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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.

 

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.

 

I haven’t used this title in half a decade, but today I couldn’t resist. JRT waited at the Staten Island side of the VZ.

But so were the geese, the brants.

Lots of them.

As well as the gulls.

James D joined JRT as an escort gull whizzed overhead.

Now you see it?

Now?

Jonathan C meets NYK Blue Jay!!

More birds soon.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

A news story I read this morning prompts this continuing of the critters series.  I link to the story at the end of this post.  All the following photos I’ve taken since September, and filed away until I feel there’s a story.   Let’s start here in a New Jersey marsh creek,

cr4

go to the North Fork,

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the KVK,

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more of the KVK,

cr1

still more there,

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and finally to the freshwater in the Erie Canal.

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cr99c

 

So here’s the story about a laker captain and his floating forests  . . . .  Click here for more info on part of Pittsburgh Steamship Division fleet.

All critter photos by Will Van Dorp.

These photos I took over three different days as we entered Oswego and then overnighted in Amsterdam, NY . . .  that is.

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Robert S. Pierson arrived after we did, discharged over a dozen thousand tons of salt, and left soon after dawn.

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A horseshoe dam at Minetto was swollen.

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The morning departing Sylvan Beach was

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red, a warning, and yes it rained much of the day.

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Dredging went on near Rome–BB 153, T2, and Hydraulic Dredge No. 5.

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And at Utica, the was T4 and the dragon (?) dredge.

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There were two eagles in this tree, but they refused to fit nicely in a single frame.

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Will Van Dorp took all these photos.

 

 

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All photos here were taken between the east side of Oneida Lake and Seneca Falls.  In the row of buildings behind the boat in the photo above, there is wifi, as well as laundry machines and clean hot showers.  I counted about a dozen eagles–of all ages–along the waterway.

Most of the previous birds posts have been in winter .  . except this one.  I find birds one of the joys of winter.  So on the last day of winter, rather than go out and get rainy/sleet fotos, enjoy these.

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Two Brants discuss the approaching Hayward and the distancing Prominent Ace escorted in by Ron G.

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Mergansers are always a joy.

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Here a flock of them discuss the passing B. Franklin Reinauer.

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Buffleheads are indicator species for me that winter is upon us.

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Mallard female?

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It’s time for winter to retreat . . . .

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Check out the name plate . . . Davis Sea.  Yup, it’s THAT Davis Sea as captured less than a week ago by John Skelson.  Two months ago, I got a foto of Davis Sea looking like this (third foto down).

And from Pam Hepburn, THIS is what I spotted alongside Linda G, back in mid-February.  It’s a Kori pontoon marsh buggy, working here along the Kills.

Here back at the dock, it’s transitioning from barge to terrafirma, not terra marsha.

I don’t generally go to the water to watch birds, but you can’t hang along the water long without seeing all manner of birds, solo or

in multiples or even

exponentials.  Here’s an old post about these floating featured things.  Of course, birds aren’t the only animals I see.  How about ponies

like this one?  And maybe here’s the rider

that chose to venture out solo.

And alien orbs . . . with Scott Turecamo and a turbine in the distance . . .

And then there’s HarvestDome, an ethereal orb coming to the waters this summer.  And if you want to contribute to getting this completed and afloat, click here.

Click here and here for stories on a huge piece of flotsam currently on the western Indian Ocean.

And finally, from the Argus-eyed bowsprite, what’s this?  This sailboat  . . . is it cargo or has this creative captain traded in the usual orange lifeboat for a higher-performance ride back to terra firma for a little déjeuner sur l’herbe a la Manet  should it be desired?

Happy March!  And seriously, consider chipping in some dinars or ducats to help float Harvest Dome this summer.  The link is here.

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