harbor.

There is currently no pier or terminal for the cruise ships, and small boats are used to ferry their passengers to Bar Harbor and back.

The town expects 230,000 cruise ship passengers in 2018, a 257 per cent increase from 2003. In the fall, one big cruise ship alone can disgorge as many as 6,000 passengers into Bar Harbor, which had a total population of 5,434 in 2017. Naturally, the natives are grumbling! Although the tourist season has been extended and benefits business as a result, issues about congestion, pollution, and quality of life have been raised. A recent proposal to build a terminal for cruise ships has met with local opposition and it may never be built.

Acadia National Park – Jordan Pond and Bubble Rock

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For a couple of hours that day, it didn’t rain after that beautiful sunrise captured earlier. I went for a short hike to South Bubble mountain, one of the two small mountains that are visible from Jordan Pond.

The Bubbles as seen from the South end of Jordan Pond, near the entrance.

The Bubbles from Jordan Pond.

The hike to Bubble Rock on top of South Bubble was short and not too strenuous, even when the ground was not completely dry.

Trees and a boulder seen on the way up to South Bubble mountain.

At the top was a big boulder perched on the mountain rocks, looking like it was ready to tumble down to the road or the gorgeous valley below. Bubble Rock was moved there a long time ago by a glacier that carved out what is now Acadia National Park.

Bubble Rock.

Bubble Rock.

Bubble Rock and visitor.

And here’s the million-dollar view from Bubble Rock.

View from Bubble Rock looking toward Jordan Pond.

Acadia National Park – Bass Harbor Light Station

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After the no-show sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, I drove to Bass Harbor where one of the most photographed lighthouses is located. The Bass Light Station, as it is officially named, looked small up close, standing only 32 ft tall, or less than 10 meters. It is currently the residence of a member of the Coast Guard, so you cannot go inside it.

Bass Harbor Light Station.

It is a functioning lighthouse with an occulting red light which is on for 4 seconds then off for 4 seconds, day and night. It used to belong to the Coast Guard but in November 2017, Acadia National Park announced that it will take ownership. It is working on renovation plans to make it more accessible and “revenue producing”!

To shoot the iconic photos that you often see of the lighthouse, you need to wait for low tide and then climb down some stairs to jagged and slippery rocks on the beach. It was not a pleasant experience but still many visitors, including young children, did it. Following are some photos that I took while sitting or leaning on the rocks. Please let me know which one you like best.

1. Bass Harbor Light Station.

2. Bass Harbor Light Station.

3. Bass Harbor Light Station.

4. Bass Harbor Light Station.

Here are two views of the beach.

Beach at Bass Harbor Light Station, looking South.

Beach at Bass Harbor Light Station, looking North.

Acadia National Park – Sunrise

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The sunny and bright skies along Kancamagus Highway gave way to cloudy and rainy weather for every day that I spent in Acadia National Park. As a result, heavy clouds and rain will affect most of the photos I will be posting about Acadia.

On the morning after arrival, I got up early and drove to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, 1530 feet (466 meters), the tallest point in Acadia, where one can see the sun rise the earliest in the Eastern United States. It was not raining, but the sky was completely covered with clouds.

On top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sun rise.

Other sun watchers also arrived, on foot or by car, then huddled together for warmth as they waited for the sun.

Sun watchers on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park.

People kept checking their watches or cell phones, but the scheduled time came and went, and the sun kept itself well hidden. There was gradually more light, but without the brilliance and warm colors of a rising sun.

At the top of Cadillac Mountain with no sunrise.

Disappointed people started to leave, either hiking down or driving their car to the town of Bar Harbor. The only indication of the presence of the sun behind those clouds was a sliver of pale blue horizon.

Sun watchers leaving Cadillac Mountain.

The following day, I also got up early to go do some hiking. There was a superb sunrise as I drove by Hulls Cove, just before the entrance to Acadia. Here was the sunrise I wanted, and it was at sea level. I will always wonder what it would have been like if I had photographed it on top of Cadillac Mountain.

Sunrise at Hulls Cove, Acadia National Park. On the right of the picture was a cruise ship anchored for the night.

Sunrise at Hulls Cove, Acadia National Park, a minute after the above shot.

Kancamagus Highway

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Fall foliage in the New England states is world renowned for its beautiful colors, and the best place to see them is the Kancamagus Highway (aka the Kanc). That’s 34.5 miles (55 km) of Route 112 in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, between the towns of Lincoln and Conway. It is named after Kancamagus (“The Fearless One”), a Native American chief who ruled the area in the 17th century.

Last week, on my way to Acadia National Park, I made a detour there, and now wish I had planned for more time instead of driving so quickly through.

Kancamagus Highway.

Kancamagus Highway.

New England fall colors have the benefit of the vibrant reds of maple trees, in addition to yellows and oranges.

Fall foliage along Kancamagus Highway.

View from Hancock Trailhead on Kancamagus Highway.

View from Hancock Trailhead on Kancamagus Highway.

View from Hancock Trailhead.

