Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Trip Day 2, Part 1: Chincoteague NWR

Great Blue Heron and Female Northern Shoveler, Chincoteague NWR, VA

Day 2 was different. No snow, clear, bright (if a little windy still). I started out with a trip over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It is nearly a pelagic experience you are so far out over the water--I swear I saw a shearwater as I was driving by.

My first of two stops was Chincoteague. Yes, I did see and take photos of the "wild" ponies like everyone else. Here, let's just get them out of the way.

Today I had a couple of modest goals. First, an actual photo of a Carolina chickadee. Second, I hadn't seen a bald eagle this trip yet. Wouldn't you know, as soon as I entered the Wildlife Loop trail and was raising my camera to take a picture of this Carolina chickadee, a bald eagle soared by? That was quick!

I would see bald eagles again in the woods. Can you find one?

Today it was bright enough to take photos of little birds. I finally got some decent shots of the ubiquitous yellow-rumps (good warm-up for our warbler season up here in a couple months)

And so many trail-side sparrows: song, swamp, tree and even chipping sparrows (see ya in a month, chippy)!

My favorite moment of the morning, though, was an encounter with brown-headed nuthatches. They were teeny tiny, flitting around more like chickadees or kinglets than white-breasted nuthatches, making a racket, sounding like little squeeze toys.

The waterfowl scene was also hopping, though there was more ice on the water here than in NC, and so more crowding. Pintails, black ducks, mallards and shovelers in great abundance.

They would occasionally be driven up into great duck clouds.

The beauty of the male pintail goes without saying, I guess.

But the northern shoveler holds its own in this department.

Lots of herons and egrets (and lots of people taking photos of herons and egrets).

Tundra swans and snow geese were there as well, the snow geese occasionally flying over in wonderful formations. I tried again and again to capture this, but this was the best I could do.

I wanted more. Next stop, I would get it.

Day 2, Blackbird Interlude

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