Great Blue Heron

I had a wonderful opportunity watching and photographing a Great Blue Heron recently at Prime Hook NWR.

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With exquisite grace, he slowly moved in the canal, looking for and snagging a darting meal in the water.

He also kept an eye on the few visitors walking by.

 

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I worked on trying to capture a couple close-ups…..

 

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……and received some piercing GBH eyes back at me.

 

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Whoa, what a staredown!  I dropped down my camera, turned my head away, and remained motionless.

Feeling no threat, he comfortably forged on, again ever so slowly and with grace.

 

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As he moved on and away, I left him to his task.  I ventured off, but came back past this area 10-15 minutes later.  I searched the canal and saw that he had disappeared.  I glanced at a couple sitting on a bench who smiled at me and pointed up to the Osprey nest platform off to the right.

And there he was.  For everyone to see.  What a beauty!

 

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I know I will never tire photographing the gorgeous Great Blue Heron.  Not only were they my Mom’s favorite bird, but for me they are also a teacher of patience.  Something that we all need these days in life’s hustle-bustle.

(These are for you, Mom.  We just passed three years without you at Thanksgiving, and I still miss you daily.  Happy Birthday today.)

 

Feathers of Four

Here are four more birds I recently photographed at Prime Hook NWR.

First up, a Greater Yellowlegs – you can see why they got their name. These medium to large shorebirds are common and widespread; but with their tendency to breed in unpleasant, mosquito-ridden bogs & swamps, it makes the Greater Yellowlegs one of the least-studied shorebirds on the North American continent.

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Greater Yellowlegs

 

Next, a Downy Woodpecker – a fairly small woodpecker at 5-7 inches in length, found across the United States year round.  The male has a red spot on its head.  I found a female.

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Downy Woodpecker (female)

 

Next, a Brown Thrasher.  These birds are accomplished songsters that may sing more than 1,100 different song types and include imitations of other birds.

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And finally, a Savannah Sparrow.  There are many subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow across the United States.  Similar in all are the yellow patch by the eye, small head, and short tail.

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Savannah Sparrow

 

With the busy holidays approaching, everyone please be safe in your travels!

 

Carolina Wrens

While at Prime Hook NWR a few weeks ago, I stopped at a bench to rest and take in the beauty around me.  It didn’t take long to spot movement of a bird creeping up the trunk of a tree.

It was a Carolina Wren.

 

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These birds love to creep low on tree trunks and through dense vegetation areas choked with tangled vines and bushes in search of insects and fruit.

 

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The Carolina Wren is a year-round resident of the eastern half of the United States.

When a male and female bond, they will stay together for life.  I noticed a second Carolina Wren on a tree alongside the first one.  I wondered if I had found mates.

 

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The second Carolina Wren moved down that tree and inside a broken-off branch.   He/she just sat there and did not move.  Maybe this was their home or shelter?

 

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These little birds are very leery and quick to move/hide, so I felt lucky on resting at the right place at the right time and meeting up with this Carolina Wren pair.  🙂

 

American Robins

American Robins are fairly large songbirds, and are very familiar over most of North America in the spring and summer, running and hopping on lawns with an upright stance, looking for insects and earthworms.

Although they are considered harbingers of spring, many American Robins also spend the entire fall and winter in their breeding range throughout the United States.  Those that breed in Canada will migrate to the United States.

 

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In fall and winter, American Robins form nomadic flocks from fifty to thousands in size, gathering in trees to roost or feed on berries.

This was exactly what I found at Prime Hook NWR.  I had never seen so many American Robins at one time, feasting on the berry-laden trees around the Visitor’s Center and along the Dike Trail.

 

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There were hundreds!

 

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The large fall/winter flocks will break up in the spring, prior to nesting season.   When northerners see their “first robin of spring,” it may be a bird that has wintered only a few miles away, not one that has just arrived from southern climates.

 

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It was most enjoyable watching these birds in such a large flock as they ate, chirped, and flew around Prime Hook.

 

Prime Hook NWR – 2017 Fall Foliage

I visited Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware this past weekend and photographed not only birds but also the beginnings of the fall foliage.  It was so refreshing to see the splashes of yellow, orange, and red.

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DSC_7222-1 11517“Hidden Beauty”

 

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Even Poison Ivy turns colorful in the fall.  Makes it easy to spot to stay away!

 

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Empty Osprey nest in tree, hopefully survives through the winter to be occupied by Osprey once again.

 

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I got lucky spotting a few White-tailed Deer (females) roaming about eating.

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I’ll share the birds I photographed at Prime Hook NWR in my upcoming posts.

Well, geez, I could share one now, right?  🙂  Okay!

 

The Tufted Titmouse lives year round in much of the eastern half of the United States in woodlands below 2,000 feet elevation.  They are also common visitors at feeders and can be found in backyards, parks, and orchards.

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Tufted Titmouse

An interesting fact, Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from a live animal including raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans.

More Prime Hook NWR birds coming……

 

Yellow-rumped Warblers

While most warblers migrate to the tropics in the fall, the Yellow-rumped Warbler is able to survive in parts of the United States as far north as Seattle and New England during fall and winter.

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler that has the ability to digest waxes found on berry coatings, making them versatile in switching their diets from insects to berries as cold sets in.

 

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Yellow-rumped Warblers are highly recognized by the yellow patches on their sides and rump.

 

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They are nicknamed by some as “Butterbutts”.  The next photo shows why!

 

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Always nice to see little flits of yellow patches in the trees!

 

Northern Flickers

Northern Flickers are large woodpeckers.  However, unlike other woodpeckers, Northern Flickers mainly forage on the ground.  They eat mostly insects (favorites are ants and beetles), hammering into the soil to find them, as other woodpeckers do drilling into wood and trees.

Northern Flickers are common and widespread, and are found year-round in the United States.  The eastern version is yellow-shafted; the western version is red-shafted.

I came upon this yellow-shafted Northern Flicker, sitting pretty while absorbing the sun’s rays.

 

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Fall foliage is occurring around the mid-Atlantic, I hope to get out and capture some of it.  Here’s one ready to share.

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This next photo is this month’s Beaver Moon rising after sunset.  Oh boy, those trees are ready to transform into red, orange, and yellow!

 

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As always, thank you for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

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