Autumn & Birds On Pickering Creek

While running errands nearby, I had (made) an extra hour to check out Pickering Creek Audubon Society for the first time.  I had heard there was a Golden Eagle sighting the past several days.  Possibly the same one seen and returning from last fall/winter.  Maybe there’d be some autumn water reflections too.

The bad news is I didn’t see the Golden Eagle, but I knew it’d be a long shot for such a short amount of time there.  I’ll be going back for him if he stays in the area per reports.

The good news I was rewarded with other photo ops before the quick departure.

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Pickering Creek Reflections


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White-throated Sparrow


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Pond at Pickering Creek Audubon Society


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Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)


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Red-bellied Woodpecker (female) working on her tree cavity nest


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Pickering Creek Reflections


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Floating Feather


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Shanty Pier at Pickering Creek Audubon Society


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Unidentified Fungi
(for my fungi-loving blogger friends)


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Kayak Launcher at Pickering Creek Audubon Society


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Blue Jay – An Autumn Profile


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Blue Jay giving me ‘the look’



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An enjoyable autumn hour that definitely eased the drudgeries of the errand running!



Raptors at Blackwater NWR

To see Birds of Prey, or raptors, is exciting to many.  They are beautiful, powerful birds.  And they are also fierce birds with keen eyesight and sharp talons that hunt and kill other animals for food, including small birds, fish, mammals, lizards, and insects.

I was fortunate to capture three species of raptors during my last two  visits at Blackwater NWR.

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Northern Harrier


Sometimes we’re not so lucky with their perch of choice.

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Red-tailed Hawk


He flew to another pole.  Of course, I followed.

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Red-tailed Hawk


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Bald Eagles


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Bald Eagle


It lovelier to see them in their natural habitat setting.

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Bald Eagle


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Bald Eagle


Blackwater NWR has the largest concentration of breeding Bald Eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida.  During the winter, the population soars with transients.

It’s starting that time of year where you will see Eagles at the refuge on any given day.

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Bald Eagles


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This Bald Eagle pair was popular with everyone, they were much closer to the wildlife drive, perched for a couple hours.



Bald Eagles Chit-Chatting


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Bald Eagles on the same perch in their habitat


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Same pair of Bald Eagles at sunset




Water Birds at Blackwater NWR

I shared my captures of the little birds a few posts back from my last two visits to Blackwater NWR.  Now on to the bigger birds.  There were so many great opportunities, so I’ll split into two posts, water birds and raptors so not bog you down with so many photos at once (again).  Seems to be a problem of mine…..  😉

We’ll start with the smaller water birds and work our way up.

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Greater Yellowlegs


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Ruddy Ducks at sunset


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Northern Pintail (female)


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Northern Pintail (male)



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Different angle of the same Northern Pintail (male)


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Double-crested Cormorant


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Great Blue Heron


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Great Blue Heron on the refuge’s Osprey platform cam
(this looks funny, but I bet was neat-o to those who were watching the cam at the time)



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Great Blue Heron scratching an itch


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Great Blue Heron soaking up the sun’s afternoon rays


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An hour later, the same Great Blue Heron snoozing during the ‘golden hour’
(he never moved!)


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Great Blue Heron at sunset


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Great Blue Heron – An Autumn Profile


The raptors are next; and, of course, there will be Eagles!



American White Pelicans Are Back

(I meant to publish this post two days ago.  A little late on the news for my local friends, sorry!  Here’s good news:  Tomorrow, November 11, Blackwater NWR has free admission to the wildlife drive in honor of Veteran’s Day.)


I’ve been processing and whittling down the bigger birds I captured during my last two visits to Blackwater NWR.  That post is almost complete and may have to split into two posts.

In this post, I wanted to share the surprise I sighted/captured on November 4th visit, the flying in of four American White Pelicans.

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American White Pelicans


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American White Pelicans


Not a new bird for me but exciting just the same!

You see, although considered unusual for the mid-Atlantic region as a resident bird, even more so for wintering grounds, Blackwater NWR has been fortunate to host a squadron of around 100 +/- American White Pelicans that first started coming in smaller quantities in 2007.

I re-looped the wildlife drive about an hour or so later and saw a small squadron of about 15-20 of them out on the water in the distance.  Probably where the four I first saw were now.

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American White Pelicans


On October 31st, the refuge did a waterfowl count and reported zero American White Pelicans.

The local birding forums and Blackwater NWR media are abuzz with the sightings.  Some have shown photos (91 in flight, sighted Nov. 2nd) and others are boasting counts (as high as 88 in the water) of the arrivals.

Hopefully, the American White Pelicans will stay the winter again and come in closer to the wildlife drive once in a while for visitors to marvel and photograph up close.



Take a Moment and Enjoy a Sunset

If you’ve admired a recent sunset, you always love seeing another.  If you haven’t seen a sunset recently, I am happy to share with you mine.

Just as the title says, take a moment and enjoy.   No two are alike.

I have three sunsets to share from this past week.

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Over Cambridge Creek – 11/6/18


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Over Cambridge Creek – 11/7/18


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Galena, Maryland – 11/8/18


“Every sunset brings the promise of a new day.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson



Two Autumn Butterflies

I’m slipping in this post on two butterflies also captured during my two recent visits at Blackwater NWR.  Give them their own post.  🙂

This first one, an Eastern Comma, displayed like a golden gem on the tree trunk deep into the woods.  I wish I had shot it with my wide-angle lens to show it amongst all the tree trunks.  It was definitely an eye-catcher.

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Eastern Comma Butterfly – 10/28/18


The second butterfly was a late migrating Monarch.  I was very excited to see it.

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Monarch Butterfly (female) – 11/4/18


Both butterflies fit in nicely with their colors of Autumn…..


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Happy Autumn and, as always, thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate you!



Little Bird Bonanza at Blackwater NWR

My last post featured the start of the autumn colors from my visit to Blackwater NWR on November 4.  Here’s the start of the bird side from that same visit, along with a couple captures from my October 28 visit.

This post will feature the little birds.  The little adorable ones that flit & flicker, dash & dart, jump & jet.  Basically playing the games “peek-a-boo” and “catch me if you can” with anyone who dares to watch them.

These photos are the little birds that gave me a brief, splitting moment to capture their beauty.

First and foremost, I’ll start with a lifer to add to my list.  In the woods with both sunlight and shade, I was working too fast and both over & underexposed my shots.  But after cleaning up the photos enough to confirm ID, I can now finally add the Brown Creeper.  <happy dance>  My count is now 171, with a photo of each bird species in the wild to confirm.  For an amateur bird photographer, I don’t think that’s half bad, and I have much fun doing it.

Here’s that new lifer, the Brown Creeper.  Beg pardon on the graininess…


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Brown Creeper


Brown Creeper



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Brown Creeper



Brown Creeper



And here are the other little birds captured during the two visits.

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Savannah Sparrow


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Song Sparrow



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Field Sparrow


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Immature White-crowned Sparrow
(Thank you everyone for your ID help!)


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Ruby-crowned Kinglet


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White-breasted Nuthatch


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Dark-eyed Junco


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Eastern Phoebe


Eastern Phoebe


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Eastern Phoebe


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Blue Jay


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American Goldfinch


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American Goldfinch at the golden hour


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Yellow-rumped Warbler


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Yellow-rumped Warbler
(nicknamed “Butter-butt” as you can see why)


What fun it was with the challenge these little birds provide!

Next will be a quick post on butterflies and then the bigger birds from the same two visits.