There seems to be a lot more juvenile birds in our backyard this year. They look young, and they are not too shy. They strike poses that exude youthful confidence and vigor.
It’s been raining off and on again, and getting very hot, well above 90 °F (32 °C), so I stayed home and went around the yard to see if there are any summer flowers to photograph. I was immediately attracted to a large blooming Southern Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora) flower.
Since the flower was mostly white, I converted the above shot to monochrome. Which version do you prefer?
Along the walkways at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, I only had to look over the railings to see frogs, turtles, and beautiful wildflowers which added vibrant colors to the green (vegetation) and blackness (water) of the swamp.
(11-Jun-2017: Eliza Waters gave me pointers on the names of the turtles and flowers and I have updated this post accordingly.)
At first I thought this was a rock, but then it moved very slowly. It was a Snapping Turtle.
There was another more recognizable Eastern Painted Turtle which only poked its head above the water. It was smaller than the one above.
A handsome Green Frog was basking in the early morning sun.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge extends over the marshy remains of a large lake that existed in Northern New Jersey some 15,000 years ago. I don’t go there often, and today’s trip was the first in five years.
Great Swamp has wooden walkways so that you don’t have to muddy your shoes, and blinds to observe and photograph birds. However, the Barred Owl below was standing on a tree branch by one of the walkways, and it barely budged even though several people were pointing their scopes, smartphones, or cameras at it.
The owl has beautiful black eyes needed to hunt at night, but this owl was probably taking a daytime nap.
Eastern Phoebes is a songbird living in the East of North America, from Canada to Mexico. It is quite common and not on the endangered list. I saw this one from a blind at Great Swamp NWR.
Lately our weather has been nothing but rain and clouds, so I have not gone out much, relying on the birds around our bird feeder to pose for photographs. They did not disappoint.
This last one is not a bird, although it would like to be one to get at the food.
There are Red Foxes in a wooded corner of our backyard for many years now. A few years ago, there were six of them, but this year we only have two that I can see, a mother and her cub. Being Foxes, they are naturally shy and I had to take the following photos from about 300 ft (100 m) away. However, the evening sunlight was bright and directed perfectly at the spot.
For several years, I’ve put up birdhouses in the hope of attracting Bluebirds. I must have placed them in the wrong places, because no Bluebird came, and only Chickadees and House Wrens have taken advantage of my birdhouses. Yesterday, I saw an energetic House Wren busy building its nest inside one of the birdhouses.
House Wrens are mostly plain brown, but they sing well and are one of the most common birds in North America and South America.