Debs Creative Images: Blog http://debscreativeimages.com/blog en-us (C) Debs Creative Images debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) Sun, 20 May 2018 19:34:00 GMT Sun, 20 May 2018 19:34:00 GMT http://debscreativeimages.com/img/s/v-5/u422674491-o327319943-50.jpg Debs Creative Images: Blog http://debscreativeimages.com/blog 120 109 May 20, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-20-2018 Mama Swan and Cygnets

For the past few weeks I've been driving past this pond with a pair of swans and seeing one of them sitting on eggs. Every time I've driven by, I've prayed that they would have cygnets for me to photograph. Today, I had time to go check the pond and sure enough, the pair of swans were swimming around with the cygnets. Most of the time the cygnets were snuggled in on moms back, but they did periodically get off and stay very close.

When I first arrived, they were far out in the pond, but I took shots anyway because I didn't know if I would have any luck on them coming in closer. While I waited for them to come in close, a muskrat popped up out of the water near me. It was tough to photograph the muskrat because of all the tall grasses, but hopefully I got a couple of headshots of him.

When the muskrat finally disappeared, I realized the swans were heading my way and getting closer! The light was really tough to work with, but I did my best and enjoyed watching as they approached me and went by to head over to the other side of the pond. As they first began to approach, one of the cygnets was swimming along side the adults, then I watched it climb up onto mom with his siblings. By the time they got in nice and close, all four cygnets were on moms back.

After they went by, I worked my way around to the other side and to my surprise there were two pairs of Canada Geese with their goslings. Their were five goslings in total. Three of them belonged to the one pair and the other two belonged to the other pair. I had so much fun watching the three families, but at this point they were too close so I tried backing up as much as possible. I crossed the road and stood at the very edge of the lawn. I wasn't there for long when this nasty man came around the corner with his dog and was extremely rude about me standing on his property. Seriously? What the heck is wrong with people? Why can't people be friendly or nice. l was shocked he could even see me standing there through the thick tree line and space between his house and the side road. Oh well, I moved the one step off and back onto the road. 

I stayed for a bit longer and watched the three families. At this point I was just watching and enjoying the wildlife, not really getting any pics because everything was too close. Also, I already had in mind the photo I wanted to use for my blog today, a shot of mom giving her cygnets a ride. It was my first time (in person) seeing cygnets on mom's back and it made my day!

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) anatidae animal bird cygnet cygnini cygnus debbie quick dutchess county hudson valley mute swan nature new york photography pleasant valley pond swan water wild wildlife http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-20-2018 Sun, 20 May 2018 19:34:05 GMT
May 14, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-14-2018 My new friend, Woody

It's that awesome time of year and I am now back at camp in the Adirondacks. I opened up my camper on Friday and spent 2 1/2 days getting things cleaned up and set up for the season. I have a few minor things to finish off, but there is no rush on that.

Now that things are set up and ready to go, I was able to take my camera out and play. This morning I photographed chipmunks, blue jays, hummingbirds and squirrels right here at the camp site. Then in the late morning I had a meeting with somebody to sign a contract so I can watch an osprey nest on a particular piece of property. This is a nest I discovered last year, but do need special permission to do so. It's really cool because I got a badge that say's "Authorized Photographer" on it and I have to where it anytime I'm on location. I'll still continue to watch the nest I've been watching for the past four years, but will probably put more focus on this one as it is roughly 20 miles closer than the other nest I watch.

It feels really awesome to be back in the Adirondacks and I spent yesterday evening and this morning working with my chipmunks. I have three that live on the front side of my site and one that lives just behind my camper. So far I've named the three that live on my site. The one near the wood pile is Woody, the one closer to my deck is Stubby as he only has half a tail, and the one near the fire pit is Spooky. I'm not sure this is the same Stubby from last year or a different one as last years Stubby disappeared towards the end of the season, so I'm thinking this must be a different one. And Spooky got his name from my mom. He is an extremely nervous chipmunk, afraid of me and afraid of the others chipmunks. He doesn't venture far from his home so in a sense, he spooks easily. My mom chose a perfect name for him.

I got a bunch of really nice shots today so it was hard to choose which to use as a blog post. I wound up going with an image of Woody since he is the first chipmunk to take a peanut from my hand this season. I'm now working on earning his trust so that hopefully soon he'll let me pet him. Being able to pet chipmunks is always so fun!

I've had a truly awesome day photographing wildlife, hanging with my dogs, enjoying the awesome spring weather we're having and having a nice dinner with my mom!

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) adirondacks animal animal photography camping chipmunk debbie quick debs creative images essex county mammal nature nature photography nature up close natures best shots new york peanut rock rodent stone ticonderoga wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-14-2018 Tue, 15 May 2018 00:19:33 GMT
May 5, 2016 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-5-2016 Mama Fox feeding her family

Hi peeps, Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you all have had as wonderful of a day as I have.

I woke this morning to temps in the upper 50's and it felt great. I turned off the central air I had running for 2 days and opened the windows as I prepared for the busy day ahead of me. My day involved heading to Newburgh to photograph ducks and geese, then home for lunch and to take the boyz for a walk, then to Rhinebeck to look for the red foxes and then back home to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with my neighbors.

Because I had so much planned for today, I was out of the house before 8am to head to Newburgh. I arrived to find my buddy, John, already there and so I joined him in photographing the ducks and geese. Only one of the mallard pairs had ducklings to photograph. Mostly it was a lot of male ducks as the females were probably still sitting on eggs. I was hoping for more ducklings, but I guess I went a little too early, so I will try again in a couple of weeks. Generally when I go to photograph I sit on the ground, but many of my friends lay down, so I tried that today. It wasn't very comfortable laying on my belly full of coffee, but after a quick peak at my photos, I sure do like the effect and will try that again.

