This Broad Wing hawk was not pleased when I stopped to photograph him.
Last week we went to the Connecticut shore with the idea of getting different types of photographs. With all the snow piled on the roads I found myself going to the same locations too often. With spring coming it won’t be long until we need to change our style of images. Trees will have leaves hiding wildlife and bushes will block views.
While sitting and resting awhile I noticed large parts of the beach had no sand at all. Snow was melting and as far as you looked the ground was covered with small shells. It’s easy to assume a beach with sand when looking at photos. Here, millions of tiny shells with different shapes and colors.
I find the most amazing things while holding the camera and looking for the next shot.
It was a fairly one sided conversation. Loud too. He barged right in and start ‘talking’ right away.
Right before my new friend came along I was standing behind a snow bank overlooking the Connecticut river. Several Ring Neck ducks were coming along and I just wanted them to get closer for a few photos. As usual it was quiet. The wind and Gulls were all you could hear. I never saw him coming and suddenly he landed on a nearby sign post and began to yell at me. From very close range too! Got my attention.
The ducks were obviously forgotten real quick. As I shot pictures of him he sat there scowling. I expected him to take off as soon as I pointed the camera at him. We were close and I’m sure the lens looked like a cannon to him. He didn’t move and continued that stare. It was getting a little weird.
Taking a few more quick shots I backed up a bit to watch him. This was my first conversation with a Crow, even though it was one sided. I thought I would watch and see what else he had in mind.
Funny thing was, as soon as I stepped back he dropped to the ground, picked up some unseen scrap and left as fast as he arrived.
I’m guessing this was Crow speak for “excuse me, you’re standing on my lunch”.
Next time I’ll know better.
Those of us who live here, in Connecticut, visit Mystic and the Seaport often. The town main street has all the usual shops selling upscale tourist trinkets. It is also the home to one of the last sailing ship repair and restoration organizations. Shipwrights trained in the traditional building techniques maintain ships owned by the Seaport Museum as well as other historical vessels from around the east coast.
Since we have many regular viewers from across the US and around the world I thought these photographs of the ships and docks in winter might be interesting. When warm weather arrives I will revisit the shipyard and museum.
Mystic was a center of ship building from the 1600s until the early 1800s. Ultimately the steam ship and the industrial revolution centered in New England changed that. Ship building ended and factories opened.
The Mystic Museum and Seaport opened in 1929. The Preservation Shipyard owns the last wooden whaler sailing ship, Charles W Morgan. Also they are responsible for 16 unique sailing ships. Currently the Mayflower II is in port for a 2 year restoration.
These shots were taken looking up the Mystic river, from near town center, towards the narrows where the ships dock and shipyard buildings are. The river itself is small and shallow. Most ships are towed up river.
One last piece of vital information, or movie trivia, there really is a ‘Mystic Pizza’ as in the famous Julia Roberts film. But no, she doesn’t work there.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
The following is presented with my utmost respect and gratitude.
The Great Blue Heron is one of the most beautiful and imposing birds in New England. Eagles, Osprey, and Blue Herons are the shots all New England photographers want.
If I hadn’t turned my head at the exact moment this Heron stretched his wings these pictures would never have been taken. I also need to thank the drivers behind us for not running me down as I threw myself from the car. I should have become a hood ornament at that moment.
Blues are the largest North American Heron and have a head-to-tail length of 36-54 inches (91–137 cm). The tallest and heaviest of the Blue Herons live in New England. He might not have been bigger than me, but that was the impression I got.
When all else fails “You can always use Gulls“.
Around Connecticut there is never a shortage of some type of Gull. They always put up a good show. Better yet, very photogenic.
During the winter here there are times you don’t find that ‘thing’ you started out to photograph. A dark sky, dull horizon, and bright (or dirty) snow can ruin any day of shooting.
When I have been out for awhile and running empty I know “You can always use Gulls“.
The other day I was sitting on a large log on the shore. Sunny, which is rare now, and not too cold. My subject was on hand. So here they are in black and white which worked well with the shadows and reflections.
Special thanks to Connecticut photographer George Savic for the reflections idea. I saw these shots and thought of his great photograph.
As a rule the small birds are easy to find but hard to shoot. An Eagle flies fast, yet its in a smooth motion. The little guys are perpetual motion machines. They never sit still for very long.
Once spring comes the trees will fill out making it all the harder to get a clean photograph. While I can I want to get as many images as possible.
Black Capped Chickadee, click to enlarge