Spring Scenes and Winter Landscapes

A rainy, overcast day with dirty snow and mud seems like a good time to reflect on the month of March and illustrate early spring in Central New York. I’ll emphasize wet places and some of the birds that frequent them.

HoodedMerg20Mar17#3938E5c5x7

Hooded Merganser

RingNeckDucks23Mar17#4207E2c5x7

Canada Goose and a pair of ring-necked ducks

Geese21Mar17#3966E2c3x5

Canada geese grazing in a farm field

Killdeer18Mar17#3789E3c5x7

Killdeer grooming at a spring seep

Mallards21Mar17#3957E7c5x7

A pair of mallards under the reflection of deep snow

GBHeron23Mar17#4247E9c8x10

Great Blue Heron over ice and Canada geese on open water

SnowGooseCG18Mar17#3806E5c4x6

A solitary Snow Goose in a flock of Canada geese

SnowGeese26Mar17#4573E9c4x6

Migrating snow geese above farm fields, refueling on waste grain

Photos by NB Hunter, March 2017. ©All Rights Reserved.

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Ring-necked Ducks in Early Spring

Ring-necked Ducks are common in late winter and during migration. I often see them in small flocks on wooded lakes and reservoirs, resting or diving for submerged plant and animal life. Unlike most other diving ducks, small, shallow ponds and wetlands are also suitable habitat. Yesterday I watched two pairs loafing and feeding on a farm pond that was less than 150 feet across.

RingNeckedDucks12Apr13#049E

 

RingNeckedDuck3E

The male is not particularly colorful. However, the smooth, glossy appearance, sharp lines, and contrasting black, white and pale gray plumage are quite appealing and very useful for field identification.

RingNeckedDuck1Apr11#6E5

RingNeckedDuck1Apr13#9E5

All photos by NB Hunter

Evening Light

It’s spring but the cold, snowy weather suggests otherwise. Sunlight is a precious commodity right now. When it looked like evening light might work its way through occasional gaps in the cloud cover, I decided to battle cabin fever with a “scenic drive” on secondary roads near home, hoping to capture something special. There were plenty of surprises and ephemeral moments. These were my favorites.

CloudsWindmill1Apr13#097E

Windmill in evening light

Geese30Mar13#147E

Canada Geese

GBHeron1Apr13#103E

Great Blue Heron

RingNeckedDucks1Apr13#159E

Ring-necked Ducks (1 of 2)

RingNeckedDucks1Apr13#161E

CommonMerg1Apr13#130E

Common Merganser, male

CommonMerg1Apr13#127E

Common Merganser, female

All photos by NB Hunter