The weather was so perfect when I left the first location and went home to get the dogs out. We took a walk around the neighborhood and they enjoyed it much better than the walks we took the past two days. I hung out with them for a bit on the porch and felt a little guilty when I left to head out for the foxes.

The last time I went to check on the foxes, they were no longer in the den they had been in, so I wasn't so sure what my luck would be today. As I arrived into the neighborhood I saw one of the kits near the foundation of the house and mom and others a little further away. After scoping out the area, it seems she has the kids split between two dens. One is at the house that is difficult for getting pics and the other is in the woods. My buddy, Tim, was really nice to hang out and explore the area with me. I think he's enjoying watching them almost as much as I am, lol. During my 3 1/2 hour visit there we watched mom bring three squirrels back for the kits. One was on the smaller side (you'll see in the pic I'm planning to use for today's blog) and the other two were rather plump. As much as I love seeing her bring back the meals for her family, I can't help but wonder.... "is she bringing back a mama squirrel who has kids of her own to take care of?". It is a tough world out there and as much as I love watching wildlife, some of the activities do give me mixed emotions. Either way though, it was a blessing to see mom and the kits. The kits are starting to wander a little further at this point, so I suspect that soon it may be difficult to get any shots of them. Today's shots were mostly of mom as they slept. I think the heat in the late afternoon kept them in hiding.

By the time I left Rhinebeck, I was ready to go home and call it a day, but I knew I had to pop into my neighbors Cinco de Mayo party for a little bit. They were actually having a big celebration, 3 parties in one. In addition to the Cinco de Mayo celebration, they were also celebrating their daughters 13th birthday which was earlier in the week and her first communion which happened this afternoon. It was really nice of them to invite me, so I went for a bit. I socialized with their family, had some delicious home cooked Mexican food and a couple of margarita's. It was fun to hang out and I wish I had the energy to stay longer, but since I had spent the entire day out in the sun, the sun drained all my energy. 

Today was a really awesome day! Between perfect temps, somewhat cooperative wildlife, friends to hang out with, a good dinner and some drinks.... who could ask for more?  :-)

Wishing you all a happy and safe Cinco de Mayo!!!

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal photography celebration cinco de mayo debbie quick debs creative images dutchess county fox hudson valley kits meal nature nature lovers nature photography nature up close red fox squirrel wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/5/may-5-2016 Sun, 06 May 2018 00:57:46 GMT
April 26, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-26-2018 Mama Fox and her Kits

The past couple of days were rainy, so I took full advantage of today's sunshine and went out after work to watch the fox family I've been checking in on this past week. When I arrived on location, I strategically parked my car so I could sit in it and use it as a blind. There were two kits sleeping in the yard and nothing happened for the longest time. Eventually, they both dropped down into the hole they were using as a den and I sat there texting a friend and playing games on my phone while I waited.

Roughly 40 minutes later mom came in with a meal and all 7 kits popped out of the hole and fought over it. The first one to get out was the one who got it, but he/she had to run around in circles and fight off all the siblings. Mom hung out for a bit and gave me some nice opportunities for photos before she ran off to go hunt for another meal. All kids were active for a while before heading back down the hole for another nap.

An hour after the first delivery a state trooper came into the neighborhood and stopped to ask me if I heard an alarm going off. I mentioned that I heard something in the distance, but wasn't really sure which direction or how far off it was. He proceeded past me then turned around and sat behind me for a while (I'm assuming to watch me and see what I was doing). Just as he was pulling off from chatting with me mama fox came in with another meal and stirred up the crew once again. She stuck around for a couple of minutes and a couple of the kits nursed off of her. Eventually she crossed the street and left. I missed some of the photo opportunities because the cop had stopped, then another car went through, but that is ok, it was still fun to watch.

After mama ran off, the state trooper who was obviously watching me to see what I was doing pulled up next to me and stopped to chat. He made a comment along the lines of, "ah, I see what you're up to". And so I chatted with him for a minute about the foxes before he left, completely unconcerned with what I was doing in the neighborhood.

A few minutes later somebody pulled into the driveway of the home the foxes are living under and glared at me before going into the house. Shortly after, she came back out with a pen and notepad to write down my license plate number. I got out and tried to make friendly conversation with her and to let her know I was enjoying the beauty of the foxes, but she was so nasty to me. I'm assuming she went in to call the police and complain, but no police came. Instead she came back out a few minutes later and very rudely asked me to leave. Again, I tried to be polite and let her know that I was just photographing the foxes. By this time, the light stunk and I was gonna leave soon anyway, so I figured I'll just go for today. Little does she know, I will be back. I'm not at all in front of the home as I parked back away from it. In fact, I'm parked at the edge of the lawn of the person who invited me into the neighborhood. It's really horrid that someone would be so nasty to me. I'm not there to cause any trouble, I'm just there to enjoy the beauty mother nature has given us. I've done everything possible to respect both the neighbors and the foxes. I've even chatted with many of the people in the neighborhood and they've all been so nice and welcoming. In fact, one of the neighbors comes over to my car each time I'm there to say hello and chat about the foxes. I wish this woman would understand that I'm only there for the foxes.

Anyhow, it was a blessing to watch mama bring in two meals, the kids playing and the brief moment I got to witness a couple of the kits nursing off of mom. I got a bunch of nice shots today, but I couldn't resist using a nursing shot for the blog since it is such a sweet moment! I hope you all enjoy this shot as much as I do!

