Friday, March 25, 2011

Terra Spongy

It's been a crazy week.  Mom was in the hospital for a couple days.  The rest of my free time has been occupied preparing to conduct Saturday's Glennie International Nature Photography cometition.  Looking at almost 1,000 beautiful nature images, definitely had me in the frame of mind to sneak over to Great Meadows early this morning for a little photography of my own.

From the tower, you could see the US F&WS staff already out taking the census of birds visiting the impoundments.  There were lots of types of ducks, a griebe, and plenty of Canada Geese.  Unfortunately for me, most of these birds are shy and generally stayed outside camera range.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Several Red-Winged Blackbirds were posing and singing while sitting upon Cat Tail Reeds in the golden light of dawn.  With the light and the pose, I didn't even need my flash.  Normally, they are a bit skittish, but these two birds allowed me to get pretty close.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

At the refuge water in a few spots water is still overspilling into the impoundments and over the dike path.  But now you measure the depth in inches, not feer.  Most of the paths are still soggy, reflecting their recent submersion.  With careful walking I was able circumnavigate the lower impoundment and the length of the upper impoundment without water coming over my boots.

The Canada Geese were honking up a storm.  Soon clusters of geese were up and taking to the skies.  Their webbed feet allow them to run along the surface of the water, until they are up to speed and take flight.  Ironically, as one of the gaggles of geese took flight, a C-130 transport plane also lumbered into the sky from Hanscom AFB.  The geese are starting to pair off, however the water level is a little high for them to start building nests.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Species more common to spring were active.  There were plenty of robins and sparrows feeding along the paths.  


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

I spotted two birds that I hadn't seen yet this year.  First, a small flock of 8 Tree Sparrows were rising, dipping and circling along the reeds along the back of the the lower impoundment.  Later in the morning, two Osprey stopped by to do some fishing.  On the edge of the refuge, I encountered some carp that had been washed or  brought ashore.  Several had obviously been a meal for some other animal.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

Finally, a few days late, I was finally able to stop by the deck to capture a spring panorama.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110325 &emdash;

First Day Of Spring

Sunday afternoon, I arrived at Great Meadows on a mission.  For my project, I've planned to get a panorama of Great Meadows from the deck, on the Spring & Fall Equinoxes and Summer & Winter Solstice.  Today, was the first of those days.

The parking lot was full of people who were here to enjoy the first day of Spring.  The water level, was still up, but had dropped substantially since my last visit.  Families with children had "repurposed" their winter boots to allow the children to explore in the shallow water.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

I could see some bare spots on the path along the dike.  Perhaps the goal of reaching the deck was a possibility.
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

I began my journey of wading towards the bridge.    Unfortunately, I made it to within 10 yards of the bridge before the water level was higher than my boots.  So we'll have to settle with a panorama from a different angle.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;
Disappointed that I couldn't fulfill my mission, Amy & I walked to the lower impoundment outflow to observe the water levels there.  The water was still high there too.  That bridge was also out of reach.  Along the walk we saw one of the last reminders of winter.  In the shade of the forest, a bit of snow, compacted by skis and snowshoes, persisted.
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;
On the hike back along the Edge Trail, I heard a drumming sound.  I was expecting to find a woodpecker drilling on a snag.  Instead, I found a Nuthatch furiously working on a branch.  After about 5 minutes of working, he triumphed and left with the object of his efforts.
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

The geese arrived back for the evening, and we started home.  I was disappointed with the day photographically.  I hadn't achieved my mission. Returning home, I realized that today I missed an opportunity, and hopefully learned a lesson.  I had become focused on the refuge landscape and the animals.  Today was all about people enjoying the refuge - that's what I should have focused on.  All my best shots were those of people, enjoying nature and a sunny day.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110320 &emdash;