Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great Blue Herons are Back...and so is Alan

The forecast was for clouds, but the sun was sneaking above the trees when I awoke this morning.  So I quickly grabbed my gear and hot footed it to Great Meadows.    My choice of parking spots was restricted due to the number of cars in the lot.  What a difference over February, when any spot could have been mine.

Walking down the Dike Path, I realized that 1/2 of the cars must belong to photographers and they were all focused on something down by the river.  With my luck, if I rushed down there, I would probably "just miss" whatever was there.  Instead I took my time getting there.  Because I did, I was treated to a pair of Wood Ducks flying by, in great light.  Thankfully, I had checked all my camera settings upon exiting the car.  The result is one of my best Wood Duck photos to date.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

When I arrived down by the river, Ken and Michael were all over a hawk that was posing in a tree.  It was not bothered at all by the people that walked by on the path below.  The tree could have used a little pruning.  The stray branch made it tough to get a really clean image.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Wandering around the lower impoundment, we were treated to the inevitable Red-winged Blackbirds.  A pair of Goldfinches in summer plumage, were flitting from cattail to cattail.  Most of the geese today were in pairs. Many are already sitting on nests.  One pair decided to turn a muskrat lodge into a two story tenement.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

We continued to walk around the lower impoundment.  A flock of 20 to 30 Tree and Barn Swallows were swarming in the sky.  Along the way, I was fascinated by the stages of buds on the trees.  They were like miniature flowers.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Down near the spillway the carp were starting to congregate.  Today, they were content to feed on whatever came rushing past.  I expect soon they will be trying to work their way across the spillway into the impoundment.  

A skittish Great Blue Heron took off from the reeds when he saw us.  Another decided the fishing must be better across the path. We were stalking our prey (photographically speaking), trying to get some good photos of the heron amongst the brush.  In the distance, I spied another sign of spring.  Alan has returned from his southern migration and had his cart out, beginning to pick up some of the litter that had accumulated over the winter.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

We spent a while catching up and enjoying the wildlife.  Several more Great Blue Herons arrived in the vicinity.  They would periodically, launch and relocate to some other area.  They are all decked out in their breeding plumage.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110414 &emdash;