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal babies close county creative debbie debs dutchess eating feeding fox furry hudson images kits love mama mammal nature new nursing pups quick red rhinebeck spring sweet the up valley wild wildlife york young http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-26-2018 Fri, 27 Apr 2018 01:27:30 GMT
April 22, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-22-2018 Red Fox Kit with a Meadow Vole

My morning began early and my day was long, but it was completely awesome! I was out the door at 7 this morning to head up to Troy for my nieces first communion. The church service was very nice and Julia looked so beautiful and grown up. She recently got a hair cut just like mom and her dress was full and beautiful. She looked like a little princess.

After the church service we all went to the Hilton Garden Inn for a reception/luncheon. It was nice to hang out with the family and to see my brother-in-laws family. In addition to hanging out and chatting with the adults, I also made sure to spend time with each of the kids. It's hard to believe how fast they are growing up.

By the time I left, the temps had reached the low 60's and the sun was shining so brightly so I thought I would stop in at Tim's neighborhood on my way home to see if the foxes were still around. Sure enough, I immediately saw three of them at the new den they moved to yesterday so I strategically parked my car so I could sit inside it and watch/photograph them. The kits played and snoozed and were so entertaining to watch. Then suddenly out of nowhere, a bunch of little red foxes appeared. Apparently they popped out of a whole they were in and there were six of them. It sure was a pleasure to watch six of them in action.

I waited and waited forever hoping mom would show up and when she finally did, she made it worth the wait as she came in with a meadow vole in her mouth. She ran onto the front lawn, dropped it and one of the kits immediately ran over to scoop it up. The kit ran a little further from the den with the squirrel in his mouth and hid behind a tree to eat it. I couldn't believe how quickly the kit ate the meadow vole, then came out of hiding.

While the kit was dining, mom took off with one of the other kits following her. I could see her in the distance than I saw her running back, chasing a squirrel with her kit in tow learning to hunt. Unfortunately, she did not catch it as it went up a tree. She then disappeared and the kit goofed off for a bit before returning to the den. I waited roughly 10 more minutes for her to return, but nothing happened so I wound up leaving to go home and take care of my dogs.

It truly was a wonderful day seeing my niece make her first communion and then watching the beautiful little red foxes. I got some cleaner pics of the foxes, but I couldn't resist sharing a shot of the kit with the meal in his mouth. I could easily watch the foxes all day if I had the opportunity. In fact, it's too bad I have to work tomorrow because I want nothing more than to go back and watch them again. Perhaps I'll try to start my day early so I can leave a little early to go see these guys.

In addition to taking pics, I also took a video of the kits playing: Kits Playing Video

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal lovers animal photography beautiful debbie quick debs creative images dutchess county fox furry kits mammal nature nature lovers nature photography nature up close new york outdoors pups red fox spring the hudson valley wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-22-2018 Sun, 22 Apr 2018 23:46:04 GMT
April 21, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-21-2018 Playful Fox Kits

Today was a gorgeous and busy day! The sky was a beautiful blue and temps reached a high of 59 degrees making it absolutely perfect to be outdoors. Thankfully I started early so I could hit up a bunch of locations. I left the house before 7:30 and headed towards the river to photograph bald eagles. From there I went over to a creek where I got to photograph a red tailed hawk, great blue herons and an osprey. By the time I finished there, it was time to go home for lunch and to walk my boyz. I took a short break before heading back out for an afternoon of photographing.

The second part of my day was the absolute best as my buddy, Tim, had invited me over to go photograph a red fox mama and her kits. As I was driving to his house I saw the mama laying in somebody's yard with two kits romping around in the background. It was tempting to stop, but I figured I should first go get Tim. The funny part is that we've been friends for many years and this was my first time at his apartment.

After I got the grand tour of Tim's place, we headed out to go see the foxes. The mama was no longer laying in the front yard, but the two kits were still there. It was a dark area in front of a slightly unkept home, so we continued to the location where he originally spotted the foxes. That was a fantastic spot as the afternoon light hit so nicely and there were three kits coming and going and romping around. At one point mama came in to check on things and then she disappeared. We stayed for a bit and I got some fantastic photos of the kits. Eventually they went into the den for a nap, so we left to get a bite to eat.

While returning from grabbing a snack, we spotted mama running to the new location with two kits following her. We grabbed my camera and went back out to watch. I was a little concerned about getting too close, so I found a nice area to hide in some brush and watch. Eventually we realized that she was moving the kits from the original den which was under somebody's shed to a new den which was under the porch of a house. We strategically placed ourselves so we could watch her return with kits and I was so lucky to get her returning carrying two of them. One was a lot smaller than the other she transported back.

It was such an awesome afternoon and I feel so blessed that I had an opportunity to see a mama red fox and kits. I've been searching high and low and walking all kinds of trails and thanks to Tim, I finally got to see some!

Check out the kits playing. They didn't do this for long, but it was really cool to see.

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal photography cute debbie quick debs creative images dutchess county fox furry kits mammal nature nature lovers nature photography new york outdoor playful playing pups red fox spring the hudson valley wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-21-2018 Sun, 22 Apr 2018 00:36:38 GMT
April 17, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-17-2018 Monk Parakeet

Today was my 6th and final full day in Texas and it sure was a busy one. Rafael and I got up early and headed out to Quinta Matzlan to walk the trails and do some bird watching. The home and the property was very beautiful and we ran into the couple I met from Wisconsin at Las Palomas yesterday.

We began our journey walking south on the trail towards the pond and the bird feeding station. We first stopped at the pond where we saw an egret, lots of grackles and one other bird. We sat there for a bit, but not much activity happened, so we continued to move along and find the bird feeding station. As we were approaching the bird feeding station we saw two chachalaca's. The chachalaca is a common bird in southern Texas that is very loud. Often times people hear them, but never see them as they stay hidden in the thicket and eat all the berries off the mulberry trees. In fact, Rafael hears chachalaca's all the time, but today was the first time he's ever seen them. We even got some really nice photos of them.

