Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Walk, Random Shots

Yesterday's visit to Great Meadows was more photo journalism about the hurricane and the bird walk activities.  Today, I wanted to spend some time focused on my photographic techniques and observation of nature, so I was back at Great Meadows early Wednesday morning.

With no particular agenda besides making carrying my long lens worthwhile, I wandered around the refuge.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the day

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110831 &emdash;

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After Irene

Tuesday morning, I was anxious to get over to Great Meadows to see how the refuge weathered the hurricane. As a special treat Alan Bragg was also going to be conducting the first of his fall bird watching walks.

While the refuge escaped without any severe damage, Irene's fingerprints could be seen across the refuge in significant and subtle ways. Significant damage included several downed trees. Most were not in critical areas, except for the one that took down the power lines to the maintenance shed. Most of the paths were already cleared of leaves and small branches. More subtle impacts included the numbers of plants bent over along the impoundments, the broken branches suspended high in the tree canopy, the beat down cat tails on the cross dike trail. The most subtle, but welcome impact was the number of Tick Trefoil seeds that were blown away...of course, we worry about where they were blown and whether next year will be a bumper crop.

The other significant impact was the Concord River. It had swollen, the banks flooding the woods to levels we had not seen since late spring.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
An example of plants bent over by the wind

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Part of the trail waiting for the power company to cut down the tree leaning on the line

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Replacing the pole and transformer to the maintenance shed


The fall bird walk was fun. Like us humans the birds were quite active making up for their forced downtime during the storm.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
There was a wide range of ages and skill levels. Don't let the small size fool you. That little girl was a very observant birder.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Catbird preening

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
If look closely you see subtle clues that autumn is approaching

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Tom Eagle, Deputy Wildlife Refuge Manager stopped by to say hello to the bird walk. He was there for a meeting, but kindly explained the challenges of managing conflicting priorities at the refuge. He bravely took some questions too!


Another casualty of the hurricane were the lotus plants. There are now a lot fewer blooming lotus plants left.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
One of the last blooms

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Love the way young seed pods look like eyes looking at you

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;
Mature seed pod - All that's left is some more drying out and then falling during the late autumn / winter to finish the cycle



I wondered how the dragonflies weathered the storm. There appeared to be a lot fewer active, but there were still quite a few active.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Like mid-spring the flood waters forced many of the animals to areas we don't normally see them. I don't know if this fox was forced from his normal territory, or whether he was just hunting the the mice and voles that had been flooded out to dry land. I saw two foxes, in different places. I have assumed there were some around, but these are the first ones I've seen this year.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;


Here are a few more random photos for your viewing pleasure.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110830 &emdash;

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricanes and Earthquakes

Last week in the midst of New England's major natural events, I wandered over to Great Meadows one morning to enjoy the fresh air, walk a bit, and see what I could see. While birding was interesting, the bird count that day saw 77 different species; the photography, was ordinary.

Unmotivated to quickly post, I took a vacation and let these images enjoy several days riding the carousel known as my hard disk. During the hurricane induced power outage on Sunday, I encountered the following passage, written 160 years ago to the day. It seemed so appropriate, I thought I should share it with you along with the "ordinary" photos from that day.

Without further ado, here's today's guest commentary courtesy of Concord's own Henry David Thoreau.

"I omit the unusual — the hurricanes and earthquakes — and describe the common. This has the greatest charm and is the true theme of poetry. You may have the extraordinary for your province, if you will let me have the ordinary. Give me the obscure life, the courage of the poor and humble, the workdays of the world, the barren fields, the smallest share of all things but poetic perception. Give me but the eyes to see the things which you possess." — August 28, 1851


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110823 &emdash;


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Three Hour Tour

Saturday morning we joined Cherrie Corey and a group of fellow wanderers for one of her Sense of Place walks at Great Meadows. They are always interesting and informative. The day was sunny with a bit of breeze that kept the temperatures feeling comfortable for August.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Cherrie explaining something to onlooking walkers

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;


We explored both flora and fuana. I photographed more of the fuana and less of the flora. It is tough to set up your tripod with a large group trying to crowd around a few plants to get a good view. The breeze would also move the plants back and forth making focusing a challenge.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Aphids on Alder, the Ants come for the sweet juice the Aphids excrete

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Interesting patterns made by lichen on tree

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Close up of cardinal flowers which are prolific this year

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Water smartweed - That's smart as in stings...not intelligence

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Swamp Rose Mallow



Several of us became disconnected from the main group as we joyed this beautiful moth. It had the most beautiful white wings, which opened to reveal a pale blue / purple color.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Damselfly

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Milkweed bugs on Milkweed plant

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Common Whitetail

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Slaty Skimmer

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;
Great Egret fishing near end of Dike Trail


We had arrived a bit early, so I did a quick loop of the Black Creek Duck Trail to see what was new there. The place was exploding with mushrooms of different shapes, colors and sizes.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110820 &emdash;