Thursday, October 18, 2012

Groceries for the Week

When I was an adolescent, Mom would come home, after spending a king's ransom, with groceries to feed two teenage boys for a week. She would lecture us that these boxes of cereal and snacks were to last the whole week.  It didn't work for her, so I expect that it won't work for me either. so it's up to you, do you eat the whole box today, or do you only read a screen's worth and save the rest for tomorrow?

Over the past week, I got a chance to visit Great Meadows a couple of times.  The ducks certainly are liking the flooded impoundments (especially the Upper).  Among those I saw with my camera included.

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Male Mallard in flight
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Northern Pintail
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Green-winged Teal
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Mallard stretching
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There's a reason it's called breeding plumage
My quest for the perfect Harrier photo continued this week.  They are cooperative enough to make a pass or two around the impoundments each morning.  It's challenging to find a good position and still be able to see them coming.  I don't know if I was luckier this week or just more in tune with them.
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This morning it caught me by surprise, so a bit of a butt shot. Sorry, I know that's a bit rude. 

One morning I was photographing this Goldfinch that was feasting down on the Evening Primrose toward the river end of the Cross Dike trail. He was more interested in eating than worrying about me, so I was able to get much closer than normal.

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I happened to look up an noticed the harrier cruising along the woods near the river.  It turned and started heading parallel to the path directly towards me.  This allowed me to get some photos of the harrier looking straight at me.

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Take a good look at the last photo.  Can you notice anything different with it?

I must confess that in the last photo the harrier was getting close to me and rapidly made that "wing-over turn" that harriers do.  It was so close that my camera cut off the tip of his right wing.  So with the wonder of modern science and the magic of Photoshop I cloned and transplanted a copy of the other wingtip.  Could you tell if I hadn't confessed?

The usuual suspect abound. I am often bored by the Canada Geese unless they are landing, taking off, or doing something different. These two did catch my eye due their nearly identical pose.

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One morning I caught this Downy Woodpecker on a tree near the start of the Cross Dike trail. It was all in shade, except for this small shaft of light that light it up.

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Down near the Timber Trail I surprised this squirrel. He made such an unusual sound that I immediately turned to see what was making such a noise. All it could think to do was freeze in place. I took a few photes in the wonderful side light, before moving away to allow it to relax and resume its foraging.

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Another pretty regular visitor to the refuge is an Osprey.  Every day I've been there it has make a pass up the channel and over the bay in the lower impoundment scouting for fish.

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I've been focusing on trying to photograph birds in flight. (The pun was unintentional). I was pleased to quickly get a shot of this Male Belted Kingfisher as it went tearing across the refuge.

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For the novices, Belted Kingfishers are one of the few birds where the male is drabber than the female. A female would have an additional reddish / brown stripe across her chest.

So that's it until next time.  Hope to see you around the refuge.

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