Coots, Swans, Blue Heron, Wigeons, and More

While I was writing my last post Friday evening, we were experiencing high winds, at times gusting WSW in the 40-50 mph range.  Our windows rattled all night long!  Saturday brought sunny skies but the winds with high gusts continued.  One to two-foot waves blew across the Kent Narrows Channel at us from Kent Island.

Oyster Cove Community Osprey Nest Platform

Flying was difficult for all Saturday.  A flock of Canada geese were struggling, with a small group blown away from the larger group, crossing right over my head.

Canada Geese

Even the gulls and eagles were having it a bit rough, but they at least seemed to enjoy it.

Herring Gull

Bald Eagle

For some, it was easier to hang in the water.  There was a raft of canvasbacks beyond our osprey nest struggling to stay together and face into the winds……

Canvasback

as well as a raft of American coots who had returned from the day before.  They really rode the waves!

American Coots

American Coots

American Coots

By this morning the winds had diminished and gave us a beautiful partly cloudy day.  However, the high winds had caused much of the Chesapeake Bay’s and its tributaries waters to be blown out to sea, resulting in another extreme low tide, up to 3 feet below normal MLW (mean low water) at approximately 2:41 pm.  We had another ‘day at the beach’ at low tide!  This shot is at 4:27 pm, almost two hours later when I had returned home from work.

A few Canadian geese and mallards were enjoying the beach.

Canada Geese

In addition, a Great blue heron was busy strutting across the sand, trying to get away from someone out for their own stroll along the walk-way.  He eventually decided it was best to take flight and go over to the point where he could be alone.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

As I had mentioned, I had to work today, so I had been anxious to get out mid-afternoon and return home to see that low tide and to check out another marshy area just around the corner from me behind the Holiday Inn.  Friday afternoon I had sighted a few tundra swans there but wasn’t able to stop to grab some shots.  Today, I could see them again along with some geese and got hubby to stop.  🙂  It was so worth it!!

As we pulled up at the end Holiday Inn’s parking lot, there were already three photographers set up with tripods, cameras, and binoculars!  As I walked up with my camera, they were busy chatting and immediately started telling me their excitement, an Eurasian Wigeon was among the group of waterfowl, a rare sighting for our area.  Here are my shots of him and the other species that were together.  I sure wish I had my tripod with me today for a steadier hand….

Eurasian Wigeon & Gadwells

Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeons & Gadwells

Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeons & Gadwells

Male and Female Gadwells

The large tundra swan and Canadian geese were very cordial with each other and the other species, as they all fed on the bottom.  All of us photographers were well back behind tall marshy grass and they seemed oblivious to us.

American Wigeons, Gadwells & Tundra Swan

Canada Geese & Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans and Gadwells

Tundra Swans, American Wigeon & Gadwells

Canada Geese, American Wigeons, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwells & Gulls

Tundra Swans, American Wigeons & Gadwells

I couldn’t have had any nicer set-ups to a wonderful two days of photo ops when I had such limited time this weekend.  What they say is true, it is being at the right place at the right time.  Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share my photos with you!

26 thoughts on “Coots, Swans, Blue Heron, Wigeons, and More

  1. I am so jealous of you for where you live! These are great! I love Blue Herons, they are so graceful. What’s your lens of choice to get in close?

    • Thanks for your comments, I do love and am very grateful to be able to live along the water. The blue herons really are pretty cool with their stature; they are here on the Chesapeake Bay year-round, when the winters aren’t too harsh. For my bird photos, I use a Nikon 70-200mm vibration reduction telephoto lens to which I add a Nikon 1.7X teleconverter (the ‘technical’ stuff is on my About Me page). Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great photos! I don’t know how long you have lived by the bay, but I remember reading that it was close to “death” 40 years ago. I love to see your posts and how well wildlife has recovered there!

    • The Chesapeake Bay is absolutely gorgeous and has been steadily improving year after year, thanks to not only the EPA and governing foundations with ongoing research and money donations, but the hours and hours of tireless volunteers who have helped to clean it up so our children and grandchildren can enjoy its bounties of life, food, and recreation. She is one beautiful mass of water!

  3. Oh, what fun! Don’t you just love it when you have the camera and the subjects AND the time! Very interesting, as usual. We have had wind in Texas also, but instead of blowing the waters out to sea, the wind blows the mud to the top and there you have it – chocolate water! Thanks for sharing.

    • It is great when it all falls in line! 🙂 I hope it doesn’t take too long for the mud to settle back down when it does that. When we have any flooding, we get the temporary dirty water, but the tides eventually clean it up.

  4. Fantastic shots. I really like the group shots towards the end, to bad humans can’t get along this well. I’m jealous of the Eurasian Widgeon … great bird! Tom

    • Thanks Tom, I love when there are group shots to see who gets along with who, sometimes I don’t discover all the species in the shot until I get home, which adds to the fun! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing these Donna, what fantastic shots you were able to get! We arrived home on Sunday to see the lowest tides we’d ever seen on the Eastern Bay, so I wasn’t entirely sure what caused it until I checked the area weather for the weekend. You really got some great shots of unique birds, but my favorite are the Canadian geese from below. What a neat perspective!

  6. I enjoyed the narrative and the series of images. Great timing to catch the Eurasian Wigeon…I always find it exciting to capture birds I’ve never seen or photographed before. And I love the GBH series – very nicely captured!!!

    • Thanks Ken, it is so very cool on great timing, and exciting to capture never seen birds before. I really lucked out on the Eurasian Wigeon! 🙂 I went back couple days later before sunrise, and he was there again with the America Wigeons, swans and geese. I haven’t had chance yet to see if anything captured well so early in the morning, this week has been so busy with regular life! Alas, my hobby has to play second-fiddle to life & work. LOL

  7. Enjoyed your photos. We live on the lower bay on Delmarva, but we have not had the duck and goose action you have. Just had two Canada Geese for the past two days, and about three weeks ago we had a raft of something dark for maybe two days.. lots of eagle action, goldfinches have finally returned, we are awaiting the Ospreys on our platform outside the house. Hummingbirds will be the next big arrival…we had more than forty at a time last year, it was awesome. Your photos are super, love the heron shots. Ours hears my door creak and he is gone before my foot can hit the ground!

    • When I got home last night, there was a huge dark raft just beyond our osprey nest, binoculars confirmed they were American coots, I’d never see a coot raft that large here. Are you excited on the return of your osprey? I am so ready! WOW on your hummingbird numbers!!! I had the most 5-6 hummingbirds visiting my feeder. Looking forward to stopping by your blog to see/read your osprey & hummingbird action, thanks for stopping by mine!

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