Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snow Before The Blizzard

     Today I headed out to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY in hopes of seeing the only kind of snow I like to see in the winter. Lucky for me I did have that chance and especially before we get hit with an actual blizzard come tomorrow. Thankfully I got to enjoy todays walk especially because the sun was warm and I was comfy in all my layers and because I got to see what I had hoped to!
First glimpse of snow...
A snowy owl, my first of 2015 and my first in Brooklyn!
I'm pretty far from this bird, these photos are heavily cropped after using a 70-300mm zoom lens. Snowy owls have been known to show up at Floyd Bennett Field, these grasslands provide the perfect wintering habitat, similar to the open tundra they normally inhabit during the spring, summer, and fall months.
Last year snowy owls showed up in huge numbers in a phenomenon called an irruption, birds were seen far down south, even as far as the Carolinas. It was predicted that this year, we may still see large numbers following last years irruption. I have had the pleasure of seeing snows last winter (Dec 2013) and the winter before (Feb 2013).
A little snowy owl, dwarfed by the Verrazano Bridge and the Belt Parkway right behind the fields.
A puddle could be so important as a source of freshwater, when all you are surrounded by is saltwater. A mockingbird quenches its thirst.
Winter berries help to keep these mockingbirds and many other species alive and nourished through the winter.
This herring gull think berries are overrated and scored a chicken nugget somewhere.
An hour later and snowy was still staying put.

Super duper cropped photo. With all the barring on this bird, this could be a juvenile or female bird.
Along the edges of the field the snowy owl was sitting pretty in, a pair of American kestrels were actively hunting. This female was taking a break and scanning the field.
Checking me out, or at least I'd like to think we are both observing each other...
Some wind swept feather action.
This bird was easy to capture in flight because kestrels hunt by hovering and soaring in place while checking out the ground below. This bird stayed put, hovering for quite a few seconds.

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