Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Colors

Fall Colors on the Peconic River

Fall of course is in full swing and Pine Siskins are everywhere... I haven't seen too many, but I've spent very little time at the beach where they are migrating.  According to one report this morning, nearly 20,000 were seen flying from east to west at Fire Island, quite a spectacle!  

As for me, I took a quick visit to Swan Lake in East Patchogue which is a short drive away and saw several yellow-rumped warblers.  More excitingly, on the lake were at least three pied-billed grebes along with many swans and mallards  Before long Swan Lake will be swarming with winter waterfowl.

I've also taken a few fall-foliage-over-water photos but I seemed to have missed the season's peak colors.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Common Raven

While waiting for a delivery I was gazing out the window and noticed a very large black bird land on the powerline outside my house - I immediately went and grabbed my camera, convinced that it was a (not-so-Common) Common Raven.  I grabbed a few photos through the living room window and when I went outside I relocated it in a tree across the street (near a neighbors feeder) but didn't have enough lighting for a decent photo.  Please correct me if I'm wrong - but fairly certain this is a Raven (which of course, was not accompanied by other Corvids)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

First trip to Jones Beach this fall

This morning was my first trip to Jones Beach's West End of the fall, a time of year I always look forward to photographically. The promise of migratory birds big and small including raptors, songbirds and woodpeckers combined with cool crisp mornings is my favorite time of year to be in the field with camera in hand. While I just returned from my honeymoon in Dominica which provided wonderful photographic opportunities and scenery, it's nice to get back home and see what my backyard has to offer.

 I didn't find anything of note today - well, nothing rare anyway. I did see some Cedar Waxwings which I cannot remember seeing during migration along the shore in the last 3 years I've been going there. There were plenty of Pine Siskins, Goldfinches, loads of Northern Flickers and a decent number of Merlins around.

 The most exciting bird for me though was on my drive home, when I was halfway down the Ocean Parkway and saw something large perched in a tree. As I passed by at 60mph I saw a large falcon - the Peregrine. I took the time to drive to the next U-turn and go all the way back and U-turn again in an effort to grab a quick photo (parking alongside the parking was strictly prohibited, but the police were otherwise occupied with some speedy motocyclistes). This photo was taken with my new Nikon 1 V1 10.1 MP HD Digital Camera

 The Merlins this morning were quite active and the first one I saw in the parking lot was eating the remains of it's catch (clearly a small bird). The Merlin had fled to the parking lot from its perch in a snag after a couple crows showed up to investigate. I also saw several merlins in hot pursuit of Northern Flickers (which are only slightly smaller - at least it seems that way) but never saw a successful catch. 

Another surprise, along the bountiful median was a beautiful Northern Harrier that came across the road slowly working the area for a meal. The photo below is probably the best I've taken of a Northern Harrier in flight in my 3+ years of pursuing flight images of them. You just never know when a bird will give you a chance like this.