Flying High

I walk for wellness but this morning I came home with a stiff neck! I watched wave after wave of geese flying high and with purpose, all moving in a northerly direction. Three or four thousand birds passed overhead in an hour, many of them so high they were more easily heard than seen, dark specs strung out across the puffy white clouds.

Some flocks were Canada Geese…

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while others were Snow Geese.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Scenes, Near and Far

Red Oak leaves in the morning sun

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An aging Sugar Maple tree. Well beyond its economic prime, but priceless as a visual resource

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The third, and final, cutting of hay for the season

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The colors and contrasts of dairy farms, active and abandoned

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The Hunter’s Supermoon, a rare October treat!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Summer Scenes in Farm Country

Most of my travels take me through rural areas where dairy farms still dominate the landscape. These are priceless visual and ecological resources that attract and support diverse wildlife populations as well as livestock.

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Pigeons and crows are permanent residents, usually seen foraging on waste grain in harvested fields or in spread manure.

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Once or twice a week I sit in the evening near a field of corn, oats or hay to observe wildlife. Most evenings there is a predictable sequence of visitors, starting with groundhogs, does and fawns.

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Small flocks of geese glide into cut hay fields throughout the evening.

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Bucks, especially the seasoned veterans, arrive as the sun leaves the fields and camera gear is nothing more than extra weight.

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The last light of the evening, in the clouds. Somewhere below the cloud, in an open field on the highest hilltop, was the dark silhouette of a huge buck. It was his time.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Cold and Snowy Highlights from Central New York

Winter landscapes are uniquely beautiful and dynamic. They also convey the environmental dramas that unfold, for better or worse, as animals respond to subnormal temperatures and deepening snow cover.

These images are a modest and heavily biased sample of winter scenes in Central New York captured February 8 – 13, 2015. Temperatures were well below freezing and average snow depth was about 20 inches.

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Everyone’s favorite winter companion: Black-capped Chickadee

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Clearing deep snow from a windmill access road

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Red Squirrel emerging from its protective tunnel beneath deep snow

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Farmland

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Red Squirrel, on full alert

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Hay bales (poly-wrapped round bales)

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Deer feeding and grooming in deep snow

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Frosty morning in the hills

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Mature doe, with her two fawns nearby

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Clear, Cold and Frosty!

The regional weather report often forecasts “lower temperatures and more snow at higher elevations to the south and east”. That would be us. However, this morning was an exception: a beautiful, heavy layer of frost rather than snow. I headed for the hills to soak it all in.

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Huge frost crystals on a roadside weed

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.