bald eagle, barn swallow, barnegat lighthouse, Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, great egret, Long-billed Dowitcher, mourning dove, photography, postaday, ring-billed gull, sanderling, year of the bird
2018 is the Year of the Bird, as declared by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I didn’t know about that until now, but here are seven photos I took recently of birds around New Jersey.
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is at the Northern end of Cayuga Lake, one of the 11 finger lakes in New York state. It is less than a quarter of the size of Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, but has much of the same wildlife, with the addition of Sandhill Cranes and Black Terns that are not usually seen in New Jersey.
We drove on Wildlife Drive through Montezuma NWR, stopping occasionally to take pictures.
A young Bald Eagle surprised me by swooping overhead and diving toward the marshes. It was too fast and moved around too much for me to get good pictures, but the following will give you an idea of the drama evolving in the sky.
However, the young Bald Eagle failed to catch any fish.
There were several Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets that landed near Wildlife Drive then stood or walked in the water.
There were many Ring-billed Gulls and Canada Geese at Montezuma NWR. One gull was hovering over the marshes and crisscrossing the sky, asking to be photographed.
At high tide, ocean water pours into the salt marshes at the refuge, and provides a fish bonanza to the birds that hover near the sluice gates. I saw a band of Seagulls diving with abandon into the churning water and I began shooting them. Only when I came home and looked at the images on the computer did I see that some of them actually had caught small fish.
A Cormorant was equally successful, though they usually catch much bigger fish. Perhaps this one was young and still learning.
Somehow the following photo reminded me of the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who became famous 47 years ago when the book by the same name was an instant best-seller in 1970. Do people still read it now?
Upon seeing a gull fly by at Barnegat, I instinctively raised my camera and took a shot. Later, when I looked at the following photo, at first I couldn’t figure out what that roundish object was. Finally it dawned on me that it was a clam that a juvenile Ring-billed Gull had just dropped after it had fished it out of the ocean.
Ponds and lakes in our area are frozen and mostly covered with ice. I went and walked around some of them and saw a few hardy birds. Flocks of dunlins were flying around, landing and taking off near any open water spot.
This herring gull was or had just finished eating a mussel, I believe.
Other gulls were half asleep in broad daylight, maybe trying to conserve their body heat.
Only one juvenile Herring Gull was doing aerial acrobatics for my camera.
Today a friend and I went to the southernmost part of New Jersey on the Delaware Bay. It was too early for the annual coming ashore of the horseshoe crab, which will happen in about two weeks. So we walked on the beach and I was able to take my first best shot of the red-winged blackbird, which some say is the most common bird in North America.
There were also other birds of course, such as sandpipers, gulls, and terns.
Sandpipers are small birds, not much bigger than sparrows, but the terns and gulls were larger.
The common tern is noticeable by its short feet.