It was almost freezing cold overnight (36 degrees when I left the house). The tough decisions started in the parking lot. Photograph this Downy Woodpecker, or rush out onto the dike to catch the mist caused by the collision of cold air and warmer water. In a spirit of compromise, I took several photos of this sure thing to warm up. This is my favorite one. Once was able to sneak past it, I was able to shoot with the light at my back and colorful foliage at his.
When I think October at Great Meadows, I think of Geese and their morning departure. Today, the mist added a wonderful ethereal quality to the scene. Successive layers of geese were hid in the fog. Only their honking would give you clues to their numbers and location. Quickly the day started to warm and the mist quickly disapeared.
The American Coots are either becoming more comfortable with people and starting to forage near the shore, or they have eaten the bulk of the food that's in the deeper waters. This allowed me to get some closer shots that allow us to study their behavior and their details. Catch the size of the feet on the running photo (click on it for a larger version). They are probably part of the reason the coots rock back and forth as they swim.
The Fish & Wildlife staff work hard to keep the refuge "natural" (As much as one can keep man made impoundments natural.) However, in the course of some of the maintenance and studies they leave man made footprints behind. I often find that the animals like to take advantage of these areas that are not fully open, nor fully closed in for foraging. This morning as I was heading out I ran into the juvenile Sora foraging in the area of the dike crunched down by the tractor treads.
The photographs in my recent post were enjoyed by my birding friends, but left me wishing for better photographically. Today the intersection of serendipity and maintenance let me finally take some photos we will both enjoy.