Wildlife Photography: Looking For Spring In All The Wrong Places.

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click images to enlarge

 

It’s spring they said. Go out and enjoy it’s arrival, they said.

Well, I share a bit of confusion with my red squirrel friend. But maybe I’m looking for spring in all the wrong places.

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Here on the Tug, we still have snow on the ground and coming down ever so lightly. Though it did pour rain Friday and Saturday, which I heartily welcome because it helps to dissolve some of the snow pact. I think a good foot washed away over the last two days. Finally.

We still have a ways to go but I decided I needed to get out of my little corner of the world and go look for spring else where. They say travel is good for a person. You can’t always justify the $ to escape to exotic locations for travel, but I think even travel outside of your zip code, even if it’s just for a day drive, can be good for a change in perspective. (And I realize I am officially Go-Out-For-A-Drive years old now)

That’s just what I did.

I took an hour+ spin southwest down to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to see how the spring migration was shaping up. What a difference.

No snow on the ground, BARE GROUND! First of spring migrants making their way back north and reaching the finger lakes region. Mating plumage beginning to turn, turf wars on the brink.

In contrast, here on the Tug, the turkeys are all still grouped up, banded together as they comb the woods for food, not ready to think about the twitterpated activities of spring. The deer look so lackluster and defeated as they go through their routines making it in and out of the swamp each morning and evening.

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I had a really hard time trying to decide what to do, where to go. Up north to visit my favorite little quiet creek and see her begin to wake from her winter slumber? Perhaps back to the nature center in Baldwinsville to search again for the Northern Saw Whet Owl I was unable to find last time I was there??

I decided on Montezuma. I’d really like to get some epic snow goose images into my portfolio and they have just reached the area in their push back to the Great North.

As I was coming off the exit I saw my photo. I could see off in the distance thousands upon thousands of snow geese trying to descend on a farm field. The tornado of motion and flapping confusion was mesmerizing.

And then I made a rookie mistake.

That’s the picture I wanted, a sky peppered in feathered chaos, but in that moment I decided not to veer off path to find that field but rather to continue on my route to the refuge. Surely, there would be more geese along the way.

Nope. Not like that anyway.

Instead, I was met with immature bald eagles and all their tomfoolery.

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This is the first time I have ever had the opportunity to watch eagles squabble over a kill.

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click images to enlarge

“Hey, whatchu got there??”

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I love the way they walk on the ice, reminds me of that scene in Jurassic Park with the velociraptors. DSC_3927EDIT FB

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Other spring migrants included Red-Winged Black Birds, Swans, Canada Geese, and a handful of ducks, including Northern Pintails…

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After coming out of the refuge I cut up back north to follow Lake Ontario back towards home. Along the way I made a stop in Sterling to take a quick peek at the nature center. Allegedly there is a Great Horned Owl nesting in the heron rookery…but I was unable to find her. It’s crazy how the storm clouds can roll in and out over the lake so fast.

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Back in the flyway for the migration highway (see what I did there??) I met up with the snows again. This time though they were V’d up high in the sky with Canada as their next stop, no doubt. DSC_4080EDIT FB

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One last shutter snap before arriving back home-I am actually surprised I got this in focus because it was a total drive-by shooting move.

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Here’s to getting out of my own neck of the woods for a day. Soon enough the snow will recede, streams will swell and the buds on the trees will pop. (And I will spend my free time getting lost in forested places)

In the meantime, I continue to be entertained by the domestic disputes of the resident squirrels and anxiously await the re-awakening.

-K

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