There are many hiking trails throughout the area, and 6 campgrounds with well maintained facilities for campers. I stopped at one of the campgrounds for a quick look.

Camping along Kancamagus Highway.

 

Rocky creek next to Kancamagus Highway.

There are at least four waterfalls along Kancamagus Highway, but I had to skip them for lack of time.

View from Kancamagus Pass.

You can’t find hotels or other commercial facilities along the highway, but for those who do not want to rough it, both Lincoln and Conway have plenty of hotels, resorts, motels, and many places that cater to tourists.

View of street in Lincoln, NH.

A hotel or resort in Lincoln, NH.

Chrysalis – Conclusion

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This is what the Monarch chrysalis looked like on 20-Sep-2018.

Monarch Chrysalis on 20-Sep-2018.

Three days ago, the butterfly was visible inside.

Monarch Chrysalis on 04-Oct-2018.

Yesterday, I saw no change and did not take a picture. Today I was out of town for most of the day. When I came back in late afternoon, the chrysalis was empty! I removed the empty and dry cover from the underside of our house siding, laid it on a table and took the following pictures.

Cover of empty chrysalis.

Cover of empty chrysalis.

Cover of empty chrysalis.

So, in this case, it took a total of 17 days before the Monarch butterfly emerged, and not 10 to 14 days as written on several Web sites about Monarch butterflies. I am disappointed to have missed the emergence of the butterfly, but I am happy that it did finally emerge, and may be on its Southern migration soon, if not already.

Here’s a photo of a Monarch butterfly, but it’s not the one from the above chrysalis.

Monarch butterfly.

Late Hibiscus

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In previous years, by now we would have frost, which would have killed all the summer flowers. This year is an exception, as yesterday we had temperatures in the 80 °F (27 °C). That is why, despite being ravaged by deer, our hibiscus flowers keep sending up beautiful and eye-catching blooms.

Hibiscus bud.

Older Hibiscus bud.

Partially open Hibiscus.

Hibiscus, the day after full bloom.

Hibiscus in full bloom.

Hibiscus, from the side.

Hibiscus, from the back.

Updates etc.

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Following is today’s shot of the Monarch chrysalis. There is the shape of a butterfly in there, but it has not come out yet. It has been 15 days, past the 10-14 days from formation to emergence.

Monarch Chrysalis.

The milkweed plants have gone to seed. Here’s a shot of one of the seedpods.

Seedpod of Asclepias Incarnata.

There are still some flowers, and the garden still has some spots of colors.

Cleome.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Boat-tailed Grackle

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Yesterday a band of Boat-tailed Grackle congregated on a section of Wildlife Drive at Edwin B Forsythe NWR. I had seen this bird before, but never in such numbers, or so brazen, posing conspicuously for photographers.

Boat-tailed Grackles. Pointing their bill upward is typical of this type of bird.

Boat-tailed Grackle calling.

Boat-tailed Grackle singing.

Boat-tailed Grackles.

Boat-tailed Grackle foraging. These birds are omnivorous and will steal food from humans.

Their bright yellow eyes make the Boat-tailed Grackle appear fierce. By the way all these photos show male Boat-tailed Grackle and I did not see any female around. The female birds would have been brown. Usually, one male bird would have a cluster of female birds as his harem.

Boat-tailed Grackle.

Boat-tailed Grackle.

Summer into Fall Flowers

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It has been warm lately, even though it is now fall according to the calendar. Cosmos flowers are still doing very well, especially some white ones.

White Cosmos.

White Cosmos.

Green Sweat Bee on Cosmos flower.

Even the Clematis plants were doing well with the help of abundant rain this past week.

Clematis.

Clematis.

I checked up on the Monarch butterfly chrysalis. It has turned to a darker green. In two or three more days a butterfly will emerge?

Monarch chrysalis.

2018 Year of the Bird

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2018 is the Year of the Bird, as declared by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I didn’t know about that until now, but here are seven photos I took recently of birds around New Jersey.

Two Barn Swallows in Newton, NJ.

Mourning Dove on beach at Barnegat Light.

Great Egret at Edwin B Forsythe NWR.

Sanderling at Barnegat Light.

Young Bald Eagle at Edwin B Forsythe NWR.

Long-billed Dowitcher at Edwin B Forsythe NWR.

Juvenile Ring-billed Gull at Barnegat Light.

Chrysalis

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Three weeks ago, on August 30th, I posted pictures of about a dozen Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed leaves, like the ones shown below.

Monarch caterpillars on milkweed.

A few days later, they all disappeared. I suspected the birds ate them because I saw some birds diving toward the milkweed and then flying away. I thought that was the end of that Monarch generation, and promised myself to hang some kind of netting next year to keep the birds from consuming the caterpillars.

This morning, I saw one Monarch caterpillar attached to our house siding, about four feet from the milkweed plants. It was busy weaving and by noontime had transformed itself into a Chrysalis. To prevent the birds from eating it, I hung a piece of transparent plastic around it, with openings on three sides.

Monarch Chrysalis.

In 10 days, a Monarch butterfly will emerge from the above Chrysalis. I will try to be there to capture that moment.

