Friday, August 30, 2013
It is always a wonderful experience to visit this place. There's just so much here that's awesome, its hard not to be impressed. What enthralled me most was the fragrant smell from all of the wildflowers in bloom. Subtle and sweet, it left me almost drunk like a bee. Not many people were birding along the nature trail. There were a good number of colorful birds to go along with the many colorful dragonflies and butterflies. Deep in the underbrush many red-starts and yellow warblers were feasting on the bugs. There was also this guy and another warbler which I think was a Magnolia Warbler. Also lurking were marsh and carolina wren and thrashers in the bracken. Up in the crowns were the juveniles of many species all chasing each other around. That included orioles, Kingbirds, and this Blue Grosbeak who rose up to exert his dominance but was trumped by a fiesty RT Hummingbird. But the mockingbirds eventually won the day through sheer persistence...here staring down a rough-winged swallow. But the real ruler of the marsh was this clumsy Cooper's hawk. Also seen were this Great Crested Flycatcher, and a mute swan. On the ocean side the sun was setting on a huge colony of Black Skimmers! An Osprey hovered long and low along the beach like a good night kiss. And even some Bottlenose Dolphin were fishing close to the beach. An interesting note is that the 4x4 riding guy said the Skimmers are here almost two weeks longer than last. This corresponds with the 2 week late Spring that we had this year. At least the dolphins seem ok, phew!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Its been a busy summer work-wise and Im also gearing up for my next Ecuador adventure in the Fall. As a result, I havent been as active on the photography as I would like. This weekend I was able to venture out to Island Beach State Park and was rewarded with a gorgeous day full of amazing birdys. The most amazing thing about this place is the sheer number of Osprey. I stopped counting after 24, which included many juveniles, no doubt a result of the 8+ nesting platforms erected around the Park. I guess if you build it, they WILL come! One downside was the inordinate amount of biting flies which at one point had me completely covered, Africa-style. But without them as the cornerstone of the ecosystem, there would not be so many dragonflies, swallows and every other manner of bird. That is why I am against aerial spraying, despite the public's call for it. Putting that aside, the management of the Park has an Osprey nestcam which draws a huge NYU-hawk like following. Here's my first shots of the day from that spot. Dad bringing fresh flounder to the nest! Mom arriving at the nest to supervise. At the visitor's center, more Osprey! And this fascinating whale jaw. Lots of sandpipers, dunlin, plover and other peeps on the Beach. On the Bay side, many passerines hiding in the scrub due to the presence of Cooper's hawks and Northern Harriers. These finches came out when they heard the peregrine calling. It was a juvy hovering on the wind, harrassing the Osprey and harriers. Also tons of waders like Great Egrets, Glossy Ibis, and a very beautiful bird, the Tricolored Heron. On the Bay side is a wonderful blind where I was able to get this video of two young Osprey begging for food. On a more serious note. Yet another dolphin washed up on the Jersey Shore this weekend. That makes it about 3 dozen here in NJ and another 2 dozen or so out on Long Island. What's killing the dolphins is a type of pneumonia that is commonly found. Some theories suggest something in the water is surpressing their immune systems and making them vunerable. Here's some recent press on the issue.
Monday, August 05, 2013
I guess its apropos that these Turkey Vultures are nesting in an abandoned Psychiatric Hospital. Mom stands watch. Unfortunately they had worked themselves into a closed off room, so I entered it despite their threats and opened a few windows for them. Good luck little guys!