Today was another beautiful spring day in the Hudson Valley. I was up before 8am and out of the house by 9. I had a full agenda planned for today, but only made it to two of the locations as I got tied up at my second stop.
I first went to the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve to see what I could find. I hopped onto the trail and headed to the ponds and creek. I didn't see too much, only a pair of geese, a bunch of turtles, a few palm warblers and a male mallard. The male mallard was yelling the whole time and I was a little concerned for him as yesterday I had seen a pair of mallards hanging out. All I could think was, "where is the female and why is he yelling so much". As for the palm warblers, they were bouncing around on tree branches above the pond and there was one branch in particular I kept hoping one would land because it was a clean shot where I could perfectly blur the background. I waited roughly 15 minutes and one finally landed in the spot I was hoping for. After spending over an hour near the ponds waiting and hoping something good would happen, I decided to walk one of the trails. The sun shined nicely and the trail was super quiet. When I got near the end of it, I saw a few baltimore oriole's, but they stayed hidden in the brush and didn't cooperate for a single picture.
Eventually, I left and stopped home so I could take the dogs for a walk and change into some lighter clothing. I was so hot from my 3.5 mile walk at Vassar Farms and thought it would be nice to get the boyz out while the sun was shining and the temps were so nice. After I took care of things at home I headed out towards Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
Things at Cary started off slow, but I did see a Phoebe (bird) as I first drove in and was excited as this was my first time ever photographing a Phoebe. From there I took a drive around the wetlands and saw a pair of mergansers (ducks). They were a bit far for photographs, but I took a few shots with hopes that maybe one or two might be half way decent. It was at that time when I met up with a fellow from the Waterman Bird Club who I've heard of, but never met. I hung out with him for a bit and helped him look for the American Bittern that had been spotted in the area last weekend. We had no luck looking together, but he was still looking when I left to meet up with my friend, Justin. Justin had spotted a Barred Owl in an area where we had seen one last weekend and had a nice view of it. I wound up staying there with Justin from roughly 1:30-5:45pm. Mostly the owl just sat and snoozed, but we did witness it preening, yawning, stretching and pooping. It even moved once from one tree to another. The light wasn't the greatest for pics, so we had to manipulate our settings best as possible. It was a fantastic experience to sit and watch this raptor, even though it didn't do anything too entertaining. Mostly, it was exciting to sees how it blends into its natural environment so well. If one was not looking for the owl, they probably would never see it.