I had a wonderful opportunity watching and photographing a Great Blue Heron recently at Prime Hook NWR.
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.
I worked on trying to capture a couple close-ups…..
……and received some piercing GBH eyes back at me.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the busy holidays approaching, everyone please be safe in your travels!
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.
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.
There were hundreds!
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.
It was most enjoyable watching these birds in such a large flock as they ate, chirped, and flew around Prime Hook.
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.
Even Poison Ivy turns colorful in the fall. Makes it easy to spot to stay away!
Empty Osprey nest in tree, hopefully survives through the winter to be occupied by Osprey once again.
I got lucky spotting a few White-tailed Deer (females) roaming about eating.
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.
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.
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.
Fall foliage is occurring around the mid-Atlantic, I hope to get out and capture some of it. Here’s one ready to share.
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!
As always, thank you for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your weekend!