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Birds and water tend to go together, but farther inland sometimes

you see captivating sights, birds exotic to me.

Rivers and lakes have these elongated birds. For the best photos of herons . . . a blog devoted entirely to these birds, check out babsje heron blog.  I’ve been reading it for years. 

The graceful birds get scared up as you approach and squawk, but then they land in a place you’ll scare them up again and again, and they squawk each time.

 

Ducks . . . nope these pekins are not wild…. ewie, lewie, and dewy . . 

Here’s my most interesting sighting recently. 

My guess is a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron.

This one was making his way along the rocks at the Narrows,

paying very close attention to the guy with the camera. 

All photos, the guy with the camera, WVD, who believes no one can spend time near or on the water and NOT develop an interest in birds.

Related:  I’ve not seen them, but this summer roseate spoonbills have frequently Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in central New York west of Syracuse.  See a photographer’s photos here

Montezuma scenes have appeared on tugster here

Six years ago today, truckster was spawned here.  I’ve had fun with that, and if I see more old mobile or formerly mobile hardware along the ways, I’ll still stop and look closer.  By the way, any guesses on the make and year?  Answer is at the end of this post.

But all things must change . . .  especially when a for-the-birds idea turns into a dux nightmare, and gigantic ones start poking out of the fog.  Maybe this blog could focus on poultry a la duxster?

Do I want to go on with this, or should I let

sleeping muscovites just sleep . . . and sleep elsewhere?

Or a formal dress blog called tuxster?  With all the memes post-Ever Given, how about a blockage blog called stuckster?

Nah . .  . I’ll stick to tugster.  Count the tugs here?  Maybe we’ll reprise this busy photo

in tomorrow’s post.  For now . . .  that old truck is NOT a voltswagen . . . .

It’s a derelict 1938 Ford.

All photos . .  and lame humor, WVD.

See you at the parade today!

Here are the birds.  Now what’s the rest of the story?

Part of the story is told by these flags, US courtesy, German registry, and is that a pilot flag?

She was large for a 2008 container ship:  1098′ x 140′ with a capacity of 8606 teu.

 

I’d love to know more about accessing that lifeboat, given the cargo configuration.

And where are the birds?

 

Doubleclick on that last photo to see the closeup . . . you can almost hear the excitement!

All photos, WVD.

 

The water and its edges are good places to see birds;  that’s the origin of this series.

The next six photos were taken in August 1997, almost 25 years ago.  I post them now because I recently learned some new info, which pertains to the gentleman in brown (driving the boat and bearded and sunglasses) and his father, carrying the umbrella and US flag in the next photo, who claimed to own the island where we landed.  Look at the photo and get a sense of where I might have been that day back in August 1997.

The building to the left is a lighthouse. The anchored boat above and the flag are clues.  Where is this?

Yup, that’s me in a dark blind peering through an opening at . . .

puffins,

 

literally thousands of puffins.  In those days I had a film camera, as did everyone, with very little if any zoom.   I say that to underscore the fact that the puffins were on the rocks just beyond the blind.  More on this place and my guides at the end of this post. 

If you do FB, you may have seen this photo before, a young Cooper’s hawk.  I took the photo on Long Island.    Yes, it was tormenting a backyard bird feeder, which is how I saw it after it buzzed the feeder at speeds I’d seen no other bird flying.

Recently along the KVK, this heron landed quite close to me.  It may have confused my cold, motionless form for driftwood along the shore there. Note the black crown and head plumes.

The specialized chest feathers seem almost like a cape here.

After several minutes of sitting near me, it raised its wings

and flew over to the Bayonne side…  for better prey on the other side of the river, I suppose.

So here’s the puffin story.  The boat was then called Chief.  The owners stressed that it’d never been fished, and it was the conveyance by a puffin tour operated out of Jonesport ME by the Norton family–Barna with the beflagged umbrella and his son John driving the tender.   The island is Machias Seal Island, a disputed “grey zone” US or Canadian territory.  When I took the trip, Barna Norton, then 82 years old, said with utmost confidence that he owned the island, having inherited it by virtue of having been the first descendant of lobsterman “big” Barney Beal to bear his name.  John, Barna’s son, was mostly quiet on the trip, leaving his long-winded but fascinating father to tell all the tales . .  the helicopter incident, the dead terns, his 6’7″ namesake, and more.  If you never read links on this blog, you must read this one . . . with the title of “The Man who went to war with Canada,” that man being Barna Norton.

