Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Almost Spring

With a free morning dropped in my lap, I hurried over to Great Meadows to see how things had changed in the last couple days.  The nice thing about the start of Daylight Savings Time is that you don't have to get up so early for the good light.  The traces of winter are rapidly disappearing.  Most of the impoundments are ice free.  The snow has largely disappeared except for under the shade of the evergreens along the Timber and Edge trails.  

I think this photo captures typifies the mood.  In the foreground you have the gulls huddled on some of the last remaining ice - morning the loss of easy fishing.  In the middle of the photo, notice a pair of ducks with their realtor contemplating moving into a new duck box.  In the background, the trees are bare, but the tops are red with new buds.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;


A sure sign of spring, a Red-winged Blackbird greeted the day in song, from a tree near the tower, while I surveyed the scene and planned my morning.  With not much activity near the tower, I decided a walk to the other end of the lower impoundment was in order.  Along the way, I encountered this mink, who appeared to be in a hurry.  He was probably frustrated that his commute was talking so long as he had to keep switching between walking on the ice and swimming.
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Down by the lower impoundment outflow, a large number of Ring-necked ducks swam to and fro, never getting close enough for a close-up photo.  I think this Bufflehead was feeling slightly overwhelmed and decided to seek some of his own kind.
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Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

While it was sunny, it was still very cold.  I hadn't planned in advance to come, so some important equipment was safely stowed at home...namely my gloves.  The coffee in the car was calling my name.  Who was I to resist.  Along the old railroad bed were many of our winter friends.  If you always wondered why you have to wear safety goggles, but woodpeckers don't; then look closely at the photo of the female Downy Woodpecker.  Notice the partially closed nictating membrane protecting her eye. 


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

This White-breasted Nuthatch entertained my camera for a while.  Most birds tend to climb up tree trunks.  I've always liked how they walk down tree trunks head first.  


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

The impoundments are still overflowing their banks, but the dike is slow starting to emerge.  The path is still flooded up to the kiosk.  The Grackle thought this was a great place to forage.  At the other end, by the bend in the path, Wood Ducks were stealthily swimming among the trees and reeds.  This is another one of those creatures who has eluded my attempts to capture a good photo of them.  Most ducks are seriously skittish, but this Mallard was part of a pair that practically posed.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Walking along the path, I nearly stepped on this little guy.  He was quite photogenic.  However, as I was kneeling down to take his photo, he disappeared from the view finder.  Lowering the camera I couldn't see him anywhere.  But then he popped up.  This is my favorite shot of the day.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110315 &emdash;

1 comment:

  1. Great encounters! Could you please include the timeframe of your visit with each post. This would be instructive re lighting and critter encounters.

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