We eventually stumbled upon the bird feeding station and it was set up so nicely. The feeding station was on one side of the trail and on the other side was theater seating made out of rock. It was a really cool setup and we sat and watched for a while. We only saw a few species of birds, but it was really cool. We saw the chachalaca's, red-winged blackbird, white tipped doves and great kiskadee's. We stayed for about a half hour and enjoyed watching the birds come in and feast and then fly away.

While talking to the couple from Wisconsin, Rafael learned of a place we could go for monk parakeet's, so when we left Quinta Matzlan, we headed towards the parakeets. The parakeets were in a neighborhood in Hidalgo near the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center. There were seven nests on transformer boxes, but one nest in particular was absolutely huge. It's shape was long and somewhat narrow and it was more of a nest complex than a bird nest as there were at least four different nests for the monk parakeets and at the bottom the sparrows had their nests.

This was my first time ever seeing monk parakeets and it was truly awesome to watch. We watched them going in and out of their nests and collect nesting material to bring back. 

The monk parakeet is also known as the Quaker parrot. It is a small, bright green parrot with a grayish breast and green/yellow abdomen. It is native to South America, yet popular in the pet trade. The wild population was established in the 1960's. They are the only parakeets to nest communally with dozens living together year-round in large, multifamily stick nests that are built in trees and on power poles. These group nests allow for the survival of the parakeets who go as far north as Chicago and New York. Their bulky nests provide a year-round home for the colony. The insulation is what makes it possible for the birds to survive the cold winters. A monk parakeet nest generally contains up to 20 nest chambers and in extreme cases can house more than 200 nests. Monk parakeets who live in captivity can learn to mimic human speech. Their live span is generally 6 or more years in the wild and as long as 15 years in captivity.

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal photography bird bird photography bright-green parrot debbie quick debs creative images monk parakeet myiopsitta monachus nature nature lovers nature photography natures best shots old hidalgo pumphouse museum and world birding center parakeet quaker parrot texas wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-17-2018 Wed, 18 Apr 2018 02:44:35 GMT
April 16, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-16-2018 Roseate Spoonbill at Estero Llano Grande State Park

It's hard to believe that today is my 5th full day in Texas and I only have one more day here before I travel back home to NY. I'm having a really good time hanging out with Rafael and photographing the wildlife, but I am missing home and my boyz.

Today Rafael had to work, so I had to venture out on my own. I was a little hesitant to go far, so I went back to Estero Llano Grande State Park (Las Palomas) in Weslaco. The park is a 230 plus acre refuge in the Rio Grande Valley and it has shallow lakes, woodlands and thorn forest, which attracts a spectacular array of South Texas Wildlife. There is a visitor center/store, viewing decks, boardwalks, an observation deck and over five miles of walking trails. There are three larger ponds and two smaller ones. The three larger ponds host the majority of the wildlife: Ibis Pond, Dowitcher Pond and Alligator Lake. And, in case you were wondering.... Alligator Lake is indeed where I saw a very large alligator on 2 different occasions.

Once again the morning was windy and so the activity was a bit slower than I had hoped. However, don't let that fool you as I saw all kinds of wildlife: tricolored heron, ducks, stilts, spoonbills, turtles, ibis, egrets, songbirds, an alligator, etc.

My favorite opportunity was with the pair of roseate spoonbills who flew in, made a very brief appearance and then flew back out. One of them didn't stick around, but the other landed in Dowitcher Pond for about 2-3 minutes. It was a bit distant, but I snapped a few shots anyway and had a fantastic opportunity when it flew off (crossing right in front of me).

The Roseate Spoonbill was common in parts of the southeast until the 1860's when they were virtually eliminated from the United States from a side effect of the destruction of wader colonies by plume hunters. In the early 20th century they began to take up residency in Texas and Florida. They are still uncommon, local and vulnerable to degradation of feeding and nesting habitats. They can be found in lagoons, mudflats, coastal marshes and mangrove keys. They forage in shallow water that has a muddy bottom in bot salt and fresh water (including tidal ponds, inland marshes and coastal lagoons). They tend to nest in colonies, in the red mangroves in Florida and in willows or on coastal islands in low scrub in farther west willows.

 

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal photography bird bird lovers bird photography bird watching birding debbie quick debs creative images elite worldwide birds estero llano grande state park las palms nature nature lovers nature photography natures brilliance rio grande valley roseate spoonbill texas wading bird weslaco wild wildlife wildlife photography world birding center http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-16-2018 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 20:32:58 GMT
April 15, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-15-2018 Tricolored Heron on South Padre Island

Today was my fourth full day in Texas visiting my friend, Rafael, and I sure am having a good time. It's been really nice catching up with my friend from the Navy and enjoying the great outdoors in his area.

Today we visited the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center on South Padre Island. Upon arrival to the nature center we first encountered a pond with a waterfall. There were songbirds, butterflies and hummingbirds all around. We entered through the main building and out the back door. The center had over 3300 linear feet of boardwalk, 5 bird blinds, a 5 story tower (with views of Laguna Padre, the beaches, the dunes of South Padre Island, the Gulf of Mexico and the South Padre Island Skyline) and an auditorium showing a documentary about the wildlife of the Island.

