Amaryllis Belladonna is a bulb that I grow in a small pot so that it flowers in January when nothing else blooms in our yard or inside the house. Belladonna means pretty woman, and this flower amply deserves that designation. It comes in many colors, all very appealing. This year I planted a Red Lion which did not bloom at all, and the following pink and white which flowered profusely to compensate for its lazy cousin.
The blizzard of 2016, Jonas, turned out to be one for the records. The amount of snow dumped on our region approached or even exceeded all-time records dating back to the 19th century. I did not measure it at our house, but it took us three and a half hours to clear our driveway, even with a snowblower and three of us working.
Here are a few photos of some of the birds that came to our backyard during the blizzard, with all photos taken through the patio glass door, not an optimal setting.
Finally, another shot of that cute Blue Jay.
The blizzard of 2016 is turning out to be worse than predicted. We have about a foot of snow already and it is still falling down, while the wind is blowing it all over everything.
Many birds came to our bird feeder, restocked since yesterday with sunflower seeds. I tried opening our patio door a crack to take some photos, and the wind blew snow right into my lens hood! Finally I had to take the following photo of a cardinal through the glass door. Lighting was bad of course, but you get an idea of what is was like for the birds.
Before the coming monster snowstorm descends on us tonight, I am posting photos of Hooded Mergansers taken last week. There were quite a few of them searching for food and socializing among themselves. They were real dandies, at least among ducks.
I saw a small group of American Coots at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in mid December last year. They mingled with Mallards, but they are not ducks since their feet are not webbed. They are also called mud hens and are closely related to Moorhens or Common Gallinules.
American Coots are mainly dark, almost black, with a white face and red eyes, with a patch of red on their forehead. They mainly eat plants. Since they are not an endangered species, they may be hunted but not as much as ducks since hunters disdain their meat!
This past Sunday, some Snow Geese found a good place for food on the banks of the salt marshes at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
As I watched them, every minute or so more Snow Geese kept flying in. I only had to point my camera up to the sky to catch them landing at their new feeding spot.
They made big splashes but that hardly bothered those who were busy eating.
The weather was bad and I had to work, so I have not taken any photo for a week. The following shots are of Bald Eagles at the Conowingo Dam in Maryland at the beginning of this year, two weeks ago. They were busy hunting for fish and glided regally against a blue sky as several dozens of photographers, just like paparazzi around celebrities, aimed their long lenses at them.
Today I took a few photos of a Dark-eyed Junco that was coming to our bird feeder. It had its left wing slightly higher than its right one as you can see below.
A while later, I saw it at the bird feeder and took the following photo.
It was moving, but not as fast as the other Juncos. It was eating. There was no blood that I could see. If you know what the problem is, and how we can help this bird, please comment and tell me what I should do.
Yesterday was cloudy all day, but I went out anyway to the Edwin B Fortsythe National Wildlife Refuge near Brigantine, NJ to see what I could photograph. It turned out to be not much. Most of the photos turned out mediocre at best and had to be discarded. However, it was high tide and at two of the locations where sea water came into to the marshes I found Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads merrily diving for food.
Buffleheads are small ducks, even smaller than Hooded Mergansers. They kept their distances, and I could only get one good shot at a pair.
The Hooded Mergansers were bolder, coming within 30 ft, seemingly undisturbed by the guy with a white car and a black camera.
There were several female Hooded Mergansers who looked quite coquettish even as they dived and resurfaced constantly.
The weather has been atrocious throughout the land: snowstorms, torrential rains, flood, mudslides, plunging and bone-chilling temperatures, fast walks or runs from the car to the house or the office. However, the following photos taken last April are what we can look forward to in a few short months. It is allowed to dream of Spring, isn’t it?
Conowingo Dam is a hydroelectric dam built across the Susquehanna River located at the northeast corner of Maryland. It is world famous as the place to photograph Bald Eagles. I found out about it from a photographer I met recently while looking for this year’s Snowy Owl in New Jersey (I haven’t found it yet). He said it was best to go in November, but some Bald Eagles may still be at the dam until February. So I went there this past weekend.
There were perhaps 50 to 100 photographers with big and long zoom lenses. I was told that in November, photographers, many from far way Asian and European countries, would be standing shoulder to shoulder on Fisherman’s Wharf to photograph hundreds of Bald Eagles as they compete for fish, mainly shad, on the rocky area beneath the dam. The photos they took and posted on the Internet are simply amazing.
The following photos show a Bald Eagle swooping down for a catch, then losing it.
Photographing scenes like these requires a lot of preparation and patience. In addition to their cameras, lenses, and tripods, people brought along food, warm drinks, and camp chairs to sit on while they wait for hours and hours. Of course, everyone wore warm clothes, and many even had hunting camos on themselves and wrapped around their lenses.