Tag Archives: birds

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.

 

Winter Day On The Connecticut River

Monday started out with the temperature at -5, very windy, and deep snow due to the 3 major storms New England has just had. In general a day to hide inside, but I filled my pack and went down to the Connecticut river.

After a short 1/4 mile walk up river I spotted a Bald Eagle in a tree
near a small spot of open water. Eagles will seek out any open
areas, not frozen, since ducks and geese will be nearby.

In typical fashion as soon as I had pushed through the snow and was within range of a long distance photo he dropped from the tree and flew over the river.
It was bitter cold so I ended the eagle hunt, headed for home, and
satisfied myself with some small bird activity and warm coffee.  The small birds are not hard to find, but difficult to shot since they’re always in motion.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

The second part of the day was off to hike the hills around Gillette Castle.

The following images were taken from the Castle cat walk over
looking the Connecticut river. It’s frozen solid here as far as you can
see, which is several miles. An eagle came by but he was too fast and low to see until he was past and on the horizon.

(People visit this site from many different places so here is some Gillette Castle info. A subject for another time here.)

On the walk back down the hill we did meet a Red Shoulder Hawk in a cedar thicket. He sat long enough for a few quick shots, then quickly flew off toward the Connecticut river bank below.

Red Shoulder Hawk
Red Shoulder Hawk

The last of our planned stops for the day was the Chester/Hadlyme
ferry landing on the river below Gillette. Connecticut has the 2 oldest ferries in the US. This ferry and the Rocky Hill ferry up river. Several earlier posts on this site were taken at Rocky Hill which I visit ofter.

(These links, Hadlyme Ferry and Rocky Hill Ferry , provide more information)

At the end of the day, heading home from the ferry, I caught a familiar shape far off in the trees as we drove past a bend in the river. We quickly drove down a side road and were greeted by the sight below.

IMG_6084-1A pair of Bald Eagles were hunting from the trees hanging over the river. We were able to photograph them for quite a long time before they flew off to the woods on the far side of the river.

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Bald Eagle Connecticut River
Bald Eagle Connecticut River

Some days the New England winters are not all that bad.

 

Tough Little Plovers

I went down state (Connecticut) to the shore. Needed a change of scenery and different places to photograph. With luck a little less snow.

Walking the beach I found a favorite, Plovers.

These small birds live on the jetties and rocks. The snow and ice cover these rocks, not to mention the freezing water,  yet they hide in there somehow.IMG_5925I watched them run up and down the beach chasing waves. Each time a wave goes out they all charge into the surf to grab what ever they might find.

As soon as the next wave starts to come in they all turn and run a few feet back up the shore. Wait, then run back in the water again.

Back and forth until they tire or have enough food. Fun to watch.

 

 

Accommodating Hawk

Cabin fever, snow bound, whatever it’s called, well it’s here.

We can get out and drive around now. With 3 storms, back to back, we have probably 3 feet of snow in most places.

This is New England and while the stores still get a mad rush for milk and bread when the “S” word is spoken it’s really normal for February.

However…… you can drive from one place to another. Parking lots required. No wandering around unless you leave a car home.

We drove to the Connecticut shore where there is a ‘little’ less snow. There we hiked, walked through some beaches and marshes. And met this fellow;

 

Red Tail Hawk
Red Tail Hawk

 

Connecticut Shore Hawk
Connecticut Shore Hawk