Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shocking Photos

The forecast for Wednesday was sunny with intervals of clouds. That sounded like a good day for photography. So I met up with Roy at Plum Island before the sun rose hoping to get the perfect photo of a short-eared owl. Unfortunately, it rose to reveal a gray overcast day, which turned into fog.

While moving camera gear between cars, my ICD went off. Not the first time. It didn't go off again, so we proceeded with our plans. Alas, the short-ear didn't show. We wandered around and saw several interesting birds including two Glossy Ibises; but generally everything was was outside a reasonable camera range.

After Roy & I split up, I cruised Plum Island a little more and took these photos of a snowy owl in flight. (With the recent warm weather I wonder when they will depart. Though with while I was waiting for him to fly, the windy cold mist off of the ocean was probably more suited to him than me.)

I also liked this mockingbird in the bush. He even ate a few berries, but unfortunately his head was on the wrong side of the branch.

When I got home, I dutifully called in to report my ICD firing. They saw some things they wanted to check out, so it was in to Mass General where they decided to that I needed to stay the night and take a stress test the next day. I passed and they discharged me. As I told the doctor while showing her the snowy on my phone, "If the photos are always going to be this good, the ICD can go off more often." It does however, make me appreciate each day a bit more and encourages me to look at all the beauty that surrounds us.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Day Off

This past week, I worked harder than most weeks at a full-time job. However, this was all volunteer work as I was processing registrations and preparing for Saturday, March 17th's Glennie Nature Competition. If you are free stop by.

So though there are still tasks to do; today, I took the day off. I was up before the sun and drove up to Plum Island to hopefully see some short-eared owls and whatever else was available. I arrived a little later than I wanted. The sun was already above the horizon.

Unfortunately, the short-eared owls have been seen at the far end of the refuge, so I couldn't dilly dally at the other interesting opportunities that presented themselves. But I did allow myself to stop and take a few shots of things that caught my eye.

I arrived a Cross Farm Hill about 7:15. As I was driving up I saw a short-eared owl fly across towards the ocean side. Hoping I wasn't too late, I set up my tripod and waited. Twice more it buzzed back on the field side allowing me to take a few shots. While still a good distance away, they were closer shots than I've been able to get to date.

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl

Finally, it was too bright, so I started wandering back towards the gate and home. Along the way I spent some more time with the pintails. While watching a small group, these males broke out into a fight over a female. (She seemed disinterested and continued eating.)

Two Northern Pintails fighting over a female
Two Northern Pintails fighting over a female

I also encountered my first Killdeer of the season. It's distinctive cry gave it's location away.


On the way home, I did a quick check of the Chain Bridge for eagles. Two eagles alternated roosting in the tree across the bay. When they weren't there they enjoyed riding the thermals so heights so high that they would disappear from view. Alas, they didn't fly anywhere within range of my lens. Though while I waited, I did manage to get this flight shot of a cormarant.

Great Cormorant