Saturday, May 28, 2016

Spring into Summer!

     It's the unofficial start to summer as Memorial Day weekend begins. I woke up early, like before 7am, to get in some outdoor time before it heats up. Plus, I have a Mets game this evening and a date with the 1986 team pre-game!
     I headed out to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Broad Channel and the birds were highly visible, singing, gathering nesting materials, and looking for food. The light was also great, so I am excited with what I am able to share with you-- enjoy!
A juvenile night heron lives up to its name on Big John's Pond.... it's too early!
Sitting behind the bird blind allowed me super great photos of this male goldfinch. He had a few ladies in tow, but he stole the spotlight with that golden glow.
A robin with a small grub, and probably has some mouths to feed it to.
I was about to photograph a male Eastern Towhee, when he suddenly flew off and went after the towhee on top. Clearly he was trying to claim some space....
Unfortunately for the original male I was watching, the intruder remained as he flew off.
There were a lot of Eastern Towhees and normally they are so hard to see as they skulk in the shrubs- but all the males were highly visible and singing their faces off, so I took advantage.
Their melody sounds like they are singing, "drink your teaaaaa!" 
One of my favorite parts of visiting JBWR are the tree swallows, they nest in the boxes all along the trail surrounding the West Pond. And they have such a gorgeous blue to them, it's lovely to be able to admire them as they sit still.
A common yellowthroat catches the breeze in the feathers on his head.
A handsome male redwing blackbird keeping an eye out over his domain.
An absolutely lucky shot, a brown thrasher with nesting material in its mouth. Was super happy that he paused long enough, in the sun,  to get a nice clear picture before he dove into  the brush below, as thrashers usually do.
Oh, he also paused for this over the shoulder shot. Absolute luck, it really is about just being in the right place for something unexpected to happen. Being able to get a decent, close look at him, as he flew in close to me, and paused a bit, this is a moment I very much enjoyed in my time outside today.
The osprey nest and family.
And now, tree swallows in nest boxes!

JBWR also has lots of yellow warblers, they nest there. The males were singing and not shy about it at all, and so now here are a bunch of the same yellow warbler who sang in front of the camera...

There is something absolutely irresistable and adorable, having those black beady eyes, prominent on that yellow body, probably because it reminds me of baby chickens or other cute baby birds...
I also ventured down a little ways to Big Egg Marsh, where I was greeted by a fat house finch on a fat wire. 
He was scratching his head, but I managed to get a lucky shot of his little birdie foot in the air as he accomplished his task.
A common tern flyby.
I took all these shots, and through my binoculars I dismissed this as debris showing up in low tide, and darn it, my original gut feeling was right-- it was a diamondback terrapin. Always trust your gut.
A willet feeding at low tide, not shy, with semi-palmated sandpipers running at his feet.

A great egret.
Nothing ruins an intimate moment like getting stuck in old pilings in low tide. A male is clamped to the female, and awaiting high tide so they can get back to their task of reproduction.
This couple is just showing off to those who get left in pilings....
Semipalmated sandpipers working the upper part of the beach.
Super cute, and they just casually walked in front of me, not too far- which I found to be a nice treat, as these guys don't usually approach you and as close as they were.
A funny shot of two birds in line, making it appear as one bird with 4 legs.

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, and warm Memorial Day Weekend! Serious thanks to those who served, are serving, or who have passed in the line of duty - thank you for your commitment to our country and the people within it!