Thursday, April 26, 2012

Signs of Spring

Just a quick update here - signs of spring are all around us and I've been lucky to photograph a few things that I don't get a lot of opportunities to see.  Last weekend I happily re-located a great-horned owlet sitting in the nest which has historically been occupied by Osprey.  I'm hoping that next time I visit the bird will be in the "branching" phase and will be found on some of the tree snags that are near the nest.

I also went to check out a fox den that I photographed last year at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge.  I found the den but the kits weren't outside - one of the adults (almost certainly the male) was out in the field hunting though.  Eventually it decided it was time for a nap and it curled up to go to sleep which I viewed from my car via my binoculars.  I took the chance to sneak up and around the bend behind a brush pile where I was able to get a shot or two of the fox before retreating.

While I had been waiting for the fox in the car - this Bluebird landed on a tree branch next to my car which made for an easy photo.  Hopefully this weekend will give me some good weather and let me find a few more treats.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Calverton and North Fork Preserve

Over the weekend I visited a site I'd never been to before in Calverton. Despite it's close proximity to EPCAL which I have gone to regularly for years, I'd never noticed it before. It's just off the road and contains several small, shallow wetlands. My guess is that in the late spring and early summer it will be teeming with interesting wetland plants, frogs, tadpoles and dragonflies. On Friday morning during my brief visit, there was a good flock of Ruby Crowned Kinglets, plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds (who certainly will be nesting there) and a handful of colorful Pine Warblers as seen below.

EPCAL featured lots of the good stuff - Northern Harriers, a couple dozen American Kestrels, Wild Turkeys, herds of White-tailed Deer and plenty of Eastern Meadowlarks who were actively calling. A lone groundhog was seen looking around on the North side of the property (across Route 25).

A trip to North Fork Preserve didn't yield many photos but showed how much potential the site has. I saw Green-winged Teal, 7 Snipe, a Great Blue Heron, 2 red fox, lots of Wild Turkey, several hawk species and heard some warblers and kinglets. I'm really looking forward to the full migration push when Warblers will be coming through as the small pockets of wetlands at the North Fork Preserve are prime habitat for many of these species.

Tree Swallows taking up residence in a Wood Duck box

Nice lighting on "home pond"

I visited another East End location where I'd heard about an Owl nest and sure enough there it was... I stayed for a couple of minutes and then was on my way. I'd like to get back in the early morning for better lighting - but I'm headed on vacation later this week to Florida so not sure when I'll have the opportunity.

This nest has produced at least 1 Owlet

For more on birds that can be found around Long Island - check out this book by John Turner: Exploring the Other Island: A seasonal guide to nature on Long Island