The birding and nature center is a non-profit organization that was created by the town of South Padre Island's Economic Development Corporation in response to the researched desire of their residents and visitors. Their goal is to provide one-of-a-kind birding opportunities coupled with interpretive tours of the site, as well as educational opportunities to learn about birds on the island. And their mission is to educate the public about the birds and its environs (the flora, fauna and natural environment of South Padre Island and the Laguna Madre Coastal area).

Although the South Padre Island and Nature Center is an environmental center that was manmade and is well maintained, it has so far been my favorite location. It was so incredible that there were so many different types of animals to see. We saw all kinds of wildlife: herons, white ibis, ducks, cormorants, shorebirds, gators, turtles, songbirds, hummingbirds, etc. Some of the birds were first time birds for me, or as a birder would say, "a life bird". Meaning a new bird that I can add to my list of birds seen in my life. Some of them I will even have to look up the ID on. So far I looked up an all red one and I was shocked to see that it is a Cardinal as it looks completely different than the Northern Cardinals I see in NY.

After we left the Island, we went to a BBQ joint and had some Brisket for lunch. I believe that was my first time ever having brisket and I really enjoyed it. We then continued on and Rafael brought me to a park where they have Mexican Ground Squirrels. It was so foreign for me to think that there are squirrels who live under ground like chipmunks as I've only seen squirrels who live in trees. But, sure enough there is a such thing as a ground squirrel and they sure are cute. Rafael was telling me they have ground squirrels and tree squirrels and a few days ago I learned that the tree squirrels in Texas are actually fox squirrels. We discussed the other types of squirrels that I knew of and so he googled squirrels. We quickly learned that there are well over 200 species of squirrels in the United States. At this point I'm thinking, not only do I need a list of "life birds", but I may also need a list of "life squirrels". lol

After our long day out, we went back to Rafael's house to clean up and relax before going to his sisters house for dinner. Because I'm a little shy, I was a little nervous to go meet his family, but when we arrived they were so welcoming and nice. I had a really good time! His family is really sweet and they made me feel right at home. The company was fantastic, the food was fantastic and I really enjoyed meeting their chihuahua. Actually, I felt a bit like a traitor because I miss my boyz so much. Although, I think they would like the pretty girl.

By the end of the day I had taken roughly 1800 photos and so it was impossible for me to go through all my photos to choose my best shot for a blog. Instead, I did a quick search and decided I would use a species that I've never blogged about before. I decided to go with the Tricolored Heron as that is a heron that I just checked off my list this week. The tricolored heron is a medium-sized, slender heron of the southern United States. It was formerly known as the Louisiana Heron. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, the populations declined slightly between 1966 and 2014. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a U.S. breeding population of less than 194,000 birds.

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debscreativeimages@gmail.com (Debs Creative Images) animal animal photography bird bird watching birding debbie quick debs creative images heron nature nature lovers nature photography nature up close natures best photos south padre island south padre island bird and nature center texas tricolored heron water wetland wild wildlife wildlife photography http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-15-2018 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 04:39:25 GMT
April 14, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-14-2018 Green Jay

Today is my third full day in Texas and we headed towards the gulf to go to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge to do some bird watching. The wind was very strong and I have to admit that I didn't plan properly and had the wrong attire on. I spent half the day trying to keep my skirt down so I wouldn't flash anyone, lol. Other than that, the day was pretty good. 

We walked all the trails around the visitor center and stopped at the bird blind as well as all the observation stops. At the bird blind and a couple of the observation points they had small pools of water, bird seed and bananas out for the birds so that made it very easy to see them. However, most of the areas were relatively shaded so it did make photographing the beauties a little difficult. I finally got to see the green jay which was one bird that was a must see on my list. We also got to see a long-billed thrasher, couch's kindbirds, bronzed cowbirds, red-winged blackbirds and great-tailed grackles.

After we walked all the trails around the visitor center, we went to the Osprey Overlook to see shorebirds and raptors. Sadly though, the wind was so strong that every time I tried to snap a pick the wind would blow the lens away. It was completely impossible to photograph at the overlook, so we walked the trail to the alligator pond. Unfortunately, the alligator pond was completely dried out and had no gators, so we walked back and spent a little more time observing birds near the visitor center.

Eventually I had enough of photographing, so we left to grab food at Whataburger. The food was good, tasted like a burger, lol. 

The green jay is an absolutely stunning tropical bird found primarily in Mexico and South America. Their range has been expanding into Texas and according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey their populations increased between 1966 and 2015. The green jay has a blue head, a green body, and a tail that is teal on top and yellow on the underside. In Texas, the green jay utilizes open woodland and brushy mesquite thickets. In Mexico and South America they can be found in humid forests. Their diets consist of: arthropods, vertebrates, seeds, and fruit.

 

 

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April 13, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-13-2018 Black-bellied whistling-duck

Today is my second full day in Texas and so my friend and I got up and out early to go look for wildlife. The morning was overcast and the winds were very strong, so we decided to stay local and only go out for a few hours. We went back to Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area and checked out all three larger ponds as well as the couple of smaller ponds.

Light wasn't the best and the strong winds (up to 33 mph) made the birds not very cooperative and photographing difficult for me. We spent a little time at each of the ponds. The first pond had all kinds of ducks and shorebirds. The second pond had ducks, shorebirds, a snowy egret, a glossy ibis and a tricolored heron. Then the third pond had an egret, a black crowned knight heron, a green heron and an alligator. It was really tough to shoot the animals at the third pond because the sun was in a bad position and the glare was awful.

Today was a short day out in the field, but it was still really fun to see so many different birds I've never before seen. Plus, it's always fun to find a gator while out exploring. Wish I could have gotten some better shots of the gator, but at least I saw one so that made me rather happy.

