A Great Bird-Op Day

With all the bald eagle sightings to and from work the last several weeks, and the previous day a field of snow geese, Tuesday morning I got on the road early to give me ‘stopping time’ in hopes of some of the same sightings.  🙂

Getting in my car, several house finches were singing beautifully in the parking lot.  I spotted the closest one and took a few shots in the early morning light.  His beautiful song deserved his photo posting!

House Finch

No, that is not snow in the next photo!  Unbelievably, after the past weekend freeze, we are back in the 50’s.  And as I had hoped, the same farm field along Rt 301 about 20 minutes from home was filled with snow geese.  Monday, there wasn’t as many on the field, most were in the air at a distance, coming in.  Tuesday morning, my wide angle lens could not get in the width of their presence and it wasn’t so great showing the depth they were.  Even from my distance their honking chatter was awesome!

Field of Snow Geese

Deer herds can be seen most mornings and evenings in open fields, and unfortunately there is always a perished one from a vehicle strike along the road here and there along Rt 301.  I came upon one along the road which was being enjoyed by a bald eagle.  He didn’t even pay any attention as I pulled over and took a few shots.  Darn….unfocused….I got too excited…and not worthy of posting.  There wasn’t much traffic except an occasional car or tractor trailer, which of course one of the big loud ones now had to go by.  I refocused just in time as the eagle turned to look to mine and the truck’s direction.

Bald Eagle

Then another tractor trailer goes by, where are they coming from and why now??  That was both mine and the eagle’s thoughts!  LOL  And so, of course, the eagle took flight….

Bald Eagle

and landed several hundred feet further into the farm field.  He was definitely staying close to keep an eye on his meal.  I took only a couple more shots, said goodbye & thanks, giving him back his space.   Back on the road to work I went.

Bald Eagle

In the fall/winter, hawks can easily be seen perched along Rt 301 almost daily.  I’ve tried many times to capture shots but they are very skittish and will take flight while you’re trying to pull over just to get stopped.   And that’s from across a dual highway with a wide grass center inbetween.  I’ve seen so many lately, I decided Tuesday I was going to try again if I came across one at a good angle.  Not 10 minutes after leaving the eagle, I spotted the next red-tailed hawk perched across the highway up in the trees.  He was busy moving around and then sat up & looked directly at me, maybe to flash a smile?  Or to see who’s watching him!  Sorry, poor focus.

Red-Tailed Hawk

He started to move around again and I thought he was surely going to take off, but then watched and photographed him as he worked on breaking off a small branch from the tree.

Red-Tailed Hawk

With success, he took flight swiftly with his branch I’m sure to head back to his nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk

I wasn’t sure if he was passing the branch from his beak to his claws and/or it was an accidental drop, but I got this shot before the branch fell from his clutch.  Again, my excitement and his quickness lost the focus….but I still wanted to share the ‘action’ of these two shots.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk didn’t give that branch a second thought, just went straight to another tree and perched.  He kept his back to me for several shots, and I told him I’d leave him alone and be on my way.  (Does any other wildlife photographers ‘talk’ to their ops??  Or am I crazy, LOL)  Well, he must have heard me, he turned and gave me the next look.  I took three photos, told him bye/thanks, and drove off.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Arriving to work, I thought what a great drive in!  I couldn’t wait for the drive home AND to download the day’s photos.

When it was time to leave, the sun was setting really bright.  There’s a man-made pond just before I get back on Rt 301 where there’s an occasional mallard or two.  For the past week or so, I’ve spotted a pair of buffleheads in that pond.  It’s been the first time I’d seen them there and so close to active civilization (the pond is beyond a Walmart).  I couldn’t get the pair together, the female was more behind some marshy grasses but I captured the male in the sun.

Male Bufflehead

Joining the buffleheads were those mallards.

Male Bufflehead, Male & Female Mallards

Mallards & Bufflehead - BOTTOMS UP!

Meanwhile, off to the left of the pond up on a mound of dirt where other construction will soon be in the works, a small flock of Canadian geese were resting, with their ‘looker’ doing just that, looking for intruders and enemies.  You can see some of the geese napping while standing on one foot.  Now that’s balance!

Canadian Geese

Three ventured down the hill, grazing the grass while I was photographing them and the pond ducks.

Canadian Geese

One goose finally decided he needed a drink and swim.  He then turned back to the group and honked a few times  The sun was setting quickly so I opted to get back on the road.  As I was leaving, I saw the rest were waking and starting their way to the water.   I wondered just what that goose said to them….”hey fellas the water feels great”!