A story not in the linked article that I remember relates to Barna’s son, John, again told by Barna.  A border enforcer against all comers, John was noted in the USCG days in Alaska as having boarded a Russian fishing trawler at gunpoint to inform the captain of that vessel that they had been fishing in undisputed US waters. 

All photos, WVD, who can’t vouch that tours on the island now via Barbara Frost, which might be Chief under new ownership, would be a Barna value-added added puffin tour, but the puffins (and their chainsaw-like sounds in a rookery) are a real treat.  That link has a recording of one;  imagine about 3000 puffins making that sound simultaneously.

 

The NY Media Boat has a pick up point in Manhattan, but I chose to board the boat at Liberty Landing in Jersey City, where this view of lower Manhattan awaits. From here, our goal was almost 20 nm away, even though we’d not take the shortest route.  Some tasks call for efficient and direct routes, and other tasks crave scenic, gunk-hole exploration routes.

This was the goal, the station boat, in this case Pilot No. 1 New York. Of course,  “on station” may not be at anchor, rather it might be steaming slow circles or figure eights in the vicinity of the entrance to Ambrose Channel, with an America class boat ready to deliver pilots between ships and the station boat.   This is entirely stating the obvious, but standing on shore, you may not be able to see the station boat; however, from the station boat, you can clearly see a large city spread out before you.  Obviously, you can’t see the tidal zone of the beach  . .  and more . . .  because of the curvature of the earth.  At one point, an Ambrose lightship was in this vicinity.

Our actual goal was the “A” buoy, aka the “sea buoy,” which marks the “sea” end of Ambrose Channel.   Note the green patina “whistle” in the lower half of the buoy;  it makes a sighing tone as water motion pressures air through it. Click here to hear a variety of buoy noises.   Here‘s another view of the type.  By the way, in the image below, that’s the station boat in the distance, the white speck to the right of the buoy.

But all that is not the story.  See the bird “swimming” to the right of the A buoy?  Well, it was trapped, tangled in discarded fishing line. 

This turned into the adventure.  Click on the image . . . and you’ll see the rescue and hear the sounds, including the buoy whistle and VHF crackle.  That’s Bjoern at the helm and then carrying the bird after I cut the main line.  I’m the guy with the white hat and knife. 

The gull’s body and right leg had been entangled in the line.   What this photo doesn’t show is the blood on Bjoern’s foot and my hand.  Gulls have a reputation for biting the hands that disentangle it . . .  as reward for saving them from certain death by starvation.   Oh well, you’ve seen blood before, and salt water heals everything.

Here’s closeup of some of that line.

Click on the clip below for the context of the video.   By the way, the footage comes from the in-cabin CCTV camera.

Many thanks to Bjoern at the Media Boat for the views from “sea” and the adventure. 

Photos, unless otherwise credited, WVD.

PS:  If you’re looking for food ideas for tomorrow, that gull was plump as a small turkey, given all the bunker out there.  And if you are spending T’day on a vessel and feel like it, send me a photo of your table, give me some info, and I’ll do a post about that.  I know this book  is out of date, so classics live on and maybe it needs to be updated.

I’m thankful we have so much to be thankful for every day.

This post (number 4650+) may stay front and center for a few days because I’ve left my desk, seated myself, precariously, on an unmotorized bike, and am (I hope) making some speed from the western end of the Erie Canal to the eastern one.  I started pedaling Sunday morning from Tonawanda, not Saturday as I’d initially planned.  I expect I’ll see some morning fog as is often to be found in the corridor this time of year.  Yes, I’ll be taking photos along the way.  Some photos I’ve posted on FB directly from my phone, or put up later if there’s wifi.  An observation though . . .  when you’re biking, trying to maintain a steady speed, it takes much more motivation to stop that momentum to get the camera out of the bag and take a photo.

The October 14, 2020 calendar photos I took in Amsterdam NY.  It turns out that we tied up facing the Riverkeeper boat, R. Ian Fletcher on the wall just above lock 11, which, had it been clear, you’d easily see.

No matter what time you’ve planned a morning Canal departure, you might not actually move until the fog lifts, of course unless your have working radar.

Grande Mariner‘s radar had to be folded down during a Canal transit to clear the low bridges.

In the landcut portions of the canal, in autumn mornings you see scenes like these.  I have to write it . . . eerie canal.

Sentinels with lethal force  work the locks and

keep watch from the dead trees.

Once I can from a technological perspective, I’ll put images on FB, maybe even here.  This is “making it up as I go along.”

Beef on weck, white hots, tomato pies, ghost bread, and other blandishments along the Canal Trail will be devoured with thanks.  Today I’m in Syracuse area on plan to get some greens even though I’m not yet in Utica.  My goals are as follows:  Rome tomorrow, Little Falls Friday, Amsterdam Saturday, and Waterford Sunday . . .  but that’s ambitious!

