Great Blue Heron Portrait

With a couple of my recent posts featuring Great Blue Herons, I wanted to share another one from last summer, during one of our boat trips up Tuckahoe Creek.  I had set it aside and then over-missed it, tsk tsk.

As we drifted by, I took several beautiful angles of this Great Blue Heron perched on a private dock pier.  He never moved, so it was all about his shaded background line-up that would determine my favorite.

Here’s the one….

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Great Blue Heron “Portrait”

 

We continued on and had stopped for some other wildlife activity when a Great Blue Heron came from behind and flew right past us.

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Great Blue Heron

 

I really don’t know if it was the same Great Blue Heron, it had been an hour since the pier shots; but I did enjoy this one’s fly-by with the subtle shoreline background.

I never tire photographing Great Blue Herons.

 

 

Mallard Hanky-Panky?

I really get a giggle out of this photo’s possible story.

Appears the fella in the middle is oblivious to what looks like a little hanky-panky between the other two behind his back.

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      “Hey there, gorgeous.”                                                         “Well, hello there, handsome.”
(Mallards)

 

Of course, Mallards are like this!  Ha!

I love when wildlife makes us laugh and smile, and hope this one gave you a chuckle.

 

 

Great Blue Heron Fly-By

Great Blue Herons are year-round residents of the Chesapeake Bay region, as long as there is a source of water and food.  Once the water freezes, they’ll move around until they find another area that offers their needs.

With the changing of the seasons, it had been a couple months since I’d seen a Great Blue Heron on Cambridge Creek.

That changed recently.  Two times on two different days last week, I watched one fly towards and past me from the watermen’s public marina/ramp where it had been hanging out.

A Great Blue Heron doing a fly-by….

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Great Blue Heron

 

When they fly this close, you can hear the ‘whoosh’ of their wings’ strong, graceful stride.

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Great Blue Heron

 

Their wingspan can reach up to 6 1/2 feet wide.

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“Gorgeous Wings”

 

How nice to have a Great Blue Heron stop by the creek for a visit during these cold, January days!

 

The Great Blue Heron Stare

As the sun was setting, I spotted a Great Blue Heron hiding at Blackwater NWR.

He had already seen and locked eyes on me.

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Great Blue Heron – “The Stare”

 

Those eyes!  Sometimes their stare can be a bit intimidating…..

I can guarantee you he won the staring contest.

 

 

“Cassie” Canvasback’s Return

If you followed me last year, you may recall my posts (highlighted below) on a female Canvasback that I named “Cassie”.  She had not migrated back to Canada last Spring, so I took a special interest in her and learned her left wing was damaged.  Cassie wasn’t able to fly back home to breed.

     She Is A Survivor  (first post May 30, 2018)

Cassie hung around Cambridge Creek throughout the summer and was a delight and inspiration to me.  I adored her, but as comes with getting attached, I worried about her survival too.  Yet, she continued to prove she could take care of herself.  Even if she could not fly, nor dive for food.

     Cassie Canvasback – Remember Me?  (second post August 2, 2018)

After the second post, I captured her a few more times.  Here is one of the last photogenic shots of her back then hanging at our end of the creek.

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“Cassie” Canvasback – August 10, 2018

 

I sighted her a few times after that, but it was at a distance down the creek.  Those sightings became less and less.  By the end of September, I didn’t see her any more.  The wintering Canvasbacks weren’t due here until December.  What had happened to her?  I worried and continued to watch for her.

On the afternoon of December 21st, I stepped out on my balcony to check for wildlife on the creek.  Lo and behold, there was a female Canvasback below me.  Cassie was back and pretty as ever!

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“Cassie” Canvasback – December 21, 2018

 

How did I know it was her?  It’s as if she read my mind.  Cassie flashed her wings for me shortly thereafter.

         “Cassie” Canvasback                                    See damage to her left wing in this photo?

 

I could tell many of her feathers had grown back on her left wing.  How wonderful!  Is she able to fly now?  I don’t know that yet; I hope if she can, she will fly in or out of the creek one day to show me.

What about diving for food, can she do that now?  She couldn’t before and had to forage piers, boats, and bulkheads for food.

Two days later, Cassie showed off her redeveloped diving skills.  I was delighted for her!

Cassie showing me her diving skills

 

Did you miss that?  Here, Cassie will do it again for you.

Cassie doing the dive

 

More from the past several weeks of beautiful “Cassie”.

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“Reflecting Cassie”

 

Even ducks have itches!

 

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“On the Move”

 

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“Nap Time”

 

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“Making Water Rings”

 

We iced over here at the top end of Cambridge Creek; and, of course, all the birds disappeared but the gulls.  The ice has since melted, and I saw Cassie yesterday.

Even though hundreds of Canvasbacks are not too far from the creek’s entrance off the Choptank River, and maybe that is where Cassie has been “hiding”, how nice that she returned to Cambridge Creek that offered her a home to keep her healthy and safe as she healed through her wing injury the past year.

Welcome back, Cassie!

 

 

Snow Fog & A Pair of Eagles

The mid-Atlantic region received 2-8 inches of snow a couple of days ago (we got 4-5 inches), which was followed by an artic blast, dropping our temperatures well below average the last two days.

However, the quick rise in today’s temperatures to over 40°F created area patches of snow fog throughout the region.  A perfect day to be out for photo opportunities, but we had errands.

Yes, I still went prepared, “just in case”.

Driving a back-road, we sighted a pair of Bald Eagles ahead of us, eating on a carcass; we pulled over quickly.  This annoyed the Eagles, and they took flight before my lens was out the passenger window.

I got a nice focus on my second shot as the pair flew past an old farm building and towards a bit of fog.

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Bald Eagles

 

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Bald Eagles

 

They quickly landed in a patch of fog behind us, looking at each other and us.  There was a meal ‘back there’ they really didn’t want to leave.

 

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Bald Eagles

 

Can you see the difference between the two Eagles?  In all the photos, the Eagle on the right is about four years old.  In another year, its head and tail will be pure white, having finally reached full adult plumage.

Having interrupted the Eagles’ meal wasn’t kind, so we quickly moved on with our travels.  You can bet the Eagles didn’t take too long to get back to their meal.

 

 

Series: Take A Moment and Enjoy A Sunset

I’m behind on my sunset series, but instead of sharing several recent ones, I’ll just share today’s, and catch the others up another time.

Because….it’s all about today.  The start and the finish.

I shot this panorama of today’s foggy sunrise over the Choptank River, where winter ducks were waking up.

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Sunrise over Choptank River – January 16, 2019

 

Tonight’s sunset didn’t have a whole lot of dramatics, but I did love the wispy cloud lit up by the setting sun, as well as the streaking trail of an airplane’s.

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Sunset over Cambridge Creek – January 16, 2019

 

In the sunset photo, there are gulls standing in the center on a thin layer of ice that has developed on parts of the creek from last night’s artic airblast.  With my zoom lens, I took some photos of those standing in the sunset’s reflecting light.  I am amazed the gulls are not falling through the ice!

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Herring Gulls at sunset on a section of thin ice

 

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free.  Don’t miss so many of them.”   ― Jo Walton