Tuesday I went to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to find it closed because they were conducting controlled burns of invasive plants along the marsh edges. Rather than going home, I drove one more hour to get to the Cape May Lighthouse at the southern tip of New Jersey.
I walked down to the beach and saw a strange bunker, a World War II relic slowly being reclaimed by the ocean.
The bunker was used to defend against a possible German invasion! It had four 155 mm artillery pieces which had never been fired and were removed many years ago.
Nearby there were several small ponds where swans and various ducks were swimming and feeding.
Sparrows and one Northern Mockingbird kept flying around me as if wanting their pictures taken.
There were several bushes of holly laden with gloriously red berries.
I have not been posting here since last July, but have continued to photograph, although not as often as I used to. Hopefully, the following photos may help reduce stress for all of us during this coronavirus pandemic.
I took the following photos today while visiting the Great Swamp of New Jersey, on a very windy and cold day. There were not too many birds or animals around, but some may be good eye candy for the weekend.
A Chipmunk ran across my path then took refuge in a tree hole.
Temperatures went as high as 84°F (29°C) yesterday, but today they are back down to 40°F (4°C), and it is very windy and cold. Even though I took the following photos last month and last week, they illustrate well this challenging weather we are having.
The URL for this challenge is: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/2017-favorites/
Mute Swans were the favorites of many this past October. As the swans preened during a foggy morning, they struck poses that were bold and beautiful.
You may also be ineterested in two posts with more photos of the swans:
Hooded Mergansers are my favorite winter ducks. The males really look cute with their black and white hood, especially when they try to get a female’s attention, like the one below. He was among many of its kind at the refuge yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Mute Swan flew overhead, a rare sight for me.
Here are some more photos of the swan that conducted from the marshes at the refuge. It spent a long time preening, diving into the water, splashing around, and must have ended with a thorough washing of its entire body.
It was very foggy yesterday. On my way to Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge I could see no more than 100 ft (30 m) ahead, and twice almost ran into deer crosssing the road! When I arrived at the refuge, the usual scenery looked very iffy in the thick fog, but I was not about to go back after a two-hour drive.
Slowly the fog lifted, and after half an hour, sunlight fell on beautiful swans and other birds swimming in the sweet water pond. The swans were probably the same I photographed last week, but they had lost their juvenile colors and were all white. They had been preening and looked much cleaner than last week.
The following photos show a Mute Swan flapping its wings after it had finished preening and taken a dip in the water.
Last week Mute Swans were preening and foraging for food at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Again, I was able to come close to take the following photos. By the way, when you see white feathers floating on the water, they were a by-product of the swans’ preening.
Mute Swans are monogamous and mate for life. However, when one of a pair dies, the other will try to find another mate. A male will then find a younger or older female, but a female will look for a younger male.
Yesterday, I went to Glades Wildlife Refuge at the southern end of New Jersey not very far from the Delaware Bay. On a pond there, a bevy of Mute Swans was foraging for food, each swan separate from the others, except for a couple. Unless I am mistaken, a smaller female and a younger male where going through courtship rituals. Young male swans have a dull gray bill that will become orange in color when they are mature.
Almost two years ago, I saw this beautiful cygnet swimming on a pond at the Abbott Marshlands next to the Delaware river.
The parents were watching close by and enticed her (I am assuming it was a female) to swim away with them.
The young Mute Swan was almost full size, and differed from her parents by her feather colors and a gray bill. Here’s a look at the three of them preening together.
A few weeks ago, the following pair of swans was swimming up and down Spring Lake, which should be renamed Swan Lake, at the Abbott Marshlands. They did not mind my walking along the shore and taking their pictures as they swam gracefully looking for plants to eat.
I was told that this pair are permanent residents of the area. They do not migrate to other places like other swans. They breed, raise their cygnets and those eventually fly away, unless they are killed by predators.
In a previous post, I wrote that a pair of mute swans at the Abbott Marshlands had a cygnet that I could not find. Today I found it.
The cygnet is as large as its parents, although its feathers are grayish and not yet white. Its bill is still pale, and it does not have a bill knob yet. However, it is just as graceful.
Mute swans are not native to North America and were brought over here in the 19th century from Europe for decorative purposes! They also do not migrate much, staying around most of the year, unlike other types of swans that range from the Artic Circle to warmer regions depending on the season.
Over the past several weeks I have taken pictures of mute swans at the Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge near Brigantine, NJ and at the Abbott Marhslands on the Delaware River in New Jersey.
Here’s a pair of swans at EBF, where a daily influx of ocean water makes for a much cleaner environment.
The following pairs were at the Abbott Marshlands.
The white feathers you see floating on the water came from the swans when they were preening themselves. The swan on the right was stretching and making some noise, even though they are called mute swans. They are only mute when compared to other swans, such as the trumpeter swan.
The above pair had a young cygnet gray in color, but I could not find it. Instead I took the following pictures of the parents as they looked for food.