Late Afternoon at Blackwater NWR

I cannot believe it’s been over a month since my last post; it was not intended.  Too many ups and downs and turn-arounds….

To try to get back in the swing of things, a much-needed fix with nature was back on the agenda.  It finally happened a week ago on a warm, breezy late afternoon at Blackwater NWR.

On arrival, I was immediately rewarded with a small group of warblers, busily foraging the bushes for berries along the wildlife drive near the Marsh Edge Trail.

Yellow-rumped Warblers


Pine Warblers


Another little guy flew up to a snag and perched.

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White-breasted Nuthatch


Many of the residents were soaking up the last of the afternoon’s warm sun rays.

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Forster’s Terns


Northern Water Snake


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Great Blue Heron


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Delmarva Fox Squirrel


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Another Great Blue Heron
(who became an obliging photo subject when I passed him two more times)


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He allowed me to get a bit closer for a brief moment.


Here he is again about an hour later at the same perch.


There were a lot of Mallard ducks arriving to the marshes for the evening.

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A male (top) and two female Mallards.


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Mallard Ducks


Coming upon three Ruddy Ducks was exciting; the winter waterfowl migrants are beginning to arrive!

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Ruddy Ducks


On a favorite tree perch, this Bald Eagle allowed me one photo before quickly taking flight.

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Bald Eagle


I watched him as he flew over to the refuge’s Osprey platform set up with a live-stream camera that I had already passed.

Bald Eagle on an Osprey platform set up with a live-stream camera


As the sun began to set, I quickly did one more lap on the wildlife drive.  The Bald Eagle was still perched on the Osprey platform, bathed in a golden glow.

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Bald Eagle


Others were watching the sun’s descent as well.

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Mallard Ducks


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Belted Kingfisher


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My Great Blue Heron buddy again


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Bald Eagles
(the breeze is fluffing up their chest feathers)


It was a short and sweet visit, and it was most refreshing.  Now to find time to do it again!  🙂



54 thoughts on “Late Afternoon at Blackwater NWR

  1. Great post and birding location. I also had good luck at that parking lot at Marsh Edge Trail this week with both Kinglets, YR Warbler, Brown Creeper, WT Sparrow, Downy WP, and Hermit Thrush all feeding in those low shrubs.

    • Thanks, I love this location as well. The parking lot was full of people so I had to capture along the asphalt drive. I’m trying to find that parking lot empty for once, lol. 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, Donna, these photos are truly outstanding. I so enjoyed seeing everyone of these peaceful moments with nature. But my two favorite photos are the Forster’s terns on the posts (brilliant and whimsical) and the silhouette of the kingfisher on the snag (poignant and artful). Always a treat to see the bald eagle too….

  3. Donna, these are all beautiful! I’m sure this was the best ‘therapy’ you could have hoped for. I love them all but think my favorite is the one at the top – surely it must be called “On Golden Pond”. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much, Susan! It was a wonderful adventure and I’m trying to figure out when I can go again. 🙂 I’ve been missing you all at the photo club outings and meetings, really sorry I missed your slide presentation, I know it was awesome just by knowing your work!

  4. Very nice series of photos. Happy to see you posting. Was starting to worry that Forence’s wrath or aftermath had reached up into your area. Like everyone else I think the kingfisher silhouette is a fantastic photo. I was also impressed by how you got the male and two female mallards stack up like they did for your shot.

    • Thank you very much, David! No, just business & personal stuff that was too much at once. All getting better now! I have the Eagle that took flight over to the Osprey platform to thank for the Mallards stack shot, lol. He scared the incoming flock actually towards me, they were circling while trying to keep away from him. I took quite a few shots of that threesome and that was the shot I liked the best. Don’t you love it when nature cooperates?!! 😉

  5. I’m glad to hear from you Donna! You gallery of birds is a winner as always! Take care my friend! 🙂

  6. Marvelous captures, Donna. I think I appreciate the little twitchy birds the most, knowing how hard it is to catch them sitting still. I’ve tried, but never seem to get catch them. Takes me far too long to locate them with the longer lens and then focus. I truly admire your skill in getting such great shots of those guys!

    • Thank you very much, Gunta! I do get excited when I’ve been able to get the shot of the little guys, they like to play peek-a-boo. It took quite a few shots to get those I shared, lol. I went back to that area again when I lapped the refuge’s drive and they were gone. I was disappointed!

  7. Wonderful images as always! Hope everything is resolved and you’re able to make plans for the future. Email me if you feel like it 😊

    • Oh my there were so many Mallards in flight! The Eagle was making it better for me if I dare say. I took a series of shots of them but didn’t want to overload my post, lol.

  8. Beautiful captures Donna as always! I love your tiny warblers, and that great flight shot of the Mallards. You certainly had a great return to nature at Blackwater, looks a great place to go birding. Lovely capture of the Mallards speculum also. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Thank you so much, Ashley! It was an awesome outing, full of beautiful gifts. Besides being on the North America migration fly-way, the refuge has three major habitats (forest, marsh and shallow water) so the plant and animal diversity is phenomenal. If I could, I’d go to this refuge every day. 🙂

  9. You’ve packed this post with some many excellent and beautiful images that I’m not going to attempt to pick a favorite from among them! I’d say that Blackwater NWR is a great place to get a nature fix when some one needs one, I wish that I lived close to such an area.

    • Thank you very much, Jerry! Blackwater is pretty awesome, I’ve loved this refuge for many years. I wish I could go there every day! By golly, I should! lol Boy, that’d go over well with the hubby… hee hee

    • Thank you, Tanja! I did get to go to the refuge again today, yay! It was another soul refreshment time. I haven’t even downloaded my cards yet, so I don’t know for sure what I got; but for some reason, that’s not so important as was being there to see and breath it all in. Your last sentence says it perfectly! 🙂

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