Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Locations

Just Eagles This Time

by on Nov.25, 2016, under Locations

Bald Eagle glides in for the catchThis trip was two days at Conowingo Dam, with a third day spent looking for birds at E.B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey and Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware. Ninety precent of Forsythe was closed for repairs to the wildlife drive, dikes and pumps. We found a dozen or so Brandt, a half dozen Black Ducks and a pair of Mallards, none of which were in suitable light for good images. We found virtually nothing at Bombay Hook NWR. That place has been a bust the past three times I’ve visited. I think I’m scratching that one off my list. (continue reading…)

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The Birds Up North – Part 3 – Cambridge, MD

by on Mar.02, 2016, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

I’ve posted other articles on this blog about Cambridge, Maryland, so this is nothing new. But every time I visit my spot on the Choptank River I come away with a few more worthwhile images of ducks. They’re fun to watch, and lovely to look at. This year the birds have been a bit scarce wherever I’ve gone for photos, and Cambridge was no exception. Must be the warmish winter we had, which didn’t push as many ducks southward as usual. But that’s the nature of nature – it can be pretty unpredictable.
American Wigeon drake I can count on finding American Wigeons at this spot. The drakes’ showy green head patches make them easy to identify. Sometimes they’re an olive green… usually with a golden iridescence like the drake on the left. Sometimes they’re a rich, brilliant emerald green, like the drake in the photo below of a pair of wigeons. Note the white band over top of the head and extending down the forehead to the bill. This white marking has given the American Wigeon the nickname “Baldpate”. (continue reading…)

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The Birds Up North – Part 2 – E.B. Forsythe NWR, NJ

by on Feb.16, 2016, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is a short drive north of Absecon, New Jersey, and not far from Atlantic City. In fact, Atlantic City is visible from the main wildlife drive of the refuge. I haven’t had much luck finding subjects at this refuge on previous visits, but this trip was different. Along with the usual trickle of various ducks and Canada Geese, there were around 2000 Snow Geese on this visit.

Snow Geese They were spread out sparsely across the tidal marsh on the north side of the wildlife drive, feeding in the black mud of the marsh. But they were mostly too far off for reasonable photos. Luckily, they were also taking turns flying across the wildlife drive in groups of two to ten to land inside the impoundment. There they would bath and preen, cleaning their muddy heads of the black marsh mud accumulated while feeding. Then they would fly back to feed again.
(continue reading…)

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The Birds Up North – Part 1 – Barnegat Light, NJ

by on Feb.05, 2016, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, and this year’s frigid Winter fits of January melted away, it was time to squeeze in a trip up north to try my luck finding ducks. A promising forecast of four days in a row of clear sunny weather became only three days as soon as I arrived at the first stop, Cambridge, MD. The second stop was Barnegat Light in NJ, followed by Forsythe NWR an hour or so south of Barnegat. In this first installment I’ll begin with the birds along the famous (among bird photographers) jetty at Barnegat.

Purple Sandpiper You can almost always find the cute little busybodies called Purple Sandpipers nibbling their way along the huge rocks of the jetty at Barnegat. They are quite tolerant of people and you can expect to find them wandering right past you within a few feet with little regard for you or your camera. When they stop and pose in some great light, it’s time to start snapping shots. I was so busy watching for the ducks that I almost didn’t see this fellow hanging out right in front of me. (continue reading…)

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Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam, Maryland

by on Nov.20, 2015, under Locations

Finally, it’s cooler weather and time for the migrations. I headed out to Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey for Eagles, ducks and shorebirds this week, but there wasn’t that much yet to photograph. I guess it’s still just a bit early. Despite that, I managed a few interesting photos, though not as good as I was hoping for.
bald eagle with fish

