Photographs by Frank

21 August 2014

The “Wilds” of Antrim

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 2:00 PM

This morning about 9, my CWS* announced that an AWS** had emailed saying that there was a great blue heron on the Mill Pond behind town hall.

It takes about seven or eight minutes to drive from our house to the town hall… I was on the scene in the parking lot behind town hall by about 9:15!

When I arrived the bird was atop the pile of rocks in the middle of the pond by the bandstand in Memorial Park. I got two or three frames before it moved to the far side of the pond and began hunting. The hunting was poor as I saw him/her make a single attempt to grab prey in about 45 minutes. At about 10 AM the bird moved from the pond to a tree near dam at the south end of the pond. After a few minutes of preening,  (s)he flew again, this time headed east over Main Street and towards the Contoocook River.

I chatted briefly with the folks in Town Hall (including the AWS) and was back home before 10:30; not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.

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*Chief Wildlife Spotter; i.e. my wife, Joan.

** Associate Wildlife Spotter; one has to have a network! Thanks… you know who you are!!!


31 January 2014

Conowingo Dam

Filed under: Birds,Winter — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 7:00 PM

This past Monday morning, Joan and I pointed the car south and headed to Maryland. Photographically, our destination was the Conowingo Dam. We also visited Katrina (our daughter) in Baltimore as well as my sister and her family and my parents, all of whom live in suburban Washington. We arrived back home early yesterday evening.

The Conowingo Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River just north of where the river enters the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace. The dam is ‘famous’ for the birds, especially bald eagles, which hang out there in the winter. The Harford Bird Club maintains the Conowingo Dam Site Guide with much useful information about the site.

We intended to arrive at the dam early enough on Monday afternoon to get in some photography then. However, complications of the dental kind conspired against us and we did not arrive until dusk. We spent a short while reconnoitering the dam and its environs before before heading off in search of dinner and a motel.

We were back at the dam a bit before 9 on Tuesday morning. The temperature was about 10 degrees and there was an intermittent breeze blowing… so much for heading south! Dressed appropriately things were not bad as long as the wind was not blowing. Conditions were good for photography with a light overcast diffusing the sunlight. We arrived at the tail end of a release of water from the dam and the concomitant flurry of activity.

Although we stayed until after 1 PM, we did not see another release. Thus, although there were plenty of birds around the action was somewhat subdued.

Here are the results:

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10 April 2011

Nesting Geese and the Return of the Great Blue Heron – Signs of Spring

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:15 PM

Although the main part of Gregg Lake is still frozen, the area around the bridge has been thawing slowly for the past few weeks. The shallow, swampy part to the north of the road is now completely ice free.

For at least a couple of weeks now, there have been a number of pairs of hooded mergansers feeding at the ice’s edge.  The mergansers won’t nest here. They are just passing thorough on their way to breeding grounds in Canada.

This morning, I headed down to the bridge with camera, tripod and long lens to see if I could photograph the mergansers. Two pairs were around but the warm weather had pushed the ice back far enough that they were too far away for good photographs; they were pretty much back lit as well.

Instead, I turned my attention to a pair of Canada geese on the other side of the road. I had noticed them in pretty much the same spot for the past few days and assume that they are nesting there. The light was pretty good and I got a few nice shots.

I was about to leave when I noticed a great blue heron, the first of this year). She (he?) was some distance back… certainly too far away for good photographs. However, I decided to stay put and see what developed. (My  friend, Joe Kennedy, says that one’s “patience filter” is the most important piece of equipment a photographer has!)

My luck was good and after about forty minutes the heron flew right over to, and just behind, the geese. He (she?) waded around in front of the geese and started hunting along the shore. Another twenty or so minutes later,  the heron landed a large fish! After swallowing the prey, he made a U-turn and began prowling the same stretch of shore again.

The heron took off a few minutes later when another fellow intent on fishing off the bridge drove up and got out of his truck. I took a cue from the heron and headed back home for a second cup of coffee… it was almost 1o AM and the light was getting harsh anyway.

Here are the morning’s photos:

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