Not too far from the Snow Geese, a lone Great Blue Heron was fishing for breakfast, with excellent results.
Today was the warmest February day for this area, and it felt like summer as I stood at the observation area near the Inlet/Outlet Tower of Merrill Creek Reservoir in Harmony Township, NJ, and watched tens of thousands of Snow Geese resting on the water during their migration back to their tundra breeding grounds. In the photo below, the geese form that white band in the middle. A birder next to me estimated there was probably 50,000 Snow Geese in that long band.
Suddenly, something disturbed the geese and they flew up in the air.
The sound was extraordinary, like the noise a million bees would make when they swarm. The undulating cloud of thousands and thousands of Snow Geese was a sight not to be missed, with shapes and colors changing as the geese turned in synchronized motion according to signals that only they could understand.
Once again, there was no easy way to get closer to the geese, so these photos taken from at least half a mile away will have to do. However, I may try again another day.
Shortly after the Snowy Owls, thousands of Snow Geese appeared at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. New Jersey is on their migration path, and the refuge is a rest stop for them as they fly back to breeding grounds in the Canadian and Alaskan tundras.
The sky was a painterly mix of blue with gray and white clouds, and it was good to be clicking away knowing that one can get good shots no matter what. If you miss one there were always more geese to oblige you.
I photographed my first Snowy Owl in December 2013, and again in January 2014 and 2015. Then for two years in a row, it made itself scarce. There were reported sightings in New Jersey, but every time I went to those places it was nowhere to be seen.
This past Sunday, there were two Snowy Owls at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. However, they were quite far, and there was no way to come nearer to them. I had to crop as much as 90% of the images, and the final results are disappointing.
Update: the banner image is from a photo taken in 2015.
Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, and according to the Chinese zodiac, it is the Year of the Dog. I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo taken of a man and his dog in October of 2015 at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
On a snowy day three years ago, I watched the birds flock to our feeder. Traffic was heavy, with the Dark-eyed Juncos being the most assiduous and energetic. With my camera on a tripod from inside the house I tried to get shots of them flying and competing for seeds.
I still have not ventured out since coming down with the flu. There may also be quite a few people similarly afflicted for the local pharmacy shelves have been laid bare of the more popular flu and cold medicines. The weather has not been cooperating either, being mostly cold, snowy at times, and windy almost always. This has given me time to cull through some recent shots of Blue Jays and other birds in our backyard.