Day-to-day life in my new neighborhood is actually quite convenient. I’m saying this with one full day here under my belt. But everything from movies, to car washes, grocery stores, and even our little mall, is right here. Even Michael’s and JoAnn’s! And as I’m running errands I’m aware that the little rookery is also right there. Why wouldn’t I stop? My cameras are usually with me, along with my tripods (3), and yesterday I bought a three-step step stool specifically for the nice wide steps and the over-all sturdy appearance of the thing. It will live in the car also, because a short girl never knows when she’ll need a boost. Or to see over a fence and photograph whatever is on the other side. Besides, until and unless I tackle the shed there won’t be any other place to put it. So it was off to the rookery, and I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be much happening. It looked like siesta time. And then I spotted chicks in a great white egret nest. And some in a wood stork nest too. I know there were more chicks because I could hear them calling for food. But the decibel level wasn’t what it will be soon, because I realized that all those birds were sitting on eggs. Not so much nest building going on, just egg-sitting. It wasn’t all just nativity scenes though. These two great white egrets seemed to be under attack by this out of place looking anhinga. It looked as if there was a question of who was going to nest where. They hadn’t resolved the issue when I left.
This rookery is in my new neighborhood now that I’ve moved. I was out early to take care of my coffee addiction, and to use the free wifi at McDonalds, and when I was done I thought I might stop by the rookery to see what was happening there. they were in full nest building mode, accompanied by much clacking of beaks thanks to the wood storks. I’m going to go on record that when I’m back here in a couple of weeks there may be eggs. I won’t have missed the main event, at least I don’t think so. Today there was much coming and going as the wood storks and great white egrets carried in lots of sticks, and the pairs worked to build their nests together.
This is just a natural spot that these birds have chosen for their nesting. There is a chain link fence around the perimeter of this pond, and an alligator lives there but I’ve only seen him once. The shrubbery is very overgrown on the inside of the fence and there is only a small area where it’s possible to see what’s going on in there. The fence is too tall to shoot over top, so I will have to have a step stool in the car with me as part of my photo equipment from now on. Consequently I tried to aim my lens through the spot where the gate didn’t quite close all the way. Or try to aim through the spaces in the chain links. One very cooperative wood stork flew over and landed on the shrub right in front of me, but on the other side of the fence. Too close for the lens I was using, I had to back up into the middle of the street to get any image at all. Shooting was a challenge because of the fence, and also because the sun was still low and I was shooting right into it. But that didn’t stop me…
I woke up this morning in the Hudson Valley area of New York, and what woke me up was the sound of the snowplow out front. I peeked and there didn’t appear to be a lot of snow, but what snow there was seemed to be in the process of being piled up at the end of my son’s driveway.
As I seem to do everywhere I go, I was was up first and enjoying coffee in the dark and quiet. My son’s house sits on a hill, and with the land falling away from the house out back what you are seeing out the back windows are the tree tops. I wasn’t fast enough to take a photo of the owl that was out there last evening. I saw him fly from a closer perch to one further away, but by the time I had the camera out he was out of sight. We could hear him though, so it was frustrating. Maybe I was looking for the owl, or maybe I couldn’t have missed the view out back as it got lighter out there this morning. But those tree tops were encased in ice, and as the sun hit them they were spectacular. A true winter wonderland. I had to stand on the steps in order to take pictures, which left me without a perch for a tripod, and I had gotten the 600 mm lens out and I thought I wouldn’t get any sharp photos, it would be futile, but I took some anyhow. And I thought it was raining because I could hear rain falling, but I was surprised to realize that it was the ice melting off of the trees that was what I was hearing. It was a beautiful morning…I’d have called this post ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ but that would have led us in a whole other direction…
I somehow got it into my head that sunrise was at 6:50 yesterday, so I wasn’t rushing as I drove to Sea Street Beach. It was obvious that the sky was full of color as I drove, but I still wasn’t thinking. It was the first morning without Ozzie, it wasn’t a normal morning at all. And I had been up at 3 AM, even that is a little earlier than my normal early rising. And I had had the thought that I wouldn’t have to rush for the sunrise, but I lost some time writing and thinking of Ozzie. So for whatever reason when I arrived this is what I foundI think that the shape standing on the closest rocks might be trash cans. I told myself I’d lop them out of the photo in editing. But when I saw the photos I saw them as a heart shape, and it was Valentines Day after all, so I left it as is. Funny how Mother Nature can perform for you even when you aren’t exactly on top of things. But later on I got my first ever phone call from Cupid, and the day got a little brighter after that.
When I have a reason to visit my hometown I always make sure to have my camera with me because I just can’t resist a drive through D. W. Fields Park. The scenery is beautiful in every season, and I know I can count on seeing swans at the very least. And yesterday I did. The swan in the photo above spent more time in this upside down position than upright. They are always so graceful, well, except for this one.
When I got out of the car with the tripod I attracted a crowd of birds. I suspect that people ignore the ‘do not feed the wildlife’ signs since the Canada geese formed a welcoming committee of sorts, and the gulls took to swarming in the air. They quickly realized I I wasn’t going to feed them and did an about face. I hated to disappoint them, but they certainly didn’t disappoint me.
I rode my bike through this enormous park when I was a kid. Generations of families brought their kids here to feed the ducks. Before it was illegal of course. And it looks the same now as it did then no wonder I feel the need to return.
This post came up as a memory yesterday and I’ve been knocking my head against a wall trying to figure out how to republish a post. I went back again but wasn’t able to get as nice photos as I did this first time. And now the owls of Philippe Park are feeding babies again, but I’m missing it this time around. Next time for sure.
Photographers are a friendly bunch. They freely share information on where to go to see whatever birds you may wish to see. Upon losing the eaglets my attention turned to the Great Horned Owl nest I’ve been hearing about. One of my new acquaintances posts info on the current conditions in the various parks around, so I was well aware that Phillipe Park was the place to go to find an owl-ette (?). I had never been there before, but I was hopeful that I would find the nest. I asked directions once I was there and was told to go through the 4-way stop and look for the paparazzi, LOL, and it worked. Well, it got me to the area, but the other photographers had to point out the nest. One even moved over to give me a better view, and finally I spotted the Mom up above the nest in a tree. Some of them had been there for three hours when I got there, but I was just in time, they said, because they expected her to move to the nest any minute. Then it would be feeding time.The Spanish moss that you see was a challenge to shoot through. It was hanging from limbs between the owls and where we were standing, and it was blowing back and forth. I had to switch to manual focus because auto focus kept refocusing as the moss came into the viewer. Then someone yelled that she was in flight…Once she landed all you could see was the baby, sort of…And we all scrambled across the way, hoping for a better angle.And oh by the way, I wasn’t far off with my made up owl-ette. Siri says it’s actually owlet. Such a cute face, and quite the wing spread from the glimpse I got of that. I have no idea what I used to think about before I became a bird-brain…