All photos, WVD, who hopes to be back at this desk in less than two weeks.

Slater, later, but for now . . . birds!

If I could paint a picture of these elegant BB red old English bantams strutting around my brother’s garage, I’d put it on my wall.

If ever there was a bird that deserves to inspire a cartoon figure with swagger, the oyster catcher should be right near the top of the list.

If I appeared as a threat to this mallard, he certainly did not let on.

Caption time:  “Hey you, mister paint prepper, you call this sanded, primed, re-sanded enough for paint application?  You are delusional!@@#  a-doodle-doo.”

“It’s a mussel, stupid.  So this muck makes it tastier.”

(thinking) “Don’t move, honey, but there’s a pervert with a camera over there taking our picture.  If he doesn’t stop, I’ll fly over and ruffle his puny feathers.”

Interpretation:  Keeping 360 degree watch for the fox but missing the hawk.

Oyster catcher olympic running race.

The trio analyzing what improvements to make in the garage.

Your turn . .  caption or interpretation.

All photos, WVD.

I hope this post elucidates what goes on in this photographer’s mind while taking photos, and later at home–in my own type of darkroom–while examining the “catch,” so to speak.

I’d seen these mergansers swim by while I was waiting for a ship.

Two minutes after that . . . in my zoom, I could make out these three tugs, clearly prepared and on their way to meet the same ship.  The mental connection, obviously, was the sets of three, patterns.

A single merganser and

a single tugboat, objectively, have no connection.  The connection is only in the photographer’s brain.

It would not surprise you either if I confessed to seeing the paint protector sheet on the tug fendering as mimicking the face masks that have become ubiquitous in my neighborhood.

 

Photos and tangential thoughts, WVD.

 

Whatzit?  Or, howzit?

It’s just a male bufflehead caught in mid-dive.  This is the winter bird of the sixth boro . . . Hmm . . .  maybe we need a whole set of sixth boro symbols.  I’m open to your suggestions for tree, rock, beverage, flag . . .  the works . .

Sometimes while sitting by the bay, motionless and deep in thought, I am approached by birds doing what they do quite nearby, like this one of a set of mourning doves,

this great blue heron I snuck up on,

and even these ring-billed gulls seen this way and

that.

I could be wrong about some of these identifications, but I’d call this a common loon in winter plumage. Several times I’ve seen these but heard the crazy loon sounds that serve as confirmation.  Ever wonder what a dozen and a half loons together sound like?   Ever wonder what a humans soundlike to loons?  Sorry, I can’t help with the loon perspective.  Of course, there are people who speak like birds . . .

 

And in mid-February this year I saw a whole tree full of these robins, coming up north in a flock early because maybe they knew as the woodchuck did that winter would be mild.

I started with a bufflehead, and as a reminder that I’m open to suggestions for natural symbols of the sixth boro.

All photos, WVD, whose previous birds and critters posts can be found in those links.

Ships with bird names seem plentiful this year.  Recall One Ibis, ONE Apus, ONE Stork, CM CGM AquilaOyster Catcher, NYK Falcon, NYK Crane… I could go on.   In the past months and not posted here, I’ve seen tankers like BW Raven and Yasa Flamingo, Yasa Hawk and Yasa Swan…,

but this guy, a bufflehead, photographed on November 28, is a sign of winter.

Mergansers, too, show here when the leaves fall.

This was my favorite “attitude bird” from last summer.

Birds like this gull eat well.

Transiting the Canal upstate and navigating the Hudson, I look for these guys.

Both eagles and ospreys announce themselves, and I hear them before I see them.

My favorite birds this year were of herons, like this guy by a Canal dam,

peaceful until we spooked him and he took off.

 

These guys have no manners.

And maybe you can help me identify this unusual bird that swam a river in front of our boat . . ..

This specimen appears to be related to this one . . . with proturberances from his head and swimming in the same waters.

Call this a post showing what else I see when I’m out;  all photos by Will Van Dorp, who rarely goes out sans camera. Why would I when there’s always the possibility of spotting a mermaid . . .

If you love birds and herons, specifically, check out babsje’s page here. On FB, check out tug44’s Fort Edward Wildlife Magazine and find out what Fred’s been up to.

And finally, here‘s a heart-warming NYC land bird story about a rooster found by a good samaritan and named Elizabeth Warhen.

It’s already the second day of a new year, and boats and birds plentiful populate the boro.

 

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