Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I saw on MY Spring Break, (Part I)

Last week I spent four days in the vicinity of the Cape May Lighthouse.

Cape May Lighthouse

And, no, I did not climb the 199 stairs to get a view from the top. I'm sometimes stupid, but I'm not crazy.

Actually, I ranged from Sunset Beach at the (nearly) southernmost tip of the Cape up to Smithville and Leeds Point to the north and from the Atlantic shore to the Delaware Bay. Roughly 45 miles south to north and slightly less east to west.

My goal was to view birds...and, maybe, get some good, fresh seafood meals! Mission accomplished on both fronts. The food at the Oyster Creek Inn and the Smithville Inn was excellent and the service top notch. The birds, while not yet at their peak, the horseshoe crabs hadn't returned to the bay beaches to lay their eggs and attract hordes of shorebirds, and the warblers hadn't yet decided if winter had, indeed, retreated far enough north to make their search for insects a successful one so they were hanging back. Still, Mother Nature presented nearly 75 different species for my viewing pleasure.

Some of the birds were common to north-central PA (Song Sparrow, Robin, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Mourning Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, etc.) But some of them presented themselves out in the open where a photo could be easily taken.

Other species will never be seen--or, at least, will seldom be seen--in my home territory being indigenous to the salt marsh and seashore environment.

Let me show you a few:

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret
The bird above may look a little bashful, but he probably has some small critters up against the reeds and is waiting to pounce.

Great Egret
Next to the Mute Swans, this was probably the largets bird I encountered. Half again as large as the Snowy Egret without the feathery plumes, the extremely long neck, totally black legs and bright orange bill will help differentiate them. (The snowy has a shorter neck, black bill and bright orange feet at the end of its black legs.)

Great Egret

Wednesday was a breezy one at the Edwin B, Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, so lots of birds were tucked into protective little corners that served as windbreaks. This cluster looked more like a small class outing with the teacher (the Great Egret on the right) instructing the pupils (the four Snowy Egrets on the left).

Mixed Group of Snowy and Great Egrets

I've lots more where these came from!


Rev. Paul said...


Bonnie Sommer said...

Love the egret photos, Rich! From our kitchen window we've twice see a flock of them fly across the bay beach across the street!