I thought it was over. I thoughtwith the emerging tulips Spring had arrived. Yet today we had temperatures that dropped into the 30’s, and (albeit only for about 2 minutes), we actually had hail, rain and a touch of snow. What is going on?
I’m not sure why this winter brought us more snow or why it lingered a little longer than usual, but like most people I speak with around here, I am ready to move on. In the winter, I love the winter. I love the beauty of the first and subsequent snowfalls. And I don’t think I would want to live in an area that doesn’t give me at least a taste of all four seasons. However, now I am ready for Spring. I am ready for the warmth and comfort of the sun. I am ready to shed a few layers and wear a t-shirt without having to worry about bringing a coat along. I am ready to walk barefoot in the grass. Any day now Mother Nature will give in and the Spring weather will match up with the dates on thecalendar. Maybe tomorrow?
For now, here is my farewell to winter: A posting of a few scenic winter shots and nature images from this past snowy, beautiful winter.
I took my kids to visit their cousins who live near Barnegat. It was a bit warmer than it had been in previous days, so we decided to take a quick beach walk by the lighthouse. To our pleasant surprise, we were able to get a nice look at some Harlequin Ducks (both male and female), Greater Scaups and a female Long-Tailed Duck. I didn’t get the greatest pictures, but good enough to document a few “lifers” (the females).
Here are a few more visitors I have had the pleasure of seeing in my yard during this winter’s snow…
The male Goldfinches will be getting their beautiful bright yellow feathers as soon as the spring arrives. For now, they still have their winter colors.
This Song Sparrow was fun to watch as he “drank” the snow. It’s hard to see in this image, but he still has snow on his short bill.
The abundance of small birds in my yard also brings in some larger ones…. The Sharped-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks often dive in and chase the little ones in and out of the trees. It is very interesting to see, but I can’t help but wish for a failed attempt while I’m watching.
Other year-round visitors that spend a lot of time in my yard stuffing themselves full of sunflower seeds, is the Grey Squirrel. They wreak havoc on my feeders, but I enjoy their antics anyway!
It has been a cold winter with more snow than I expected. The snow makes driving more difficult, of course, and there have been an unusually high number of delayed openings and days off from school this season. Even though I have heard many people complain about the harsh weather and express their opinion that they are ready for spring, I can’t help but enjoy every snowfall we have had. I love the snow. I love the beauty of the snowflakes and the way the snow coats the trees and ground. If we are going to have the cold, we might as well have snow to accompany it. Along with the beauty of the snow, comes some wonderful nature photo opportunities….
Now’s your chance to get your adorable pet’s picture on a calendar and help raise money for the Center for Animal Health & Welfare! Our 2013 Pet Calendar will be celebrating the CAHW’s 100 years in operation and will feature 12 “pets of the month” as large (~8×8″ – 8×10″) images as well as lots of smaller images of your pets throughout the calendar. All proceeds from this project go to the animals at the Center.
A $250 donation gets you a professional, on-location portrait session with tracy bodeo photography, your pet as one of the featured pets and a free calendar. Or you can send me your own picture of your pet with a $30.00 donation and your pet will appear as one of our ~1×1.5″ images somewhere on the “grid” part of our calendar. You will also receive a free calendar. If you have already had your pet’s portrait taken by tracy bodeo photography, there is one additional option for getting your image on the calendar– please contact me for details.
So the project has begun! Contact me now– spaces will go fast! All photography and image submissions will be due by September. Calendars will be printed and ready for purchase by November. For details on how to book your session or send in your own image, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An afternoon walk at Jacobsburg State Park to look for some Spring migrants, started and ended with a wonderful find… the Ovenbird. The Ovenbird is a small warbler that breeds in Pennsylvania (and many other surrounding states). It’s song, a loud “teacher, teacher, teacher”, can easily heard throughout the forests, but the bird itself is often difficult to get a glimpse of. I was lucky this past Wednesday when at the end of my walk (after hearing several right when I got out of my car and throughout the walk) I could hear two birds calling nearby, just off the edge of the trail. Finally after scanning the area with and without binoculars, I caught sight of one of these beautiful birds and was able to quickly capture a few nice images.
I also came across this poem about the Ovenbird, written by one of my favorite poets. Enjoy.
It is always interesting to hear what a judge thinks about the photography we enter into the digital and print competitions. I am going to put together a gallery of some of my award-winning images to show the variation in what different judges choose as their favorites. Last night at the Hillcrest Camera Club competition, I entered an image I liked but I wasn’t necessarily confident about because I didn’t know if the judge would appreciate it. My entry was of a flower and is titled “Beautiful Clover” (shown below) and it was awarded 2nd place in the nature category. The second image shown below is called “Red-Wing Take-Off”. It is of a female red-winged blackbird taking flight from a flower. Although I don’t think it won in our local Hillcrest Competition, it received an Honorable Mention in the last New Jersey Federation of Camera Clubs (NJFCC) Nature Competition.
Several days after first seeing a partial albino White-Throated Sparrow, I went back to the same park and spoke with one of the park’s volunteers. He told me that he had seen this bird several times in the fall but had not seen him since. As soon as he walked away from the bird blind where we were talking, the little white bird appeared again. This time however he stayed mostly hidden under the brush where someone had sprinkled some bird seed. Today, my son and I decided to try again. But even after taking a walk and waiting in the bird blind for over an hour while many other White-Throated Sparrows came and went, the partial albino never showed. I did manage both yesterday and today to get a few images of the other birds that are commonly found near feeding stations. Here is a collage of a few of this week’s birds including one of the partial albino. Can you name the rest? In the second collage you can see how the normal White-Throated Sparrows compare with the partial albino White-Throated Sparrow.