On a short trip to California, I came down with the flu last week and have not gone out to take any picture after coming home. Hopefully soon, as I am feeling better today. In the meantime, here are some pictures of Mourning Doves taken since 2017, including one taken at the beginning of this year.
Red-breasted Merganser spend their winter on both coasts of North America. There were quite a few of them a week ago swimming and diving in the Barnegat inlet. The male duck can be very striking, and even funny looking with its Mohawk head feathers.
However, the female ducks are very pretty, with their super model looks and colors.
While they are considered large ducks, they look small when swimming by a seagull.
Our orchids usually don’t bloom until March, but this year a new white orchid has been doing that since early January. No complaints from me, as we have no other plants with flowers at this time of the year.
Meanwhile, some more snow fell and provided interesting photos of the Crape Myrtle tree covered with it.
Canada Geese are always present in our area, even in the deep of winter. I found a group of them sleeping on ice at the EBF refuge, with temperatures in the teens (-10°C) during the day and even colder at night.
Some, however, were not sleeping and were already dabbling for food in a patch of water.
Buffleheads are very small ducks, about half the size of Mallards. I have found them to be difficult to photograph because of their size and colors. Females are gray brown with white patches on their cheeks. Males are white and black. In both sexes, the eyes are hard to distinguish from the dark areas surrounding them, unless there is good light, which is not always the case in winter.
A few days ago, I went to the refuge on a cold and windy day. The marshes were mostly frozen and there were only several gulls and Buffleheads. There were also very few cars, and so I was able to zoom in closer on some female Buffleheads who were actively diving for food.
There was no male Bufflehead at EBF on that day. The following photo shows one taken a few days earlier near Barnegat Lighthouse.
Here’s how the refuge looked on a cold day, when the highest temperature was well below freezing.
Like many of us, shore birds or ducks like to eat and are often busy fishing or foraging for food. Two days ago, I saw quite a few Red-breasted Merganser swimming and diving along the Barnegat Lighthouse jetty. A female Merganser was particularly energetic in her diving and was eventually rewarded with a good catch.
Meanwhile, on the jetty rocks some Ruddy Turnstones were having an all-you-can-eat buffet. These birds don’t go in the water much and prefer to remain on shore where they sometimes can find actual smorgasbords.
It was foggy at Barnegat Lighthouse yesterday, as you can see from the photo below. However, it was not cold, and the ice that covered most of the bay was starting to break up, helped along by two Coast Guard vessels.
There was a thaw indeed. In the two hours I was there, snow had retreated quite a bit from the sand, or was melting away even if the sun was hidden by clouds.
The URL for this challenge is: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/weathered/
Here’s a photo of a well-weathered Bristlecone Pine that probably lived for several thousand years:
It was a balmy 19 °F (-7 °C) this morning, but without the wind it was bearable. I did not have to wear too many layers when I took Jackie out. They do predict more snow tonight, but then temperatures will rise by 20 degrees or so in the next several days, a much welcomed heat wave.
Meanwhile the snow that fell last week has not melted much, as you can see in the following photos of birds that are not red Cardinals.
Yesterday the blizzard started at 6 AM and ended a few minutes after 3 PM, after dumping about 5 inches (12 cm) in our area, but up to 17 inches (42 cm) in other counties closer to the ocean.
Once the snow stopped blowing around, I refilled the bird feeder. There were so many birds that the sunflower seeds were gone in a day as compared to 3-5 days normally.
With their brilliant colors, Northern Cardinals stood out against the snow, so I opened the patio door a crack and photographed several that came close to the feeder.
I had spilled some seeds on a table. A male Cardinal took his time eating those seeds.
A female Northern Cardinal waited patiently for her turn.
One consequence of the cold that has been gripping our region is that all open water is frozen and the birds have a hard time finding water to drink. I saw a Carolina Chickadee jump on one of our deck railing next to the feeder, and it hesitated for a moment looking at some melted snow.
Then it decided to go ahead and drink. The bird feeder was only a couple feet away but it ignored it.
A Dark-eyed Junco was nearby, perhaps waiting its turn.
Another Dar-eyed Junco was perched on a magnolia branch, all puffed up like a toy bird.
Happy New Year to all my blogger friends and visitors. May 2018 bring you happiness, health, and whatever you wish for.
There is a small farm near our house that I used to pass by on my way to work every day. At times, especially in the winter, the sunrises are simply spectacular, but I always had to hurry on to get to the office. This morning, the temperature was 1℉ (or -17 ℃), but I went there anyway to try and capture the sunrise. There was nary a cloud in the sky and the photos turned out to be very disappointing. So I am using the following shot taken last Sunday a week ago, when there were lots of clouds.