The American Goldfinch stands out with its bright yellow coloring in Spring and Summer. The rest of the year, when they are not breeding, their colors are more subdued, even drab, although they still remain very cute.
Another ubiquitous bird is the Red-winged Blackbird.
The female Red-winged Blackbird does not have that red and yellow patch on her wings.
In the fall, Red-winged Blackbirds often join with European Starlings to form flocks of birds that roam through refuges, importuning even Bald Eagles.
The smaller birds temporarily took over a favorite perch of the Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR.
Finallly, many flocks of Canada Geese flew over the non-migrating Bald Eagle.
Just before Thanksgiving, I went to look for Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles to photograph. I drove first to Maryland’s Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a place that is threatened with closure for lack of funding. At the present time, there is only one employee left at Eastern Neck. He told me Tundra Swans have started arriving, but only a few have, and they were staying far from the refuge coastline.
Next I went on to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD. From the Visitor Center, I could see four Tundra Swans , but it was not easy to photograph them as they were too far. The following photo shows one of them waking up from a midday nap, stretching a wing and a leg. I hope to have better images in late December or next January as the swans arrive in greater numbers at Eastern Neck NWR.
Blackwater NWR is famous for its Bald Eagles, with some staying there all year round. This is one pair that could be seen from Wildlife Drive.
After watching that pair, I drove around Wildlife Drive for a second time, and found another pair, unless it was the same one above that moved to a different location. This couple was perched on a dead tree sticking out of the water.
One of the eagles kept calling out for several minutes.
Finally, the one that was calling flew off.
It went in circle, looping around several times, putting on a majestic show for the visitor photographer.
Then it landed back to its perch on the dead tree.
It has been raining all day, heavy at times. A remedy for that is the following shots taken in Acadia National Park only three weeks ago. It was cloudy and rainy too, but autumn colors were still vivid, and there were some interesting boulders.
You won’t believe how many times I have missed capturing, or badly captured, birds in flight. Two days ago, at the refuge, I finally was able to get several good shots of a Great Blue Heron as it took off from the marsh.
On the same day, a Great Egret also put on a good show.
The Ospreys have migrated from the refuge to warmer places down South, leaving their nests empty. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon was preening and posing in one of the nests for about five minutes, enough time for the following shots.
It was banded on both feet, however I could not make out what the letters or numbers were. Peregrine Falcons are no longer on the endangered species list, but people are still very keen on helping it make a come back after it became almost extinct between 1950 and 1970.
Unfortunately a flock of Sanderlings distracted me for a minute, and when I looked back at the nest the Peregrine Falcon was no longer there.
An Eastern Box Turtle crossed my path as I drove out of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge yesterday. It was a small but colorful turtle that moved very slowly, allowing me to circle it and take the following shots. It was the smallest adult turtle that I have ever seen, measuring about 5 in (12 cm).
Eastern Box Turtles often get run over by cars, and are now classified as vulnerable. People (children) also like to have them as pets because they are small and colorful, but they require good care in order to survive.