I had breakfast with an Eagle this past Saturday.
We had just experienced a previous day of very warm temps (a tease from Mother Nature). The early morning sunrise was gorgeous. The beginning of another teasingly warm day could already be felt. Our ice-over had mostly melted away.
I with my cup of coffee (and binoculars and cameras). Mr. Eagle arrived on Lippincott’s Channel Marker #3 with his breakfast.
As I sipped and watched, he ate and watched. No words needed amongst friends.
Hard to beat a breakfast like this!
Two posts prior, I expressed how lucky our community was to have Canvasbacks so close to our shorelines due to Marshy Creek’s recent freeze-over. The Canvasbacks have continued to visit daily, but not near as close since the ice is breaking apart as it weakens and melts and Marshy Creek is beginning to open back up.
I was off this past Thursday due to the winter snow/ice storm that most of the East Coast suffered through and took on the challenge of trying to capture Canvasbacks in flight as more and more kept dropping in to the raft where Marshy Creek was opening up. I found it not so easy, lol, the two photos I’m sharing aren’t that good. I’ll blame it on the overcast! But they were comical and fun to watch.
I kept trying but wasn’t successful. That afternoon the sky had lightened more. While watching them for a bit, a part of the raft was separating and began to come towards me, turning & headed to the right to pass our Osprey nest platform pole.
Minutes later, the raft passing by quickly took flight. As I was trying to lock on them, I had a flock of Mallards fly within 15 feet in front of me, scattering as fast as they could as they suddenly saw me. (They scared me too, lol.) With all this chaos, I quickly thought “Eagle” as I stayed on the Canvasbacks.
Looking back to my left, a smaller raft of Canvasbacks were still in the water, moving swiftly in the same direction. It’s not safe in the back of the raft and you can see the last were already starting to fly when I started photographing them.
I really like the next shots as the Canvasbacks turned and flew over the ice.
So what did cause all the commotion, frightening away the waterfowl? I spotted the Eagle flying in.
The Eagle landed on the ice very close to where the Canvasbacks were and I was lucky to see the mate join him/her.
The pair of Eagles just stood and screamed numerous times, letting all know they were there. (I think that was already figured out.) The pair then took flight over to Lippincott’s channel marker where they continued to let everyone know they were around.
The pair departed thereafter in opposite directions and just as quickly I saw them both back together in the sky, one with a fresh meal dangling in its clutches. They landed on the osprey nest platform across Marshy Creek at CBEC and enjoyed their feast. It was hours later but the Canvasbacks did return for the evening.
All goes to show the Eagle does reign the Chesapeake Bay area’s waters!
This pair of Canada Geese visited our berm yesterday and at one point they were so close together, I saw the chance of a ‘heart’ appearing. Here’s the best of what I captured…..
Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!
On January 29th, Maryland DNR sent their ice breaker to open the Kent Narrows channel that had locked up frozen. They reported it was 10″ thick! I watched four watermen boats attempt yesterday morning to head out of the now flowing open-water channel but turned around as they reached Prospect Bay, I suspect due to the large chunks of ice still dangerously floating with the tides. Our temps have been steady in the low 20′s to mid/upper 30′s, helping to keep the channel flowing and not locking up again, but it is very slow in melting the surrounding freeze-over. But with some large-area open waters now available, the waterfowl are slowly returning in search of food and shelter. Marshy Creek is usually teaming with waterfowl species of all kinds and is a crucial resting and feeding spot for them. As they return to our water’s iced-edge, they’re finding Marshy Creek still frozen over and so are rafting more closer to the channel and our community than usual.
I saw this activity last Saturday from my balcony and walked over to see what I might spot both at the community’s channel point and around the corner up the channel. As I got closer, I sighted lots and lots of Mallards. Taking my time in movement, I finally reached and found a nice flat rock on top of our community berm with the channel in front of me to sit quietly & blend in.
No one seemed disturbed by my presence. In fact, a few of the braver Mallards began coming towards me in hopes of something to eat. I started photographing them along with the Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, and Greater Scaup that were at a distance out in front of me, where they were either sleeping or diving for food.
And then there he was. A lone male Canvasback came gliding past me along the berm. I moved my camera slowly and nervously began taking his photo. I cannot miss this shot, I told myself. Well, he was more than obliging. He was definitely cautious, but he continued to glide back and forth past me as I remained still with a shot here and there. What a thrill! I am super-pleased with my captures. Here’s a select few….
