I took the following photos on October 1st, 2019 but did not post them as I temporarily stopped blogging to concentrate on finishing my second book. Now, more than a year later, here they are. A large group of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets (with the black bills) was taking off at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Never had I seen so many flying together.
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.
This week I went to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge again, after a 5-month hiatus. Greenhead flies were already out and I had to keep my car windows closed, except for brief moments to take a photo. Shots taken through the windows turned out badly. Here are some better ones taken with the window quickly open.
Since I was inside the car and not wearing a mask, a female Red-winged Blackbird could not resist acting like a Karen.
Following are photos taken recently at home of other birds.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been coming in greater numbers. Capturing their flight is usually a challenge, but here are some of the better shots.
American Robins don’t migrate during the winter, merely keeping out of sight most of the time. They reappear with the coming of spring, when the ground is no longer too hard for them to try to pull out worms.
Flocks of Canada Geese flying overhead is another sign that the seasons are changing. However, I can’t figure out what they are doing since they seem to be flying in all directions.
Just a minute after the above shot, those Canada Geese reversed direction and flew over me again.
I thought that was the last of that flock and started walking toward the woods. Then they flew North and passed overhead once more.
Another sure sign of spring is the return of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets. They appeared two weeks ago, then went away when the weather turned cold. Now they are back.
Finally the turtles are out sunning themselves. I think they are Diamondback Terrapins, but am not positive. They all jumped into the water as I tried to come closer to them to get a better look.
Some up close shots of egrets that were just posing several days ago at the refuge, without any fear of humans.
A younger version of the above Snowy Egret.
Finally a shot of a water lily flower taken on the way out of the refuge.
Recently I encountered a new bird, for me anyway, the Common Yellowthroat, a small warbler with a Lone Ranger black mask, a white head top, and a very yellow throat.
This House Sparrow was preening itself one morning, and looked down curiously at a photographer.
Meanwhile, a female Mallard took off from Colonial Lake.
A Common Grackle laughed at the scene.
Have a great weekend!
Spring is a frenetic time for birds as it is their breeding season and they are very busy courting, building up their nests and their bodies for the rigor of incubating, and in general preparing for the arrival of the next generation. Last Saturday I took the following shots of a variety of birds carrying out those spring activities.
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.
Like many of us, whenever I see a colorful sunrise or sunset I try to take a picture of it, if possible. Since the refuge is where I go most often to shoot pictures, in the past several years I did manage to have some sunrise and sunset shots from that place.
The following photo was taken 14 minutes after the shot of the pinkish sunrise I posted here a few days ago at https://neihtn.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/fall-at-the-refuge
In the shot below, the sun hid behind thick clouds, but as it plunged below the horizon it produced magnificent colors ranging from blue and purple to red and yellow.
Egrets stayed around at the refuge later this year because the weather has been warmer than usual. Not today though as Artic air has brought temperatures to lows unheard of since the 1930’s. Anyway, last week I saw a Snowy Egret by Wildlife Drive at the refuge and stopped my car not more than 20 ft (6 m) from it.
Other cars then began stopping behind me, and the Snowy Egret decided it had enough and flew away.
Looking through my files, I saw the following photo taken in November 2014 at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. I did not post it before, perhaps because at first glance it appeared too dark. But lighting was falling on the egret and not on the marshy background. So here it is.
First a brown shape dove straight down from the sky, at a blazing speed. It was gone almost instantly. Then I saw a Snowy Egret floundering among a group of Cormorants swimming at the spot where the dive bombing occurred.
Then the Cormorants began fleeing the scene.
Eventually the Snowy Egret managed to fly away and went hiding among the tall grasses of the marshes. Meanwhile, a Peregrine Falcon was perched on top of a nearby pole, watching. I wonder if it was the same one who had dive bombed and scared every bird away. Peregrine Falcons are super fast and capable of reaching 200 mph (320 km/h) on a dive. They are also known to attack mid-sized birds and ducks.
In a band of about several dozens of Snowy Egrets mixed with Great Egrets, some were showing beautiful frilly feathers under the morning sun. At first I thought perhaps the wind was messing up their feathers, but if so, many if not all of them would have displayed those frilly plumes. Or was it breeding hormones acting up on some and not on others? Or were they trying to attract potential mates? I will let you decide.
Snowy Egrets are probably among the best egrets at catching fish. Here’s a series of photos I took at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge last week when there were many of them, together with Great Egrets, flying around and fishing.
The Great Egrets were not so successful at finding fish. At least I did not see any of them catching anything while the Snowy Egrets were plucking fish now and then out of the same pond.
This is my submission for this challenge: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/motion/
John Etheridge who blogs marvelously at Book of Bokeh has invited me to participate in the Monochrome Photos Challenge. As you know, I mostly publish color photos and only dabble in monochrome twice in 371 posts. This will be the third time.
The following shot of a Snowy Egret at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge could be a black and white photo in its original form. The egret was white except for a black bill and black feet, and some yellow around its eyes. The morning sun made the water appear pale blue, almost white. I converted the image to monochrome and it may look better than its color version.
To give some color to our drab front yard, I planted pansies in an island right in the middle of it. Unfortunately, the deer found the pansies irresistible and promptly chomped on them and pulled several out. I had to spray deer repellent to keep them away, but the pansy leaves now look blotchy. The following photo is of a flower that is almost intact. Its bright colors are yellow and deep brown, almost black. In monochrome, it is vividly black and white, and I hope you will like it this way.