Canadian Goose, Mallards, Bufflehead

The next 45 minutes ride to home, not a bird to photograph.  That was okay, I was tickled at my day’s sightings already!  As I was approaching our community’s entrance, I did a quick check on a small protected inlet along our community that runs up to Rt 18 where I’ve seen a blue heron quite often in the late afternoon.  He was there.  🙂  I got pulled over safely a bit past where he was and walked back slowly to not scare him.  He hardly moved, I took a few shots, and went home.

Great Blue Heron

When I got home, I thought can there be any backyard visitors?  Just a few mallards.  The incoming winds and waves were not favorable for any visitors.  That was ok, I was most content with my great bird-op day!

Finally, a quick share, when I was downloading my photos, I found the shots I forgot I took of our half moon before sunrise Monday morning.  Here’s one of those shots.  Pretty cool to see the craters.  Pretty amazing how BIG those craters/mountain ranges really are!

I hope you enjoyed my drive in to and from work.  And a big THANKS to all of you for visiting and following my blog.  I really REALLY appreciate it and feel honored!

P.S.  I am an amateur at bird identification.  If I ever misname any bird, PLEASE let me know!!

26 thoughts on “A Great Bird-Op Day

  1. You make me crazy with those eagle shots! I smiled when you said you got so excited a few were unfocused. I know that would happen to me too! I hope I get up close and personal with an eagle some day. The moon shot is spectacular! Margie

    • I’ll be the first to admit I’m an amateur, just having a wonderful time with the birds, and feeling so lucky they give me such great opportunities to keep practicing!

    • Thanks Montucky, when I saw the reflecting water as I drove past, I knew I had to find that safe spot to pull over and walk back to see if I could get him with a reflection. The sun and he oblidged!

  2. Kinda makes the drive to work a pleasure! The bufflehead is so cute! Thanks for sharing the large and the small; and I, too, talk to what I am photographing.

  3. Donna, what a great and entertaining post. You are so much like me. My camera is always in the car and I make any and all stops if there is a photo opportunity. We have a similar thing of your Walmart Pond, only ours is a creek next to an old K-mart. Of course, we call it K-mart Creek. It is so much fun to see what will land there.
    Your Great Blue Heron shot is awesome!, but I love all of your images. 🙂

    • Bob, I love your K-Mart Creek name, I remember laughing when reading it in one of your recent posts, I have been calling our little man-made pond Walmart Pond but locals there think I’m a bit crazy or tipsy, lol. I do love looking over there each day to see what might be visiting, it is fun!

    • Thanks Eastern Babe! Suppose to be a nice day today & tomorrow, so going to try, you too. But what’s up with Sunday calling for snow showers?!!

      Hey, I was glad to see an email this morning that you have a new post, I’ll be over shortly to visit!

  4. WOW! Great shots, I still have not found any Eagles in my travels, the one of the eagle with breakfast is fantastic. Most folks don’t realize eagles are scavengers first, anything for an easy meal..:-))

    • That is for sure, several months ago as I rounded a curve, an eagle was on roadkill in the middle of the highway. It flew up and over my left with a portion dangling from his claws. I had such a close-up look at him and he me. It was pretty darn awesome! 🙂 And that was not the first time I’d seen one on a deer along the road either.

    • Thanks Tom! There are many times there is no time to stop for a shot or actually having no time to go miles before I can turn around…..so I do try to take captures when I can. I just have to get up earlier! 🙂

    • Thanks FM2M! Your blog is wonderful, and it’s name I think is so perfect. From Moments to Memories is exactly what we do when capturing anything and everything with our cameras! 🙂 Love it!

  5. Donna, your photos of the eagle and hawk are amazing. Can you reveal exactly where on Rte 301 you are seeing the eagles? I would love to go by sometime. We really look forward to your posts and thank you so much for doing this. Also, the moon shot is fantastic! You must have a super-duper lens on your camera. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Georgette, when heading Rt 301 North, I see bald eagles after passing the rest area, usually around the Millington and Sassafras exit areas. If you look at a road map, you’ll see the Chester River and Sassafras River both ‘end’ at Rt 301 at those two areas and I’m sure that’s why that I’m seeing them along that part of the corridor. Also with the herds of deer along Rt 301, unfortunately there are a lot of struck deer along the road. Both Rick & I have seen eagles several separate times feeding on those deer, getting that free meal. Since I drive it early morning & late afternoon/early evening, that’s also probably a reason I’m seeing them when they can be more active than say mid-day. Hope that makes sense and maybe help. Appreciate your comments & glad your enjoying, don’t we have awesome visitors around us?!! I’m glad to share!

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