Bald Eagles Must Like Rain And Fog

March is turning out to be a lot like February. Today was the exception since yesterday’s snow became today’s rain and fog. The first real rain I have seen in months.

I knew the ice and water would be causing a problem somewhere around the house so I had to talk myself into getting out for some photography. I always keep my pack full, but it’s heavy and the big lens clumsy, and the photo guy  getting lazy.

Turned out this morning was a banner day for Eagles on the Connecticut river.

I took a shortcut to the river and didn’t even get to stop the car. I had  planned on a hike, however at the first open water I found a mated pair finishing what appeared to be a deer carcass washed down with the current.

Pair Of Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge Image
Pair Of Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge Image

 

Bald eagles mate for life, but when one dies, the survivor will not hesitate to accept a new mate. During breeding season, both birds protect the nest territory from other eagles and predators. Within days this pair will be hiding on one of the islands down river.

They watched me for awhile, ate, had a fight, and finally ‘made up’ with each other. It was what I would call a National Geographic moment.

Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge
Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge

After a short while they seemed to have had enough of my company a flew down river towards the islands. There is no access to any of these islands down stream which will give them a private place to hatch their eggs.

It was above freezing with just a slight drizzle by the river. This was warm compared to what we have had so the original idea to walk along the river still seemed like a good one.

At the next open water free of ice I found a single adult sitting in a tree that hung over the river.  I have noticed the Eagles I have found along the river here all roost in a particular type of tree. I won’t be able to identify the trees until they leaf out. But every photo taken along this part of the river have the same branch and buds.

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As expected I was only tolerated a short time.
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Most days I don’t get more than a few opportunities for a good photograph. Today was a good day.

 

Colt – The Gun That Won The West

The Hartford skyline has a unique feature, the Colt Manufacturing Onion Dome. Yes, the ‘gun that won the west’.

Samuel Colt manufactured the Colt 45 here, as well as many other pistols and rifles. The factory was active for over 100 years. At one point all the major U.S. firearms companies were within a 50 mile radius of Hartford.

The dome unfortunately sits atop the closed, and rundown factory building. Just recently the area received the status of a National Historic Landmark and will be renovated soon.

IMG_6658 Until then it remains as the photo above. A rusty hulk and nothing like the huge facility it had been in the 1800’s.

Just a note about the area. Coltsville was a small self reliant city inside the city of Hartford. Housing, schools, and stores were provided by Colt. Some housing is still in use.

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Colt was also responsible for building a large flood dyke to stop the Connecticut river from flooding the area. It is still used and has saved the Coltsville area of the city from many dangerous floods.

 

Connecticut Capital

I just don’t have enough stature around here to have the state capital building closed down for a photo shoot. I wanted to have minimal cars and people so a cold weekend day was my other option. This meant outdoor photos only, but I can come back.

Even though I have lived here for quite a long time this was my first time actually  having the Capital building as my destination, not something viewed as I pass by.

In fairness I’m getting better. It took me 15 years, after I left NYC, to visit the Statue Of Liberty. To this day I have only been to the 12th floor of the Empire State Building.

Click any image to enlarge and zoom

Connecticut Capital Building
Connecticut Capital Building

The building was completed in 1878, with the first state meetings in 1879. This is the third capital building Connecticut has had. Starting with the revolutionary war the cities of Hartford and New Haven were both used for state government (politics hasn’t changed much I guess). After the civil war state government moved to Hartford full time. Please view the buildings history here.

Connecticut Capital Building
Connecticut Capital Building. Main Entrance.

The carvings and statues are not the centuries old Gothic ones seen in France or Germany. However, the quality, detail, and numerous types are pretty impressive. The cost of this building, right after the civil war, was enormous. No state government could ever consider anything like this today.

Connecticut Capital Building
Connecticut Capital Building. Side Entrance Columns and Lighting.
Connecticut Capital Building.
Connecticut Capital Building. Back Entrance.

The flowering trees and bushes here and across the street in Hartford’s Bushnell park will make this a spring and summer repeat trip.

Winter Hike Black and White

We found a new place in the northeast part of Connecticut to explore by chance. Driving along small local roads has been the source of several great finds. The Joshua land trust is one.

The Joshua’s Trust land trust has over 4,000 acres of protected land in Connecticut. This non-profit organization protects the land, maintains trails for the public, and offers educational outreach programs.  Connecticut has over 130 land trust organizations, 3rd highest in the US.

Path at Joshua Trust
Path at Joshua Trust

Joshua was the son of the famous Mohegan chief Uncas (see James Fennimore Cooper’s book ‘The Last Of The Mohegans’).  Land grants of the early settlers were provided by Uncas and his heirs in this area of Connecticut. The trust was named in honor of Joshua. Attawanhood was his Mohegan name. He died in 1676.

Path at Joshua Trust
Path at Joshua Trust

 

As usual it was cold, deep snow, and this day some wind. Nothing moved around the lake or woods. In the distance a large woodpecker beat on a hollow tree. Absolute quite otherwise.

Black and White seems appropriate here.

 

Connecticut Country Barns

Snow and country barns. What is more New England. This is actually my second series of barn photographs this winter. A ‘Red Barn‘ article was the first.

I have to assume that we should have some sun and warmer weather in the near future. So, here are a few more snowy country barns from around the Connecticut River valley.

Country Barn
Country Barn

 

Connecticut River Railroad Bridge

For some time now I have wanted to get a closer look at the ‘swing’ railroad bridge that crosses the Connecticut river between Middletown and Portland.

The Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge is a swing truss bridge. I looked that up online.

Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge

The bridge is used by the Providence & Worcester Railroad to serve two customers in Portland. Since the bridge is usually left open, it appears to be inactive. However, trains do cross the river carrying paper products and demolition debris.

Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge
Providence and Worcester Railroad Bridge

I have never seen a train cross this bridge. I think the middle section will swing closed and connect each side of the bridge. It looks rusty, ancient, and generally from another era. The frozen river ice and snow made the bridge even more interesting to me. The colors from the river and snow just push the rust and old wood shades from the bridge structure.

Having no mechanical apptitude at all I find the whole thing fascinating. I have no clue how it works, but there is a small wooden hut attached to one side. I assume someone climbs in there and runs the thing when a train is scheduled. How they get in that little shack is a mystery.

Again, from another era.

A Hole In The River

It only takes a few days for parts of the river to open up after a  deep freeze breaks. One day you can’t see a river at all, the next there are open sections of flowing water.

Almost as soon as the water appears there starts a ‘gathering of the clans’. Some openings will be flocks of geese, others ducks from all over the area.

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Of course the Gulls don’t care who has claimed the water. They just move in.

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These shots were taken two days ago. Once again it’s down below -0 (fahrenheit) so the ice has closed in. But there was a small break for the ‘locals’ to socialize and meet up for the coming spring season.

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Yes, that is the Connecticut river above.  Frozen again. The  old abandon  Connecticut Foundry (click for previous post) silo, in Rocky Hill, can be seen on the far shore. February is almost over. Soon we will have the spring thaw.

All that snow will melt. Ah spring! I can’t wait to see how I make all that mud look pretty in my photographs.

 

TPJ Photography