Enjoy my shot of the black-bellied whistling-duck. I thought this would make a great shot for the blog as it is a new species for me. Plus, I really like the markings and coloring in this bird. What a beauty!

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April 12, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/4/april-12-2018 First encounter with an American Avocet

Yesterday I spent the day traveling to Texas to go meet a friend and enjoy some wildlife photography. I was up before the crack of dawn and at my parents house to drop off my dogs by 7:30 am. My dad brought me to the train station where I began my journey by train to Manhattan, then walked two blocks to take a shuttle to Laguardia Airport. My flight from Laguardia to Houston went really well and we landed early. When I arrived I was extremely lucky to catch a ride from the arrival gate to the gate of my connection departure. I say lucky because there must have been at least a mile between the gates. I got there and had over an hour to goof off to wait for a flight that wound up being delayed by three hours. I wound up chatting and making friends with two of the other passengers which was really nice. All three of us had common interests in photography and rv camping. Having nice people to chat with sure did help make the time go quicker until we got on our flight to our destination in McAllen, Texas.

Because I arrived late last night, my friend and I slept in a tad bit later than I originally expected. We took our time getting ready and having coffee before we headed out to Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. Santa Ana was really pretty as there were many hiking trails to choose from. Some went through the wooded/thicket areas and others were more open. There were ponds and lots of birds around and I got to see the Rio Grande River and Mexico from one of the trails. Sadly, I had no opportunities at photographing birds as they mostly hid in the thicket or were perched in areas of bad light. We walked almost four miles there and I was totally in love with all the lizards that were running around throughout the trails. Some were very tiny, while others were a bit larger. They were all so cute and fun to watch. It kept reminding me of how I watch chipmunks run around my campsite in the Adirondacks. We also had a nice opportunity with a beautiful little fox squirrel who was eating and posing. This was my first time ever seeing a fox squirrel and I was impressed by his beautiful orange coloring. His behaviors seemed similar to squirrels I see in NY, but his coloring was different and impressed me.

After Santa Ana we took a little break and then eventually made our way to Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area. I really liked Las Palomas as it wasn't as large of a location and there were all kinds of ducks, herons, wading birds and shorebirds. Apparently alligators can also be found there, but we did not see one. We saw all kinds of birds that I've never seen before as well as a few that I have. I'm probably going to have to look up and try to figure out what many of the birds were. There was a wader bird in particular that I really liked because it had a pretty color pattern and a unique bill. Since there were other birders there at that moment, I was able to ask what type of bird it was and one of the ladies said it was an American Avocet. So, here it was my first time seeing an American Avocet and I was thrilled. I thought it would make for a nice blog photo.

Now it is time to relax as tomorrow is going to be another fun filled day out and about. 

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March 31, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/3/march-31-2018 Female Wood Duck

I woke up super early today so I could meet up with some friends at Downing Park in Newburgh, NY. My first stop along the way was to pick up a friend to bring with me so that we could meet the others on location.

When we first arrived at the park the sun was shining, but the temps were a little cool. Since the sun was shining so nicely, it felt warmer than it actually was. There were all kinds of ducks and geese around, so we set up camp and started photographing the birds. They came in close and the light shined on them so nicely, giving us an opportunity for some good photos. 

Generally this time of year the ducks are mating and a little crazy. I was a bit shocked that they were very calm today and there was no mating from what I could see. In past years during mating season, there are often a lot of fights and ducks chasing one another. Today, there wasn't much of that so I was slightly disappointed as I was hoping to get some good action shots. My only opportunities for action was when the ducks did some wing flapping and the geese did a little a hissing.

Today's blog shot is a female wood duck doing some wing flapping. She looked so gorgeous out there with the light shining on her.

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March 11, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/3/march-11-2018 Short-eared owl

I woke up to a beautiful morning with the sun shining and the most beautiful blue sky. I planned to spend the entire day out with my camera and new I would be out late, so I took my time getting ready and hanging with the dogs before going out. I first stopped in two locations along the Hudson River in hopes of seeing some bald eagles, but they did not cooperate. By mid afternoon, I headed out to the Shawangunk Grasslands in hopes of seeing short-eared owls.

I arrived at the grasslands at roughly 3pm and ran into a bunch of photography friends. I chatted for a few minutes, then around 3:15 the owls came up. Considering the time change, this was really early to see the owls up and flying. They were extremely vocal and put on the best show I've seen this year. Most of the activity was far, but it was incredibly fun to watch. Mostly the owls chased each other, but I did get an opportunity or two with a short-eared owl interacting with a northern harrier. It was so fun to watch.

There was one owl in particular who kept circling relatively close, near a post. Several times it looked as though the owl would perch on the post, but it never did. We all kept hoping over the course of 3-4 hrs as we watched.

The day was fantastic. It was nice to run into some photog friends, meet some to photography peeps and to watch the beautiful birds putting on an awesome show!

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February 26, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/2/february-26-2018 Snowy kinda day

My day began super early as I woke at 4 and was out of my house by 5 to drop my dogs off with my parents before heading to the Connecticut Shore. It was so dark and incredibly foggy on my way to my parents house, that it was really tough to see the road. I had to drive extremely slow and carefully follow the lines in the road. My dogs chilled in their travel seat by my side and were excited to be going to my parents house. I always feel lucky that they are so go with the flow.

