View 181: Late Spring at the Wildlife Refuge

The work continues at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  The pool near the visitor center has been drained and the marsh in the first section of the wildlife drive has been lowered. This seemed to concentrate the viewable wildlife along the Seneca River which borders the refuge on its eastern side and along the large water pools in other sections.  These areas is where I saw songbirds, immature bald eagles and great blue herons.

Red-winged Blackbird, Savannah Sparrow, immature Bald Eagle and Song Sparrow in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York.

Red-winged Blackbird (top), Savannah Sparrow (lower left), immature Bald Eagle (lower middle) and Song Sparrow (lower right) in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York.

The day was overcast so photographing birds in flight was nearly impossible unless they were low over the water.  Mainly, I concentrated on birds which popped up near my moving blind (a car) along the Wildlife Drive. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) males were singing from perches but I had to be quick as they were more shy than earlier in the spring.  A new sparrow species for me fluttered past me with a yellow eye brow was more cooperative.  Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) males look similar to Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) with a molted breast and a dark spot in the center. Speaking of Song Sparrows, the males were in prime plummage.

A tree along the Wildlife Drive and right on the river had four immature Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) perched on its branches. I could see another eagle in a tree on the other side of the river. I stopped and watched them for long periods during my stay at the refuge.  When a fishing boat would go by, the eagles would get nervous and fly around.  One of them tried to pick a fish out of the river with no results.  A couple of eagles found a dead fish to share on the river’s shore.  Never saw a mature Bald Eagle all day.  I hope the immature eagles sharpen their hunting skills soon.

This strutting Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) tried several times to snatch a fish from the small pool he was working.

Great Blue Heron strutting around the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York.

Great Blue Heron strutting around the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 1400, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length.

While I was watching the heron intently through my camera’s viewfinder, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye of something red.  I looked up and quickly put my camera back up to my eye…

White-tailed Deer runs past the photographer in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York.

White-tailed Deer runs past the photographer in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 500, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length.

in time to photograph a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) running past me at full speed. He bounded up on to the Wildlife Drive and stopped a few hundred feet down the road before walking off into the brush.

I am still reserving judgement on the management work at at the refuge.  The disturbances it is bringing has made the wildlife very skittish.  Herons which would normally let me get within a few feet were flying off before I could get close enough to photograph them. The population of song birds is way down from years past.  Once the loud and large equipment is gone and the water levels return to normal, I hope the goal of a more diverse and stronger wildlife population promised by signs in the refuge comes to pass.

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7 Responses to View 181: Late Spring at the Wildlife Refuge

  1. montucky says:

    I love the shot of the heron! Everything should settle down again after the work is done. I hope the improvements are worth it!

    Like

  2. milkayphoto says:

    The light on the heron is beautiful. The redwing blackbird is awesome, too, not only for the open beak, but also, getting the nice coloration on the wing.

    Like

  3. Nice shots! I like the heron, too.

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  4. Nye says:

    Nice shot of the White-tailed Deer. Do you use auto focus or manual when you shoot wildlife?

    Like

  5. Giiid says:

    My favorite is the Red-winged blackbird. I would like one here in my garden, though it looks a bit noisy.

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  6. truels says:

    Amazing bird photos. Unbelievable to me that you can get these photographs of the birds – it must require either patience or bribery….. ;-)

    Like

  7. Anna says:

    Great captures of the birds, and I especially like the Great Blue Heron, one of my favorites besides the Whooping Crane. I so had wanted to get to our area wildlife refuge and photograph the migrating cranes but didn’t make it in early spring. I’m going to try for early autumn. Love the capture of the white-tailed deer. :)

    Like

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