Going through some unpublished photos I took over the last few months, I am struck by the many different kinds of birds that live in our small part of New Jersey. Here’s how diversity looks among birds.
The male Red-winged Blackbird is easily recognized by his red and yellow shoulder patches and his propensity to sing for any reason from the top of reeds or bushes. I saw the one pictured below at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland more than a week ago. He was not shy, stood his ground, and continued serenading even as my car came nearer to him.
Going through my files from this past June, I found the following series showing a Red-winged Blackbird dive-bombing a Black-crowned Night Heron that had strayed too close to its nest. This all happened in less than a minute near the Ocean City Welcome Center in New Jersey.
The Red-winged Blackbird, an ubiquitous bird in North America, likes to sing. The other day I saw and heard one belting out a famous aria.
My apologies to Puccini and any opera lover that I may have offended. If you want to hear a human tenor sing E lucevan le stelle from Tosca, here’s the best:
Last September, flocks of red-winged blackbirds were swooping up and down around me at the Abbott Marshlands. A few landed close by and I took the following shot of a juvenile blackbird. Note the more mature bird with more brilliant coloring beyond it.
Many mourning doves live in our area, and here are two examples.
In early October, I was hiking at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge when a skunk crossed the road and scurried toward me, coming as close as 30 ft. Uh, oh! I stopped and squeezed a few shots, including the one below. Fortunately, the skunk went back into the bushes and did not spray anything. However, it was an omen. The following day, I was told that my job had been eliminated.