The first half hour to forty five minutes after dropping my dogs off was still very dark and a little foggy. I hit a bad pothole roughly 5 minutes into the drive and was concerned about my tire popping, luckily it was fine and I was able to continue on. I arrived at the beach at 7:15 and the fog was extremely thick and the sky overcast, but that didn't stop me from beginning my journey down the beach to look for a snowy owl. I got roughly a mile down and spotted three photographers who already had their lenses on a snowy, so that made the search easy, lol. Once I joined them I was chatting with them and they mentioned there was another one just a little further out, and sure enough when I a walked to the left a bit, I could see it. I wound up staying with the three guys and photographing the extremely cooperative snowy owl that we believe is a female. As we stood there another woman joined us, then she continued on to the other snowy owl that we believe to be a male. He let her get relatively close, then flew, giving us a nice opportunity for some flight shots. 

People came and went throughout the day and even I left for a bit in the early afternoon to make a pit stop and grab my lunch from the car. I saw two of the woman I know from the Waterman Bird Club, I believe their names are Adrienne and Sharon. And I met a photographer that I've chatted with on line, Will. It's so nice to run into people I know and to meet new people while out in the field (or the beach in this case). The owl I watched all day (for 7 hrs to be exact) didn't do much.... snoozed, preened, scratched, yawned and periodically walked around.

I wound up leaving the beach around 4 pm because light stunk and there was nothing much going on. I went to check into my hotel and then walked the shore near the hotel for a bit. Then when I went in to relax and order food, the clouds dispersed and the sun came out. So, I decided to put my food to the side and head back over to the beach. The two owls were extremely distant while the late afternoon light was really nice, but then as I was leaving I spotted the third owl of the day on a vent on a roof. Light was really stinky by this time, but I took a few shots anyway. Maybe I can tweak one enough to post.

It was truly a glorious day and I am excited/wiped out. I look forward to getting back out there first thing in the morning!

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February 24, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/2/february-24-2018 Starling near an old barn

I was planning to get up and out early this morning because I knew the window for sunshine would be short, sadly I didn't sleep well last night and so the idea of getting up early didn't happen. It was just after 8 when I forced myself out of bed to get started on my day. I took a quick shower and took care of the dogs before rushing out.

I first went to Vassar Farms to walk my favorite trail. As soon as I got out of my car, I spotted a starling sitting on a pipe in front of the old barn. Generally I wouldn't want to see wildlife on pipes or wires, but in this situation I envisioned a cool opportunity as the pipe was just as old and rustic as the barn. I positioned myself to get the sun behind me and took a few shots of the starling. There was another starling just to the right, sitting on a nesting box that didn't seem as creative of a shot, so I didn't bother to take one. I stood and watched the starlings for a few minutes as they didn't budge when cars drove by, nor did they budge when a runner went past. I was shocked by how tame they seemed.

From there I walked down to the ponds I drive past on my way in. There wasn't much going on there. Three pairs of Canadian Geese, a pair of mallard ducks and a distant pair of common mergansers. Nothing that struck me for a photo, so I decided to leave and walk my favorite path down to the ponds. On the way I saw a pair of red tailed hawks circling high above an open field, then a little further were some deer. I was hoping to see the muskrats or beavers at the ponds, but nothing showed. By the time I got there, the skies had completely clouded over and light stunk anyway, so I turned back. I didn't see much of anything on the way back and a light drizzle started, so I figured that was my cue to go home. I was pleased to see such a nice variety of wildlife and really happy about my shots with the beautiful starling. So excited, that I figured it would make a great blog photo!

Enjoy the weekend. It looks like the rest of today and all of tomorrow will be gloomy and rainy here in NY, so I'll probably try to catch up on other stuff.

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February 18,2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/2/february-18-2018 Immature Red Tailed Hawk

I woke early today to a blanket of heavy/wet snow and beautiful blue skies. I new it would be a nice day to get out so instead of goofing off and being lazy, I shoveled the driveway and got ready immediately to get out and enjoy the day.

I went to three different areas and saw a bunch of bald eagles, an immature red tailed hawk, northern harriers, gray ghosts (hawks) and short eared owls. Not all of the birds were close enough for good photo opportunities, but it was still really nice to see and watch them.

The biggest highlight of my day was the immature red tailed hawk who was hunting in a field. He moved around a few times and landed on the ground a few times. The branch he landed on in one of the trees was a really nice snow covered branch and he looked so beautiful sitting there. His second landing to the ground resulted in him getting his feet caught in the grass, but after a little wiggling and tugging, he got free. Then in his third flight from a tree to the ground he flew so close to me that I couldn't get pics, then landed so hard on the ground making this big thumping sound. It sounded painful to me, but he didn't seem at all phased by it. After his third attempt at trying to hunt in the field, he moved on to another area to try again so I left to move on to another location.

At my final location I saw the northern harriers, gray ghosts and short eared owls. The northern harriers gave a few nice fly by's, but the other birds stayed very distant. Although far, it was still an amazing site to see and fun to watch. Plus the noises the short eared owls make is rather amusing.

It was a great day out as I saw so much and the sun shined all day. With the sunshine reflecting off the beautiful white snow I got sunburn on my face. Oops, ouchie, it doesn't feel that great so I do hope it goes away quickly, lol.

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February 17, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/2/february-17-2018 Eagle Filled Day

Over the past two months I've been focused on getting shots of snowy owls and short-eared owls. Since I haven't put much time into looking for eagles lately, I thought today I would shift my focus on going out to photograph the wintering eagles in our area.

I first started my day by going down to Peekskill to meet up with a new friend. He was fantastic as he showed me around the area and directed me to all the hot spots. We cruised around Peekskill and Verplanck, staying in areas along the Hudson River and saw eagles everywhere. There were eagles of all different ages and they were so entertaining to watch. They perched in trees along the roads giving us fantastic opportunities for perched shots with the beautiful blue sky in the background. We also watched eagles fishing in the distance and we watched so many chases. The young eagles looked like they were having fun goofing off with one another.

