We read some tips on taking photos through fences and headed out to the zoo in Bridgeport to try our hand at some different wildlife.
The Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard are both part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan, where endangered animals are part of a captive breeding program to help ensure their survival.
The zoo is home to a number of un-releasable birds, including this Bald Eagle and Barn Owl. Both quite distinctive, Guinea Fowl and Peafowl roam free around the zoo grounds.
Click on any photo for a larger view or slide show.
A colony of Prairie Dogs was quite comical.
Guinea Hens roam free.
Amur Tiger laying in pool
Rock for a pillow.
A fast approaching thunderstorm shortened our visit so we’ll have to go back to see the Toucan, Ocelot, and the not yet open Pampas Plains exhibit that was having some finishing touches worked on the day we were there.
We seldom leave the house without a destination in mind. Mindful of the holiday traffic, today we headed south with a plan to cross the Connecticut River on the East Haddam Bridge then poke around headed towards Lyme.
As we were approaching the bridge cars were stopped ahead of us with the gate signaling that the swing bridge was about to open or close. The line of cars was short so we were able to turn into Eagle Landing State Park hoping to get some shots.
The bridge was just opening as we parked. After two boats passed through and the bridge closed we strolled down the park. We spotted the Osprey who reside on top of the moving portion of the bridge on the community funded platform.
Other small birds were hanging around.
The Becky Thatcher headed north which could only mean that the Essex Steam Train would be coming into Deep River Landing to swap passengers.
We jumped in the car and made it to Deep River Landing well ahead of the train.
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A little further south we saw the train again as it passed Pratt Cove.
A small pond at the rear of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford is hosting a growing flock of Red-winged Blackbirds. I was drawn in by the racket they were making then an adult male worked to divert my attention away from his family.
(Click any photo for larger view or slideshow.)
Last year’s cat-tails make good camouflage for the drab females and young.
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.
Click any photo to enlarge or see slide show.
It was a beautiful spring day and we were able to take advantage of the blossoming trees as backgrounds.
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.