Niagara Falls

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After driving through the Finger Lakes region, we ended up in the early evening at Niagara Falls, NY. We stayed on the American side even though the best views of the falls are supposed to be from the Canadian side.

American Falls at Niagara Falls, NY. Rainbow Bridge in the background leads into Canada.

American Falls at Niagara Falls, NY.

At night the falls are illuminated in different colors, and after 10 PM there are fireworks, which we decided to skip after a long day of driving and sightseeing.

Illuminated American Falls at Niagara Falls, NY.

Illuminated American Falls at Niagara Falls, NY.

Illuminated American Falls at Niagara Falls, NY.

Horseshoe Falls which belong to Canada were also illuminated, but the wind kept blowing its mist toward us. When there is a strong wind, mist obscures the falls from viewing even during the day.

Illuminated Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls, Canada.

Night view of Canada from the American side of the falls. The red beam of colored light on the left was used to illuminate Horseshoe Falls.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is at the Northern end of Cayuga Lake, one of the 11 finger lakes in New York state. It is less than a quarter of the size of Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, but has much of the same wildlife, with the addition of Sandhill Cranes and Black Terns that are not usually seen in New Jersey.

We drove on Wildlife Drive through Montezuma NWR, stopping occasionally to take pictures.

Marsh Mallows were vibrant and plentiful at Montezuma NWR.

Marsh Mallows at Montezuma NWR.

A young Bald Eagle surprised me by swooping overhead and diving toward the marshes. It was too fast and moved around too much for me to get good pictures, but the following will give you an idea of the drama evolving in the sky.

Bald Eagle at Montezuma NWR.

Bald Eagle at Montezuma NWR.

Bald Eagle at Montezuma NWR.

Bald Eagle at Montezuma NWR.

Bald Eagle at Montezuma NWR.

However, the young Bald Eagle failed to catch any fish.

There were several Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets that landed near Wildlife Drive then stood or walked in the water.

Great Blue Heron at Montezuma NWR.

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret at Montezuma NWR.

Great Egret preening at Montezuma NWR.

Great Egret at Montezuma NWR.

Great Egret at Montezuma NWR.

There were many Ring-billed Gulls and Canada Geese at Montezuma NWR. One gull was hovering over the marshes and crisscrossing the sky, asking to be photographed.

Ring-billed Gull at Montezuma NWR.

Finger Lakes

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This past weekend, we drove through the Finger Lakes region of Central New York. The region is named after 11 lakes created by glaciers some two million years ago. Today it is a gem of the state of New York, perhaps not as well known as New York City, and possibly disdained by some for its agricultural backwardness.

The population of New York State is 19 million, half of whom reside in New York City. Politicians and environmentalists work hand in hand to keep natural gas fracking out of New York, conveniently forgetting that trash and waste from New York City find their way into landfills throughout the Finger Lakes region, marring its beauty and presenting as much danger to the environment as fracking.

We went to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge at the North end of Cayuga Lake. Here are some photos I took along the way. Photos for Montezuma NWR will follow in a subsequent post.

Corn fields in Finger Lakes region.

Farm house in Finger Lakes region.

Grain silos at a dairy farm in Finger Lakes region.

Immature Forster’s Tern

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Two weeks ago I saw immature Forster’s Terns at the refuge. They were as active as their parents, and a little noisier. While the parents look well traveled and perhaps a little worn out, the younger ones still have some baby fat and show a lot of spunkiness.

Immature Forster’s Tern.

Immature Forster’s Tern.

Immature Forster’s Tern.

True to their species, they are great fliers and hunters.

Immature Forster’s Tern.

Even when they don’t catch anything.

Immature Forster’s Tern coming out of a dive.

The Owner

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Several female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds come to our feeder each year. I call one of them the Owner because she is very territorial and, whenever she sees another female hummingbird, she dives down from her perch somewhere among the oak branches and chases the intruder away.

Yesterday (yes, they were still around despite what I wrote in a previous post) the hummingbirds kept coming to the feeder throughout the day, probably to fuel up before migrating South. The Owner came to the feeder and stayed there a rather long time.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, aka the Owner.

She went around and sampled each feeding hole.

The Owner gorging herself on nectar.

Then she stayed at the feeder and had a little snooze.

The Owner half asleep.

This went on for several minutes. Finally a rival Ruby-throated Hummingbird began to fly around the feeder.

The Owner at the sight of a rival.

The Owner getting ready to pounce on rival.

The Owner preparing for aerial combat.

The Owner at the top of the feeder hanger facing her rival.

The Owner after rival fled.

The Owner: “You got all that Mr. Photographer?”

The Owner as another rival buzzed by.

The Owner in alert position.

After I stopped taking pictures, she was still at her post for several more minutes before finally flying away.

Some Late Summer Flowers

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I walked around Colonial Lake near home yesterday and took pictures of the following flowers. I am guessing the names of the first two, so please feel free to correct me if you happen to recognize them with their proper names.

Arrowhead flowers.

Bidens Trichosperma or Tickseed Sunflower.

Hibiscus dried seed pods.