Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2014

Hunting for the hunters~

With so many snowy owls in the region this winter, birders and photographers have been particularly successful in spotting and shooting (photographically speaking!) these beautiful birds. The well-known locales where snowies have been sighted are big draws for hopeful viewers.
We’re hunters. We seek the thrill of seeing wild creatures close up. We want to experience their beauty and dignity. We bundle up, drag out our gear, and complain about the wind chill, all to witness the real hunters, whose survival depends upon their focus, their senses, their quickness—and freedom from distraction.
Snowies are not easy to spot. Protective coloration works like a charm, and despite being large, once they are patiently hunkered down, scanning for rodents, they can be all but impossible to detect. Even in motion they fly low and are well camouflaged.


Your best bet in spotting one is patience and a pair of binoculars … or watching for clusters of people. When someone spots a snowy, he stares int…

Robins in winter...

I’ve never seen a robin in the dead of winter, but this year I saw a flock chirping together in a downtown Bridgewater tree while snow fell. When I saw another large flock on Plum Island, I added robins to my “Google list”—a mental list I keep of topics I want to know more about. 


I’ve never paid much attention to robins. They’ve always seemed aloof to me, hopping along by themselves with one eye to the ground, scouting worms.Before the ground is frozen or snow-covered, they’ve flown south where the worms are still churning the soil. They follow the worms, I thought. So why are they still hanging around?
It turns out that the robins that nested in my fruit trees have flown south to a more comfortable zone. The birds I’m seeing now have most likely come down from the Canadian Maritime provinces. Massachusetts certainly provides more tolerable temperatures in the winter for these guys.


The robins clearly aren’t digging up worm popsicles from under the snow and they aren’t the least intere…

The magic of winter...

I’ve taken plenty of cold, windy walks on snow-covered beaches, but I realized when a friend and I stood on the shore at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, watching thick, fluffy flakes fall, that I’d never actually been on a beach during a snowfall. 
Boy, have I missed something in all these years of living in the Northeast!
I had my camera. Of course! And there was nothing I wanted more than to capture the beauty of the landscape—the sweep of the ocean and the rise of dunes with the beach between, softened and muted by the falling snow.

But the purpose of our two-hour drive had been to get some shots of one of the several snowy owls that have settled on the Plum Island for the winter. So I'd left my landscape lens in the parked car and had only my long lens on the camera. This lens would give me the focal distance I needed to get the details of a distant owl, but it would show only a narrow slice of landscape, not the snow-filled panorama I wanted at that moment.

Still...I …