Tag Archives: birds

Day Time Owls

Who knew ?

OK, really bad joke but I could not resist.

Owls are always associated with night. They hide during the day. Hunting and other activities are after dark. But not all Owls.

It seems in the Corkscrew swamp area, Florida near the start of the Everglades, the Barred Owls have evolved to be active during the day. There is more competition for food there at night and Hawks are an on going danger.

The Owl here was out in full daylight. I watched her hunt, fight with Red Shoulder Hawks to protect her young, and really just hang out.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary includes hiking trails and a boardwalk along a central lake. The preserve is 13,000 acres. During the dry season many of the residents are forced to congregate at one of the larger lakes. Great for photography, bad for the locals. Alligators swim right beside wading birds, Hawks and Owls prey on each other. In general it’s chaos for about a month.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

The shots taken here were while a pair of Red Shoulder Hawks flew over head looking for the young Owlets. Mom (above) ran them off.

 

Loons Are Still Here

It’s the middle of April and the Loons are still on the New England shores and inlets. I have been told the lakes are still frozen up north.

While they may not be migrating yet their mating plumage is evident. During the winter they are fairly drab in color. Come spring the striking black and white coloring we associate with Loons returns.

One of the great things to witness with Loons is the take off. In the water they are incredibly graceful. On land they can hardly stand.

However, when a Loon takes flight to leave the water it’s a sight to behold.

Basically they standup on their big web feet (in the water) and start to flap their wings….. and run really really fast.  Ultimately they get in the air, but you almost feel yourself trying to help them.

The shots below are a step by step take off.

Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off
Loon Take Off

I almost want to applaud when they get airborne.

 

 

 

Diving Osprey – Don’t Blink

If you don’t live in an area with Osprey it’s almost impossible to describe how they dive for fish.

It’s a head down, full speed, controlled crash. At the last second they drop their talons down and grab an unsuspecting fish.

I photographed this acrobatic Osprey casually flying along the edge of the Connecticut river and then suddenly fold back it’s wings to quickly shift into the controlled dive they are famous for.

Diving Osprey
Diving Osprey

 

Diving Osprey
Diving Osprey

IMG_9141-1

Don’t look away or you can miss everything.

No fish on this try. Instead he snatched a branch for some nest repairs.

Osprey Are Back

One sure sign spring has arrived in New England, besides the mud, are the returning Osprey.

Typically the female returns to last years nest and waits for the male. Early on she will chase away all other suitors waiting for her mate.

In Connecticut we have both state and privately funded nest platforms along the shore and inlets. Most are placed far from people, but still close enough to watch.

Finding the right spot to photograph these birds is hard, but certainly rewarding when you can watch them fish, raise young, and soar over the waters and marshes.

Connecticut Osprey
Connecticut Osprey
Connecticut Osprey
Connecticut Osprey

These photos were taken from a distance, with a lens less than perfect for the job (300mm). I hope to get a closer location as the weather warms. And of course be ready with the longer lens next time.

Winter Mallards

All winter the ponds, parks, and rivers have one constant, Mallards.

In the rivers and woods they will quickly fly away. But in the parks and ponds just float and wait for food to appear.

No matter where, they are bright and colorful.  Over the past few months I have collected numerous photos. I thought at this point they should be added here.  It may be snowing and cold yet, but spring is around the corner and the Mallards will be too busy to pay attention to us.

Mallards
Mallards
Mallards
Mallards
Mallards
Mallards

 

At The Bent Of The River

No, that’s not a typo. Bent Of The River is an Audubon Center preserve in Southbury Connecticut. It also happens to be on a bend of the Pomperaug river.

The car was parked in deep mud, everything else was either solid ice or hard crust snow. This was my first time here so I was not sure of where any trails might be.  A path along the banks of the stream seemed as good as any place.

IMG_7932It was completely void of movement. The brook was full and rushing however the only hint of life were tree stumps left behind by local Beavers.  The fields and stream are beautiful this time of year so there was plenty of landscape photos to take.

We finally did find the centers barn and being an Audubon preserve, bird feeders. Everywhere. A field and barn yard filled with small birds. The barn has a porch over looking the fields. It’s a great place to take a million photos of the local small birds. Like the thousand other shots we already have. But of course we stayed and photographed everything that moved.

For me the real find was an Eastern Blue Bird on the road back to the car. I don’t remember the last time I saw one.

Eastern Blue Bird

Eastern Blue Bird
Eastern Blue Bird

The final show was announced before we could see it. Crows, loud and then diving around the wood line. Finally a Broadwing Hawk flew off and high followed by the crows on his tail.

Crows Chasing Hawk
Crows Chasing Hawk

All in all it is a great place to wander around in and we will be back, in summer.

 

Conversation With A Crow

It was a fairly one sided conversation. Loud too. He barged right in and start ‘talking’ right away.

Connecticut River Crow
Connecticut River Crow

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.

Connecticut River Crow
Connecticut River Crow

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.

Connecticut Crow
Connecticut Crow

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.

Connecticut River Crow
Connecticut River Crow

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.