Taking A Break……

As you know, I’ve mentioned in past posts on having some medical issues and apologized I haven’t been able to post as I use to.  I am going to take a long break, and this will be my last post for a month or so.  I will be getting a total knee replacement this week, and I know I’ll need this break to work on my recovery.  I hope to be back as soon as I am able!

Before I leave, here’s a couple more birds I captured at Blackwater NWR the same day I photographed the American Bald Eagle in my previous post.

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Red-winged Blackbird

 

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Osprey (one of my top five favorite birds!)

If I’m able to, I’ll try to keep up with my fellow bloggers’ posts, even if only to ‘like’ to let you know I’ve stopped by, but I might not leave any comments.  I’m just not so savvy on small devices/cell phones on typing.   🙂

Happy shooting and happy posting while I am away, my friends!  I will miss you!

 

An American Patriotic Symbol

Recently my husband and I took a drive along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, spending a couple hours driving along the wildlife drive at Blackwater NWR in Cambridge.  It felt wonderful to be out and about with nature, and it had been a couple years since I had last visited.  I was super-excited to say the least!

I was fortunate to get the chance to photograph several birds and a few animals, but nothing compared to the close-up opportunity of this gorgeous American Bald Eagle.

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This majestic bird was conveniently perched in a tree right alongside the wildlife drive.  It can’t get any better than that!

 

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Blackwater NWR hosts over 150 American Bald Eagles during the winter, as well as hosts one of the largest breeding populations of American Bald Eagles in the country.  We were fortunate to see about a dozen or so other Bald Eagles off in the distance flying, perched in trees, or on the ground along the water.

 

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A even closer close-up……

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We were preparing to move on when he/she decided to take flight.

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The American Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that.  Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, American Bald Eagles have flourished under protection.

I still get chills seeing one as if it’s my first time.  And when they are close enough for photo ops, WOWSA!

 

White-crowned Sparrow

(Due to medical reasons, I have not been able to post for a while and hope you’ll excuse my ‘no visits’ to your blog site.  I’m working on trying to get back and will be there soon!)

 

There are more than 30 different types of Sparrows.  Some are easy to identify, and some are so slightly different from another, identifying can be trying.

One that is easy to identify is the White-crowned Sparrow, with his/her bold black-and-white striped head, pale pink or yellow beak, and gray breast.

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Except along the West Coast and mountains of the West where they live year-round, White-crowned Sparrows appear each winter across the United States and Mexico, arriving from Alaska and artic Canada around September.

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“Fluffing the feathers”

Alaskan White-crowned Sparrows migrate about 2,600 miles to winter in Southern California.

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The White-crowned Sparrow usually leaves most of us by March or April, migrating back to Alaska and artic Canada for summer breeding.

A migrating White-crowned Sparrow was once tracked moving 300 miles in a single night.  A lot of miles for a little bird!

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“Foraging the ground”

White-crowned Sparrows eat mainly seeds of weeds and grasses, and insects. They also eat grains such as oats, wheat, barley, and corn, and fruit including elderberries and blackberries.

Definitely a cute little Sparrow!

 

Canada Geese

A bird often complained about due to their aggressiveness, nuisance, and land damage is the Canada Goose.  I’ve always enjoyed their beauty and noise.  At sunrise on the Chesapeake Bay, hearing them ‘honk’ to each other as they awaken was a joy to me.

There is a small community pond near my daughter’s home in Delaware where I can park alongside and photograph them from my car.

Dropping from the sky, Canada Geese silhouettes can look a bit comical, feet dangling for landing and with the appearance of possible air-collisions about to happen.

 

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By evening, the pond would be full of Canada Geese for a night’s rest.

Some close-ups from a brighter day…..

 

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With Spring arriving, it appears these daily visitors have already moved on, perhaps migrating back north to their summer breeding grounds.

 

Rockin’ Rock Pigeons

A common sight in towns and cities around the world, Rock Pigeons gather around streets and public squares, living on discarded food and offered birdseed.  I photographed these images in Ocean City Inlet parking lot in Maryland.

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Rock Pigeons nest on buildings and window ledges.  In the countryside, you’ll find them nesting in barns, under bridges, and on natural cliffs.

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Typically a blue-gray bird with two dark wingbars, you can often also find many with plain, spotted, pale, or rusty-red coloring.  Most Rock Pigeons have iridescent throat feathers that shine in the sunlight.

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Rock Pigeons are considered to be one of the most intelligent birds on the planet.  Pigeons can find their way home, even if released from a distant location blindfolded. 

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The earliest large-scale communication network using Pigeons as messengers was established in Syria and Persia around the 5th century BC. 

Pigeons were introduced to North America from Europe in the early 1600s.  They were used to carry messages for our U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I and II, saving lives and providing vital strategic information.

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Next time you see a Rock Pigeon, check out his/her rockin’ neck colors!

 

American Oystercatchers

The American Oystercatcher is a beautiful black, brown, and white contrasting bird with pale pink legs and a bright reddish-orange beak and eyes.  I’ve seen this bird numerous times and either did not have my camera or I missed the shot…..up until our recent visit to Ocean City, Maryland.

Not one, but on two days I lucked out on sighting and capturing them around the Isle of Wight Bay.  And now I can finally add this bird to my lifer list!   🙂

The first day early morning there was a lone adult foraging the low tide and flats.

 

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I could not identify whether this was a male or female as they look identical.

 

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True to its name, the American Oystercatcher feeds on bivalves (oysters, clams, and mussels) in addition to sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and worms.  They do love a good sand or mudflat.

 

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The second day I heard a loud ruckus, turned and sighted three in flight.  It was windy that day; and I struggled holding my camera still to focus on them, getting these two ‘best’ shots, albeit not so great with my cropping….but I’ll take them!

 

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As one turned and headed a different direction, the other two continued on their flight.

 

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There are two races of American Oystercatchers that breed in North America – the  eastern race along the Atlantic coast, and the western race along the Pacific coast from northwestern Baja California southward.  Another species is the Black Oystercatcher which lives along the Pacific coast north of Baja California.  Someday I’ll have to get me a shot of that one.

I love that bold color beak!

 

Lots O’Ducks

During our recent visit to Ocean City, Maryland, we had a late lunch at BJ’s On The Water along the Isle of Wight Bay.  There’s a sign when you walk into the restaurant that says “daily duck feeding at 1:00 pm”.

We missed the time, and I wasn’t sure there’d be any ducks that cold day; but I still grabbed my camera just in case a few stragglers were still there.

I was not disappointed!  The majority consisted of American Black Ducks.

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American Black Ducks and a pair of Canada Geese

The male American Black Ducks have yellow beaks, the females have olive-green beaks.

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American Black Ducks (female is stretching her wings) and a lone Mallard

 

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Mallard (male)

 

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Canada Goose

 

As I took a few photographs, a smaller duck hanging further in the back caught my eye.  She finally come closer for some nice captures.

 

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Female Redhead

 

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Female Redhead

She was the only Redhead but seemed content with the group.  It was her sighting that made my lunch that much more delicious!

 

 

 

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