It was Monday, the quietest day of the week, so I got in line at the gate for the 3 pm opening. It was nice to be first to claim a nice spot, first near a pair of Pintails. They are just beautiful. I've found it good to just sit and let things develop. So many see the bird, snap a photo and rush on. I don't, and think I see more.
The best of the afternoon was the Tundra Swans towards the middle of the loop. On the next day neither Pintails nor Tundra Swans were on the Wildlife Loop.
I've put a couple of nice Pintail photos in my waterfowl gallery at:
Tuesday dawned beautiful, if cold. But it warmed quickly. A large part of my early morning was watching a Great Blue Heron fishing along the causeway to the beach.
|The Catch- a Double|
There was a side trail, the Bivalve Trail, that went to the tidal flats. I discovered that these flats are open to oyster cultivation and harvesting. It seems to have been an accommodation to the local fishery when the refuge was established. I can tell you that I had the most delicious pan fried oysters at dinner and heartily support any access for oyster harvesting.
Now, when the Wildlife Loop opened on Tuesday, it was pretty much a bust. No Pintails, Swans or such anywhere near. I saw a flock of Willets lift off and head seaward, so I changed the plan and hoped I would find shorebirds in the surf.
Well, I was in luck. Dozen of Willets were probing the sand for small snails and periwinkles. The wind was perfect for them to wing past me with the sun nicely bathing them in warm evening light. And there were gulls too.
I was to return home on Wednesday. Deciding I had exhausted the subjects at Chincoteague, I made a very early start to reach Prime Hook by 8:30 am. I found a beach road and there were some very nice waterfowl close to the road including a very stately pair of Pintails. Thankfully, the road was very lightly traveled and I could pull over safely for long periods of time.
Driving on, I came upon a winter wheat field literally covered with Snow Geese. I think it best to quantify them by the acre, not the thousands. Just too many to put a number on. Still, they were not close enough for mid range images.
The noise is one of continual cacophony with a mix of goose vocalization plus the wing noise. I imagine they can strip a field in a day.
Entering Bombay Hook NWR, I only found the most common waterfowl, generally too distant plus one male Bufflehead. He was too distant for a really good image. Looking at the clock, it was time to leave if I was to make it thru Philly before rush hour.
The new plan was to skip the diner, get a sub sandwich and hit the road. Home by dinner and facing over a thousand images to cull down to the best seventy. Happy man.
Obviously, there are many more good images, all in higher resolution, to enjoy. I've put a few more on my Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pschmitt_at_flickr/
I've posted the best high resolution images in the Bird Galleries of webpage. Seek out the sub-galleries for Waterfowl and Shore & Wading Birds. Go to: http://pschmitt.smugmug.com/
I hope you find these images enjoyable and that you too have the opportunity to enjoy Chincoteague in the Winter. I'd love it if you find this something to share with your friends.
Thanks for visiting my blog.