Dark Eyed Junco

One of my favorite ‘fast movers’.

They show up in New England the same time every year.  Staying here for the winter. They go back north April 15th. No really…. I have marked it on the calendar for years.  They live in Canada so maybe the date has something to do with taxes.

Cornell University has tracked them to be in over 90% of the back yards in the Northeast in every years annual bird count. In Connecticut you will find one or two in mid November. Look outside after the first snow storm and there are suddenly dozens zooming around.  They can even stand up to the House Sparrow at feeders.

This one sat on a bush, not carrying about the snow coming down. So here he is.

The Often Maligned New England Gull

 

Around here we don’t even see them any more. They are here, but we look through them.

When a large bird flies over we all look up fast, then…..”It’s just a Seagull” and move on.  What type of gull? Most of us don’t really know.

They really are incredible birds. Acrobats of the bird world. Throw some food in the air and it will never hit the ground. The food will likely be grabbed by several gulls before it’s eaten. They are fast, loud, and entertaining.

I went out several times in the last week and all I found were some gulls. I watched them, and now I’m going to pay more attention to them.

 

Woodpeckers, Photos Caught And Missed

Every type that lives around here came all at once. Which means some chased others, pictures were taken, and way too many missed.

The larger black and white Hairy Woodpecker came in a small loud flock. I didn’t know they would travel that way.I also was unaware of how much noise they could make. Not a single clear shot of any unfortunately.

Same with the two Flickers. But I know they will be back. They seem to live here.

Still I did get a few shots of both Red Belly and Downy up in the maples.

Winter Swans

As a change of pace I went to the Connecticut river, just north of the Middletown bridge. The last few days were spent in local marshes photographing frozen landscapes. Well, taking pictures of ice really.

I had hoped to get shots of some Wood Ducks, or Mergansers.  None were around.

There were a pair of Swans hiding along the shore, geese, and of course the ever present gulls.  Swans make great subjects so most of my time was spent following them. I did not ignore any of the others either.

The lighting was a challenge today. Ice and water, full sun, then no sun, etc. Typical New England.

Frozen Winter Marsh

This week I walked through the fresh water marshes that sit between the Mattabassett and Connecticut rivers. I had thought to photograph local wildlife.

What I found was a cold and uninviting landscape. Few birds were here and no other wildlife. However, I did see another side of land along the rivers.

Invasive plants have taken the place of native reeds and brush. The reeds on the shore have given shelter to the swallows and other water fowl. Inland I’m not so sure.  The vines have made the brush thick and difficult to navigate.

Shooting in Black and White seemed appropriate for this place and time of year. I’ll visit again in the spring and probably get a completely different perspective.

 

Following RR Tracks Along Connecticut River

These shots were from a couple of weeks ago, before the big freeze. I may have put some on Facebook at the time. Not being sure what goes where I have placed a few here.

Rail Road tracks run along side the Connecticut river. Where they actually start and end I’m not sure. Part appear to be very old, a few spurs may have a small train come by a few times in the summer months.  Sections are maintained and that keeps me looking over my shoulder! There are a few places I don’t want to find out a spur is in use.

A previous post, ‘Connecticut Foundry’, was taken on part of these tracks. If you have not seen it take a look. Shot in B/W to fit with the abandon buildings.

These images are on part of the same line. Several ponds, a rushing stream, and water falls made the walk more interesting.

UCONN, Animal Science

Last weekend, in spite of the cold weather, I visited the Storrs campus of UCONN. The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources has a farm there with a small herd of horses. Each year the school has a horse auction also.

There were several fences between us, but they seemed happy to have some company.

TPJ Photography