Several Mute Swans were swimming and feeding in one of the fresh water pools at the refuge.
In a more secluded pool, a cygnet was swimming by itself.
A new sluice gate has recently been built on Wildlife Drive at the refuge to channel ocean water into and out of Vogt Pool North. As I drove by a few days ago, a Great Blue Heron was standing guard at the gate and would not budge even as I parked no more than 20 ft (6 m) away from it. There was plenty of morning sunlight and the conditions were perfect for photography.
Seven minutes later, it was still on the same rock, staring into emptiness.
Yesterday, when I arrived at the Brigantine unit of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge the tide was high and ocean water was pouring into the salt marshes, bringing with it fish and other sea creatures to feed the Egrets, Double-crested Cormorants, Seagulls, and various smaller birds. Some juvenile Cormorants were having a feast and kept diving into the churning water and coming up with fish in their hooked bills.
Another Cormorant was so happy to have caught a fish that it danced around in the water.
Suddenly, it dropped the fish and dove in the water to retrieve it. However, many Laughing Gulls were hovering in the air, and one quickly swooped down.
The Laughing Gull snatched the fish and left the young Cormorant clamoring for its lost meal.
On January 1st of this year, I went on a photo trip to the shore of Long Beach Island, NJ. As I was driving, at 7:24 AM a colorful sun rose to the East. I stopped by the side of the road to photograph it.
The sun was a fiery yellow and red, and I found the resulting pictures somewhat disappointing and did not want to post them.
Today I think perhaps nature was trying to let me know that turmoil was coming in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was about to spread throughout the world and affect millions of people.
For the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 114: Negative Space, here are two images I shot recently. The first one is from 12 days ago.
The second one is from yesterday at Colonial Lake In Lawrenceville, NJ when a fisherman caught a fish with the name of Crappie! He threw it back as soon as I finished taking the photo.
As temperatures dropped, a good number of birds have left the refuge. Some non-breeding Forster’s Terns remain, displaying their skills at diving and plucking food out of the water. I finally managed to photograph one of them in a successful dive.
Yesterday, conditions were almost ideal for photography. The refuge was dry, the sun was shining bright, and an ocean breeze was cool if at times gusty. I had just stepped out when a Great Egret flew toward me. I barely had enough time to lean against the car and bring my camera up to shoot. This was likely the closest I ever came to a Great Egret in flight.
The Great Egret and Snowy Egret shown below were feeding in the marsh, stabbing the water, and jumping and turning around on a dime. They were very successful and got a fish at every attempt.
In this last photo, it was amazing to see the Snowy Egret twisting itself while looking for fish.