Branch Brook is a park in Newark, NJ which boasts more cherry trees than Washington, DC. It has over 4,000 trees and more are being planted to bring the total to 5,000. Last week, on the last day of its Cherry Blossoms festival, I went there. The morning started out cloudy with a little bit of rain, which kept many people away. However, the sun eventually made an appearance, and everything brightened up.
This is my submission for this challenge: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/motion/
We received two inches of rain today and most of the time it was not only wet but cloudy and humid. However, there was a brief interlude when the sun came out which allowed me to capture our flowers at their best, covered with rain drops.
Not to be outdone, the PJM Rhododendron bushes also flouted their splendor.
There is a lone cherry tree planted in a common area near our home. When it was growing up, no one took care of it, and for a few years it was not much to look at. However, today I went to look at it up close and, as the following photos reveal, it has beautiful cherry blossoms.
For this challenge, I submit the following photo taken at 7:22 AM near the Childs Meadow Resort in Mill Creek, CA, only a few miles from the southern entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park. There was not a soul in sight, and sunlight had not reached the valley floor, but it highlighted dramatically three of the mountains in the park.
John Etheridge who blogs marvelously at Book of Bokeh has invited me to participate in the Monochrome Photos Challenge. As you know, I mostly publish color photos and only dabble in monochrome twice in 371 posts. This will be the third time.
The following shot of a Snowy Egret at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge could be a black and white photo in its original form. The egret was white except for a black bill and black feet, and some yellow around its eyes. The morning sun made the water appear pale blue, almost white. I converted the image to monochrome and it may look better than its color version.
To give some color to our drab front yard, I planted pansies in an island right in the middle of it. Unfortunately, the deer found the pansies irresistible and promptly chomped on them and pulled several out. I had to spray deer repellent to keep them away, but the pansy leaves now look blotchy. The following photo is of a flower that is almost intact. Its bright colors are yellow and deep brown, almost black. In monochrome, it is vividly black and white, and I hope you will like it this way.
Winter keeps lingering on in the Northeast, but there are sure signs of spring. Today, even though it was rainy and cloudy I went out around the house to take stock of which spring flowers are coming up. Many are, perhaps later than in other years, but, as the following photos prove, they will be in their full glory in a matter of days.
My entry for this challenge is a coffee mug imprinted with an image I took of a Blue Heron at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge last fall. The golden yellow background is the surface of a pond reflecting early morning sunlight. The image is also shown on the banner for this post.
A Blue Jay came to our bird feeder this morning. They are known for their blue color and crest. When they are feeding at peace, the crest is lowered as seen in the following photos. Since the Blue Jay was so large compared to other birds, it monopolized the feeder for a few minutes.
Once it got a sunflower seed, it flew to the nearby magnolia tree to break it up and eat the inside.
Then of course we had the usual staring match.
Last week, I thought I saw this pair of Northern Shovelers afloat on a pond at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
However, they were not floating. It was low tide and they were actually standing in the water.
The following Northern Shoveler was really floating.
This type of duck got its name from its long bill which is about 2.5 inches long. The male duck in these images, the one with bright colors, was in full breeding plumage.
Male American Goldfinches are beautiful birds with vibrant yellow and black feathers during breeding season. In the winter the yellow feathers become duller, almost beige. Then when spring comes, the birds molt and look like flying disasters. Yesterday was cold and rainy, but some came to our bird feeder and I was able to capture the following images of them.
Even though they looked terrible, these birds were tough. Despite their small size they kept other birds off the bird feeder, only allowing an occasional chickadee to fly in and out quickly.
Yesterday, driving toward the end of Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, I saw this Osprey perched on top of her nest.
A photographer who had been there since sunrise told me that the Osprey was part of a pair at the nest. They had breakfast earlier, and then he had flown away somewhere. The gentleman told me that he was due back “soon”, and as he said that I saw the male Osprey flying toward the nest. We both clicked away with our cameras, but I was not expecting to take the following kind of photos.
Total elapsed time: 12 seconds.
Today I saw this couple of Ospreys at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge building a nest. At first, he was just watching her arranging their nest.
Then she told him what she needed, and he took off.
He soon flew back clutching a branch.
For this challenge, I am submitting a photo of a Tufted Titmouse using its bill to open a sunflower seed. It was going very fast and its head was just a blur!
This image was taken at a speed of 1/50 second.
Yesterday at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, several egrets were standing enjoying the rising sun. They were wearing their breeding plumage with long airy feathers (see https://janthinaimages.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/she-sits-in-her-beauty-upon-her-nest/).
One was playing pickaboo as it preened itself.
Early this morning at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, a Peregrine Falcon was hunting. It glided back and forth across a pond, making both wide and sharp turns, and swooping down occasionally. However, I did not see it catch anything in the few minutes that it was in my sight. Here are two photos showing this raptor. It is reputed to be the fastest bird when it dives toward its prey at a speed which can reach 200 MPH (320 KM/H).