I didn’t keep my camera on him so not to scare him off but I did try to keep track of where he was as I photographed others. This one time I found him on the ice with the Mallards, what a crazy guy!
After that shot, he preened himself for a while before returning to the water. I searched around and couldn’t spot another Canvasback in the mix of waterfowl I was watching.
So then there was this male Greater Scaup who decided he wanted a little attention as well. Here he comes, gliding along the berm right in front of me when the Canvasback wasn’t.
At one time, I had both the Greater Scaup and the Canvasback passing each other as they passed me.
What was with the Scaup’s lifted wing? He didn’t have it that way before and kept it lifted until the Canvasback was at a distance.
The male Greater Scaup then dropped the wing & headed back towards me. I’m guessing he was showing his stuff protecting his pretty lady who was just below me and I didn’t even know it. I just had too much activity going on, lol.
The pair headed out into the channel where they met up with these next three female Greater Scaups. I guessed this is where we say “lucky duck” for the male….
Since last Saturday, the waterfowl numbers have increased, including now a huge number of Canvasbacks. Maybe that lone male went ahead to check out the area! This morning, I snuck down for a five-minute shoot.
I couldn’t get very close or I would have surely scared them into flight. So I shot from behind a bush.
These two species were an absolute thrill for me to see so close (if you haven’t figured that out yet!).
This past weekend I was able to get out briefly for a hike over at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (post forthcoming) for a little exercise and photography. The day before I had seen Mike Powell’s photography blog post on his “Dancing Leaf” photo conveying winter, and I was inspired on such a simple winter photo that I would have never thought to envision myself.
So, as I was working my way through some snow on my hike snapping away at the birds, I came upon a wide open area where all these leaves were jutting out from little drifts here and there. Mike’s photo instantly came to mind and I began searching for my leaf-op to capture. It wasn’t so easy at first to ‘see & find’ my vision. Then I saw and said, you’re the one.
An oak leaf, I believe. But I’m not so good on the plants and trees, so please correct me if I’m wrong.
Thank you, Mike, for the inspiration, I had fun with it and enjoyed learning to expand my photography vision.
And I hope ya’ll enjoyed this simple shot with me too!
With the frigid temperatures, the local ‘land’ birds in our community have been scarce, only out from their shelter to seek food. Sunday we awoke to a gorgeous sunny morning and the winds had died down, finally. Made the morning feel like early spring. That wasn’t only my opinion, I could hear land birds singing their enjoyment as well!
This fine-looking fella was no exception. He, too, was very happy to feel the sun’s warmth. So much so, he obliged in giving me a nice photo session.
I hadn’t seen a robin for so long, it was a happy sighting…..and a promise Spring will be here soon!
When it gets REAL cold along the tidal tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, our creeks, coves and rivers can build up lots of ice and even appear to freeze-over. Our country’s present deep-freeze arctic temps are providing the perfect conditions. It’s been interesting seeing photos of other bodies of water around the country doing the same thing. (Those of Niagara Falls were unbelievable!) So I thought I’d share three wide-angle photos I took today from my balcony of my local area’s freeze-overs. You can see the ice effects of the tidal waters that continue beneath, as the ice lifts and lowers. There are dark open ‘pools’ of water here & there; and along the background to my right, the ice is chopped up as it rolls with the tides down from Kent Narrows to Prospect Bay to Eastern Bay to the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay and then back again. Marshy Creek actually is more of a cove as shown, and it does look like it’s pretty much frozen over.
This is amazing for us locals to see!
Everyone’s experiencing awesome sunrises and sunsets during these arctic temperatures that pump up the brilliance. So to round out today and this post, here’s this morning’s sunrise reflecting beautifully on the ice over Marshy Creek. No color editing!
I was hoping for a vibrant sunset today as well but a horizon of snow clouds cut it a bit short. Still was pretty to photograph. I took a series of the sunset, and selected two to share that were taken 13 minutes apart.
The next photo was last night’s sunset, what a difference from tonight’s. No matter, I enjoy every one of them.
Hope you liked seeing a little scenery for a change. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, stay warm, and thanks for stopping by!