Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Between now and New Year's Eve other commitments will prevent me from visiting the refuge. That made today my final visit to Great Meadows as part of my year-long photography project. (Before you get despondent, read to the end).

Sometimes, it seemed like today would never come; other times it seems like I started this project just yesterday. With the weather cold and grey I wasn't expecting too much from the day, but the refuge had a couple wrap up presents ready.

Starting out everything was either under ice, or covered with frost.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;


As I approached the Poison Ivy bench, I noticed something unusual on top of a muskrat lodge. At first I thought it might be a Red Tailed Hawk, but it quickly flew revealing the tell tale white stripe of a Northern Harrier. It did a couple of air show flight passes for the photographer before landing again on the lodge.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;


Wandering further along side the Upper Impoundment, I spied a group of male Wood Ducks swimming in the river. In a rare reversal of roles, I actually saw them, before they saw me and was able to click off a couple quick shots. Further down the river near the lower impoundment a group of Goldeneyes were swimming downstream.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;


Of course there were still the inevitable Canada Geese. Some of the geese from the refuge take off, just to land a short distance away in the adjoining river. In spots ice is forming along the edge of the river.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;
Taking his morning constitutional

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;
A conga line


Of course there were a couple feeding flocks of our favorite bird feeder birds. The second photo in my first blog post was a Chickadee, so it's only appropriate that one is the next to last photo for the year.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;


People have been asking me if I will still be coming to Great Meadows and blogging about my visits, now that my project deadline has arrived. This was my 116th visit. That's slightly over a visit every 3 days. At times, it seemed more like a job, than a hobby; but every worth while endeavor requires its price.

The goal of this project was to help me become a better photographer. As I review the posts from the year, that growth is evident. However, I want to continue to grow which means I need to use these newly honed skills on a variety of different subjects and environments, which will take some time.

What surprised me about this project was how many other things I got out of it that weren't goals. I've learned so much about nature, birding, seeing, and listening. But most of all was the camaraderie and friendships that have grown out of a common love of nature and the special place that is Great Meadows.

So, yes, I plan to continue to photograph at Great Meadows and blog about it...just not with the same intensity or frequency; more like weekly than every couple of days. I hope you will continue to stop by and enjoy the posts.

That leads us to the last photo of the year. It's dedicated to all those of you came along side me this year and supported me; both in person and through the blog. Thank you. We'll continue our journey and our conversation in 2012; after all the Christmas bird count is Jan 2!

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111227 &emdash;