Friday, August 23, 2013

Vignettes Around The Impoundments

A break from my other photography project allowed me to wander over to Great Meadows twice this week. The first visit was quite quiet. I was starting to wonder if it was some sort of a karmic payback for not spending enough time there this summer. The second visit was a bit more productive photographically. However, to paraphrase an old saying, "Even a bad day at the refuge, beats a good day at work."

I was greeted by several of my avian friends. The Marsh Wrens which seemed so scarce this year, seemed to have successfully produced the next generation. It seems like there are many more to been seen or heard.

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Back by the grapes near the "Poison Ivy" bench this female Common Yellow Throat posed for a moment. But like most divas she quickly shot me a menacing look and was gone.

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With all the hot weather you would expect to seen many dragonflies. It's hard to walk down the dike paths without scaring up one with each step. My visits didn't disappoint.

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Female Common Pondhawk

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Male Blue Dahsher. The background is the original, with the right angle & aperature the gravel path becomes this solid grayish / brown color. It was the perfect match for the pinkish / magenta flowers.

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Male Twelve-spotted Skimmer - the guide book calls the body color pruinose gray

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I can't decide whether I like the horizontal or vertical orientation better, so it's up to you to choose your favorite.

Of course the American Lotus still dominate the landscape. Sometimes obscuring the wildlife, other times providing a pleasant backdrop.

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The shorebirds are big fans of the water draw down in the lower impoundment to allow the dredging of the drainage canals. My birder friends also concur.

Unfortunately, they are drawn to the muddy flats one the backside of the lower impoundment. The best views are from the observation deck, with a scope or binoculars.

While my big camera lens looks impressive, it is not up to the task of photographing them that far away. Don't forget to check the outflow from the upper impoundment to the river, occassionally some of the shorebirds can be found quite close feeding in the mud.

Personally, I find the shorebirds section of my Sibley guide a scary place. They all look so similar. I know these are members of the sandpiper family, but I'll leave precise identification to my birding friends.

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I believe that this one is a Wilson's Snipe based upon the striped head, long beak and general coloring. However, the buffy stomach is not described in Sibley so I can't be sure.

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Many summers we are treated to visits by Great Egrets. Their white plumage is a nice change from the drab grey of of Great Blue Herons. Usually they are well out in the impoundments, but today one was fishing near the outflow near the boat ramp. Still a challenge because of the backlighting and drab background their beauty still comes through. When they get in front of the lotus, they are a treat for the eyes.

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If your life is driven by the calendar you have probably noticed that Labor Day is just around the corner. School will resume soon and our summer fun will be over. If you however your life is based upon the rhythm of nature, you too will probably have noticed the subtle signs that summer is winding down and a new season is approaching.

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