Last week I photographed Swallows feeding their young at a nest box. At Hammonasset Beach State Park the Menunkatuck Audubon Society has placed nesting boxes with the openings facing away from the path where human visitors are invited to observe.
Yesterday, the young from one of those boxes had made it to the roof. At the neighboring boxes all of the activity was on the side away from observation, with the parents bringing a steady supply of food. (Click photo for larger view.)
I spent an enjoyable morning yesterday watching birds along the lower Connecticut River in a few spots from Essex to Deep River. There was a lovely breeze bringing cool air off the water and keeping the mosquitoes at bay.
This Snowy Egret plodded back in forth in an inlet swamp, constantly poking into the undergrowth. I didn’t see the meal but there was some swallowing going on.
Undeterred by the breeze the Swallows were in nearly constant motion gathering bugs from the air, both over the water and a nearby cemetery. A hungry mouth alerted to an incoming parent.
The parents were harder to catch but they stopped long enough to drop off a snack.
This industrious fellow gathered and then dropped little bits of dried grass, over and over. I had looked away when he took off so don’t know if any of his efforts made it to his nest.
On a trip to the Connecticut shore last week we started at Harkness State Park. We almost skipped it because we hadn’t seen much activity the last time we were there. This day there was plenty of ruckus with six school buses of middle-schoolers on a field trip.
Walking away from that crowd down to the marsh I was rewarded with a glimpse of this colorful fellow, oblivious to the din from the picnic area..
Further along, there was this fleeting view. The underbrush there is dense, with new growth coming up through last year’s left overs. The park service mows a wide path which allows human visitors to avoid the prickers.
The marsh inlet was alive with activity: Geese, Mallards, an active Osprey nest, and an elusive green Heron.
A Snowy Egret gave a good show hunting for lunch, then we moved on to Rocky Neck State Park where the Egrets were even more plentiful and active.
In early May I had the opportunity to photograph a group of raptors that are cared for by Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation and Education. These particular birds are not candidates for release due to the nature of their injuries.
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It was a beautiful spring day and we were able to take advantage of the blossoming trees as backgrounds.
We spent Sunday exploring one of Joshua’s Trust properties in Windham, the Allanach-Wolf Woodlands. There was a lot going on from the surface of Marie Lake to the tree tops. A few nest boxes have been placed in a meadow area that attracted Blue Birds and at the opposite end of the lake in a clearing that was home to a few swallows.
I can’t help myself: I keep taking pictures of birds that are high up in the sky. There are no reference points to give the photos balance and the birds are too far away to make great shots, but I still want to capture the majesty of a hawk or eagle in full flight.
Tonight the early evening sun gave me an opportunity as a hawk was flying lazy circles above our house. The sun was highlighting under his wings as he effortlessly glided over our neighborhood.
He came a little closer, but was obscured by a tree in our yard.
It was an enjoyable hour, watching a beautiful bird seemingly enjoy the air currents, probably looking for his dinner.
While waiting for him to circle back around a blue jay having a snack from the bird feeder obligingly provided me a shot on the ground.
A glance out the window this afternoon found our chestnut tree full of birds. There was a lot of noisy activity around them, but a core group just sat there. I fetched the camera from upstairs, changed the lens , and still they sat.
After watching awhile I realized they were mostly Cedar Waxwings, which we rarely see, with a variety of our regulars mixed in. An hour later most of them were still there.
After a disappointing trek on Sunday that left me with a multitude of out of focus Osprey shots I decided to stay in the back yard with the camera yesterday.
I chased the squirrels away from our feeders and I waited. And waited. I was about to go back in when the parade started; a few flits at first, then a steady stream of small birds.
I captured Finch, Sparrow, Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker, and Robin who all graciously took turns around the yard. I missed a few. A blue jay didn’t stay long enough, the beautiful female Woodpecker hid behind the maple branches, and the Mocking Bird who has policed our yard for several months didn’t join in.
Back yard male cardinal
I hope to try the Osprey again another day.
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