I spent all day out and about. I left the house at 9:30 this morning and returned home at almost 4pm. I started my day by heading to Wappingers Falls and looking for Bald Eagles. I saw 4 (3 adults and one immature). The one adult and the immature were too far off for photo's, so I just drove through slowly and enjoyed their beauty. The other two adults were very close to the road and I didn't want to flush them, so I drove very slowly around them twice and also enjoyed their beauty. I didn't bother to take any photo's because I have thousands of photo's of bald eagles and I just wanted to see them today.
From that location, I stopped briefly at another one of my favorite bald eagle locations but didn't bother to stay, I only used the restroom and chatted with a friend briefly before moving along. As much as I love seeing and photographing bald eagles, I felt the need to search for something else instead.
I stopped by a marina and enjoyed watching the gulls, some ducks and some Canadian Geese. I got a ton of photo's of the gulls and had one cooperate extremely well for me. He posed and gave me many angles. It was fantastic. I wanted to stay longer to watch him, but my fingers and toes got numb, so I hopped in the car and continued on.
My next stop was along the Hudson River near the Ice House Restaurant in Poughkeepsie to see what kind of waterfowl I could find. Again, I found a ton of gulls, a couple of ducks and some Canadian Geese. I focused on the gulls and had a blast. They were on rocks, on posts, on the ground, on the ropes and flying around. Most of them were very mild mannered and just sat and took in their surrounds. A couple others were a bit vocal and yelled anytime another gull got to close to them. Then, there was a fight or possibly a mating ritual (hard to tell). One gull went right up to another and bit on his bill. They started flapping around and fighting, it was very interesting to watch. After the entertaining display, I stayed for a bit and photographed other gulls until my fingers and toes were once again frozen and forced me to get into my car and head out.
I continued to follow Rt 9 north into the Staatsburg area. I stopped at Norrie Point and Mills Mansion, but didn't see much of anything in either location. Norrie had a couple of very distant ducks in the water and Mills had over 20 deer very far off and in the wooded area. The highlight of my time in that area was when I was in between the two locations and had the opportunity to photograph an immature red tailed hawk and a very funny family of squirrels. The squirrels were comical and I wish they stuck around longer.
On my way home from Staatsburg, I saw a gorgeous adult Red Tailed Hawk on a wire. I pulled over into the parking lot across the street from it and got out of my car as quietly as possible, grabbed my camera and tripod and got some shots. I was really impressed at how this guy new I was there, but wasn't too concerned. I spent a good 15 mins getting shots of him from a few different angles and watched how it watched traffic go by and looked around in the nearby field for a meal. I wanted to stick around and see if it caught anything, but I was so thrilled by how cooperative it was that I figured I should show some respect and leave to allow him/her to hunt without distraction. Happily, I put my stuff away in the car and gave the beautiful hawk a little wave and thank you as I drove off.
I continued home, taking all back roads and saw three other hawks along the way. I drove slowly past them and smiled as I was thrilled with my earlier opportunity.
As I was approaching home I realized I was starting to get a bit of a headache. I think it was from the bouncing in and out of the hot car and into the cold. For the past 90 minutes I've been wishing it would go away instead of getting worse like it has, but I'm not too upset because I had such a fantastic day out.
I took a TON of photo's today and had a hard time deciding which to use for my blog. I narrowed it down to the "battle of the gulls" and a close up of the adult red tailed hawk. After a little debate, I decided to go with the shot of the gulls since I hardly post shots of them and it was such an interesting moment. I hope you all have enjoyed hearing about my day and that you enjoy the photo I've chosen.