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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It 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.
Black Capped Chickadee
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.
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.
All in all it is a great place to wander around in and we will be back, in summer.
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”.