Since we’re all freezing during this New England cold snap anyway, here are a few cold-weather shots I took this winter. Best viewed with a cup of hot cocoa. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.
I was trying to find something on my computer’s desktop recently and just couldn’t find it for the life of me. I knew it was there and I knew I kept somehow looking right past it. Yet, it escaped my view.
My eyes eventually fixed upon it, but the whole experience got me thinking. Why did I have such a hard time trying to find that damn file? The answer was blatantly obvious. I have way too much sh … stuff on my desktop. I looked at the contents of my desktop and many are folders of photos I took during 2014. Some contained photos I used for one reason or another, and some contained photos that never saw the light of day: not in a column, website posting, nothing.
So with this posting, I’ll start showing some of the photos that I “never got around to” in 2014. It will force me to go through the folders, clean up my desktop and, hopefully, give visitors to this site some nice, until now never-before-seen New England wildlife photos. I’ll post several photos over the next few days. I hope you like these almost-forgotten photos.
I took this photo of a Gray Jay in the fall of 2013 in northern New Hampshire. Until now I’ve never used the photo in any manner. Not for my bird column, not a blog posting, not in a slideshow, not as part of a gallery or exhibit. I could think of no better way to use it for the first time than to wish visitors of http://www.BirdsofNewEngland.com a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for your support and help spread the word about this site. There are exciting things in store for 2014.
In my last post about getting out there to check out the ducks before they are gone for the summer, I listed a bunch of ducks that winter throughout New England, but breed farther north. I left off that list Ring-necked Duck. It just didn’t come to mind when I was compiling the list. Sure enough, the next day I went out for a quick bird walk and the only ducks I saw were Ring-necked Ducks. I immediately thought: Hey, I don’t think I mentioned Ring-necked Ducks in that last post.
So, finally getting its due, here you have the Ring-necked Duck, a very handsome duck that spends its winters here in New England (and well south, too) and breeds in northern New England and into Canada. As you can see from the photo, a more apt name might be Ring-billed Duck, but the scientists who named it likely had a dead specimen in hand and the ring around its neck — which is difficult to see in the field — was more visible. It took me years to stop calling it Ring-billed Duck, but I eventually got used to it.
Also, as you can see from the photo, the species is sexually dimorphic: the males and females look different. All ducks seen in New England are sexually dimorphic with the males often brilliantly colored and females usually more dull in color.
Here’s another random bird thought for you.
Ospreys that are born in New England fly to their wintering grounds in South America and do not return the next summer. They come back the second summer when they are of breeding age.
New England’s Osprey population has increased tremendously — especially in coastal areas — over the last decade. Good news!
Some Osprey have returned to New England already, but most will return in late March or early April.
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Here’s your random bird thought of the day, brought to you by http://www.birdsofnewengland.com
Have you heard male Red-winged Blackbirds singing yet? I sure have. Did you know that male Red-winged Blackbirds arrive in New England a few weeks before the females? The males arrive earlier to stake out territory for suitable nesting areas. They sing (konk-a-ree!!) to tell other males that this spot is taken already. Soon they’ll be singing to attract females, which will pick a male that has what they deem to be a good spot for raising youngsters.