At one point one of the youngsters caught a fish and landed on the train tracks to eat it. I was so nervous the whole time it sat there eating and with the other eagles joining him on the tracks. It was there for a while and I kept on eye on it while hoping it would move elsewhere, but it didn't. Then we heard a train approaching and I was really nervous for him and the other two eagles that joined him and watched him eat. I watched as the train got closer and closer and held my breath while praying for them. Eventually the conductor honked and honked the horn. I was so relieved as the sound of the horn made them flee the tracks. Sadly though, after the train went by, they returned. Luckily all went well and they eventually got off the tracks.

By early afternoon the winds had picked up and the sky quickly turned to overcast, so I figured I would head back towards the Poughkeepsie area and check some of my favorite hotspots there. That too was plenty full of eagles as I saw 4 or 5 more before calling it a day and heading home.

With so many eagle pics to choose from it was tough to pick one out for the blog, so I figured I would use one of the shots of the first eagle I photographed this morning. My guess is that this youngster is around 3-4 yrs of age as it has a lot of white on his head and tail feathers. What struck me most about this guy is his striking eyes. Intense and beautiful!

 

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January 27, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/1/january-27-2018 Along the Hudson River

I got up early today and headed down to Westchester County to hang out along the Hudson River. I ran into a couple of friends and made a few new ones. It was a bit chilly at roughly 29 degrees, but it was worth it as we watched the eagles on the ice. For the most part, they were rather distant, but I saw 20+ eagles so that was really nice. The best of the activity happened between 8:30 and 9:30 in the morning. I missed the first pass of eagles, but caught the second part of the show.

As we stood around waiting for the eagles to return and do something interesting, we suddenly heard a loud commotion amongst the gulls. Apparently one got a piece of bread and flew off with it, with at least 20 gulls chasing it in hopes of stealing the meal. Then there was a lag of quiet time when a great blue heron came around the corner and flew straight towards as and continued past us. The great blue heron gave a fantastic opportunity for fill the frame shots.

After sitting around there for a bit with nothing happening, I decided to move along to another location. On my way to my 2nd location I stopped to pick up a burger and some fries. Upon arrival, I was eating my fries and a gull flew over near me, looking at me with an expression that simply meant he/she would really like a fry. I tossed one out and the gull hopped over and gulped it down. It continued to sit and ask for another, so naturally I tossed another out. Sadly, I only had a small order and I was already at the bottom of the pouch, so the gull only got 5 fries out of me. At that moment, I was wishing I had more to share. After we were done sharing my fries I realized, I probably could have tried to hand feed it one. Perhaps next time I get such an opportunity, I will give it a try.

Other than my bonding experience with the gull, not much happened at the 2nd location. There were 4 eagles out on ice, extremely distant so I left and headed for my third location.

My third location is a nesting spot for bald eagles and as soon as I arrived I spotted the male heading for the nest with a twig. He sat in the nest for a while, rearranging things before flying off and going to get another stick. After his second attempt at nest rearranging, he left and was greeting by the female. They both did a fly by. She kept going and he got a branch to take to the nest. While he was sitting in the nest doing some more rearranging, she returned and perched in a great spot for photos. Eventually he left and so did she. At that point the sky had become complete overcast, so I figured it was my cue to leave as well.

It was a fantastic day out and I was so thrilled with the opportunity with the great blue heron that I thought that would make a nice photo for my blog.

As always, thanks for reading my blog and hearing about my photography opportunities! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

 

 

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January 26, 2018 http://debscreativeimages.com/blog/2018/1/january-26-2018 I finally scored at the Shawangunk Grasslands

I've been going to the Shawangunk Grasslands for the past 3 or 4 years and never seem to have much luck. Usually the short-eared owls will fly when the light is too dark and they usually stay very far away. Today though, things turned around for me and I had a wonderful experience.

When I first arrived at the grasslands, I saw the blind I wanted was already taken because the flag was up and so I took my 2nd favorite blind. I was there for roughly a half hour and I didn't see any human activity happening at my favorite blind, so I put my flag down and walked over. As I got close, I saw that there was indeed somebody sitting inside it, so I turned around and headed back to the blind I was originally in. On my way back, I ran into this lovely woman named Karen. We were walking and chatting and I invited her to join me at the blind. Moments after we got to the blind, the short-eared owls rose from the ground and started to fly around (while the light was still really good).

At one point I counted 5 of them in the air and it was so fun to watch them fly and interact with each other. They chased each other and yelled at each other. On occasion a Northern Harrier rose and mingled with them. They came relatively close to us a couple of times and also landed on a distant pole that was still relatively visible. At one point, one even caught a vole. Sadly though, when it took off with its meal it headed away from us and not towards us. The best moment was when one flew right over our heads. It was far too close for me to get any photos so I simply watched in awe. I was so in love with the moment and the close up view of such a stunning raptor.

As the light started to dim Karen's friend, Mary, approached the blind and hung out and walked back to the parking lot with us. It was an awesome day enjoying wildlife and meeting new people. I told Karen she was my good luck charm as this was by far the best opportunity I've ever had with the short-eared owls.

Chatting with the ladies on the walk back to the parking lot was really nice. We stopped several times to enjoy the beauty of the owls flying nearby and we saw the silhouette of one perched, looking out over the setting of the sun. At one point we had a flock of ducks fly towards us and over head. It was amusing as they sounded like a plane going over our heads.

Over the past 3 or 4 yrs I've been to the Grasslands at least 3 dozen times trying and hoping for some nice shots of the short-eared owls. Persistence (and my good luck charm) have finally paid off!

Thank you for following my blog, I hope you enjoy the beauty of this magnificent bird as much as I do!

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