At Conowingo Dam on the Susquahana River in Maryland the eagles were keeping to the middle and far side of the river, making them a bit too far away for good images of their fishing runs. Occasionally they would fly closer after a catch, like the photo at right, giving a better view. It seemed on this trip I was finally getting better at acquiring the birds in the viewfinder and tracking them. I’ve learned to acquire the birds early while they’re circling and looking, instead of waiting until it’s obvious it’s on a run. Practice, practice, practice. (continue reading…)

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Coastal NC Ducks

by on Mar.06, 2015, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

Before February closed out, in the midst of freezing temps and snow, I had a couple of days break with good weather. I took advantage of it by heading out to the N.C. coast on a day trip hoping to photograph some ducks. The morning was overcast, as was early afternoon, but about 2 p.m. the clouds blew away for almost 3 hours of light. The ducks weren’t coming as close as I had hoped, so I didn’t get any close-up portraits, but I did get a few passable flight shots, which was what I was after anyway.

Drake Scaup banking hard

I had to shoot these standing in salt water up to my waist. I was wearing insulated chest waders, and warm clothes, so I was plenty warm despite the cold water and wind. The only real issue with shooting in salt water is having to disassemble, rinse, clean, lubricate and reassemble the tripod afterwards. But that’s a part of the job with wildlife photography.  (continue reading…)

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Snow Geese at Pea Island NWR

by on Jan.22, 2015, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

Snow Geese

I don’t often have the opportunity to photograph Snow Geese. The past few years they’ve been rather elusive – even harder to find than Tundra Swans, another of my favorite subjects. But luckily I found a group of Snow Geese at an accessible site on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks just a couple of days after my previous posting from the Choptank River in Cambridge, MD. Even more remarkable, the “Snows” kept flying in for about three hours while I was there shooting, giving me ample time to get many great flight shots – an opportunity I don’t often get.
(continue reading…)

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Choptank River, Cambridge, MD

by on Jan.19, 2015, under Locations, Rants, Raves & Ramblings

With the holidays over I waited for a break in the dreary, overcast, rainy weather to get in some photography. I finally got a good weather forecast, so I made a trip north to a favorite spot of mine on the Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland. The usual cast of characters were there – Canvasbacks, Wigeons, Mallards, Scaup, and the ubiquitous Canada Geese. Didn’t find any Scoters this time, and not a Redhead in sight, but the weather was suitable.

Canvasback hen on final approach

The first day was in the upper 40’s, though a stiff breeze made it quite cold. The second day didn’t get over 35, but with virtually no wind, it felt much warmer than the first day. There were fewer “flyers” this time compared to my last trip chronicled in my “Flight School” posting, but I still managed a couple of decent “BIF” (bird in flight) shots. (continue reading…)

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Eagles at Conowingo Dam

by on Nov.14, 2014, under Locations

Bald Eagle with fish

This was my second trip to Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River in Maryland, near the Pennsylvania border. It is a hot spot for photographers and birdwatchers in the late Fall and early Winter. They come to view the Bald Eagles that tend to gather there to fish and fatten up just prior to mating season. Though I’ve been told the Eagles come by the hundreds, I’ve never seen more than a couple dozen of them there at any one time. In fact, you can rest assured there are more photographers there than Eagles most of the time. The thing that draws me is the opportunity to photograph the Eagles as they dive for fish just below the dam. Eagles sitting in a tree just aren’t as interesting to watch as they are when performing their fish-snatching aerial acrobatics.
(continue reading…)

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Birds, Wild Horses and Kayaking at Beaufort, NC

by on Jun.05, 2014, under Locations

wild horse at Rachel Carson reserve, Beaufort

It’s been awhile since I posted, but I have a good excuse…. I’ve been working my hiney off on construction projects around the house, and dealing with contractors hoping to get some remodeling done. All the while I was also looking for a used kayak trailer to haul my Native Ultimate 12 Tegris (from my previous post) on a planned trip to Beaufort in May. Finding and getting the trailer is a story in itself, but I’ll just shorten it to say I did find a trailer, did finally get a title for it, and barely managed to get it ready for my trip at the very last minute. There was something of a deadline involved.
(continue reading…)

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