Bullfrogs in November?

Sunday, November 5, 2017,

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Bullfrogs in November? On Long Island? It’s a world gone mad. Or warm at any rate. This has been an amazingly mild Autumn here on Long Island. There are still Monarch Butterflies fluttering about that should have been on their way to warmer climes weeks ago and just two days ago I came across a pond full of frogs. I was walking through Morton Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor when I came across these two handsome brutes and several of their friends in a small pond. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I mean, who would expect to find frogs sunning themselves this far north this late in the season? Heck, it’s not even their season. I went to Morton to look for turkeys, not frogs. I didn’t find any of the turkeys so I guess I’m happy to have seen the frogs. Happy, but a little confused. JK

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JK

 

Tiny Terrapin

Tuesday, April 18, 2017,

This is a Diamondback Terrapin. A brand new one. Handsome little beastie, no?

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These pics were taken almost a year ago at Sunken Meadow State Park. (Yeah, I’m still behind on my posts). It was the start of a good day. I didn’t know that yet, or rather, I didn’t know how good it was going to to be. I did know that it was a fine morning to be walking the beach and maybe for taking some decent pics. It was late May and I was enjoying a morning before the sweaty days of summer here on Long Island. I couldn’t know it yet, but before my visit was through I’d get some fairly decent shots of a Piping Plover patrolling the beach. Not to mention these pics.

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When I came across this little one – (check out the photo below to see how tiny he was) – I was looking to take pics and video of the hundreds, heck, maybe thousands of Fiddler Crabs that inhabit this little spit of land when I noticed this guy booking away right beneath my feet. I very nearly stepped on him. I failed, completely, to get anything useful of the Fiddler Crabs that day, but just look at what I did get. You can never know what you’re going to find when you step out the door.  

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All we need to do is take that step. Just look and see what’s waiting for us. This and other little wonders are out there every day.  JK

Yuri: Now and Then

Thursday, August 11, 2016,

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Meet Yuri. Handsome brute, no? Or lass, nobody really knows and it doesn’t matter. Yuri is the Bullfrog that has taken up residence at a local artist’s backyard pond. Now, admittedly, a Bullfrog claiming a pond is not front page news but Yuri is the first frog of any species to make a home in this pond in the seventeen years since it was built. The pond has finally been discovered. The top pic is a shot of Yuri at the end of July. This next shot was taken two months earlier, when he was still just a pup. It’s hard to see from these two pics but July Yuri could have swallowed May Yuri whole. My, they do grow quickly. JK

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JK

A Night Heron Hangout

Saturday, August 31, 2013,

In my previous post I mentioned seeing fourteen Black-crowned Night Herons behind the Old Grist Mill in Stony Brook. Here are twelve of them. I was shooting with a long lens and it was impossible to capture the whole lot in one shot. Missing here are the adult featured in my prior post and an immature bird that was feeding nearby. I have very little doubt that even more of these guys were congregating along Mill Creek as it leads to Stony Brook Harbor.

This is not a pic that I would ordinarily publish because, well, it’s not very good. But folks both here and on Facebook have expressed an interest in seeing it so here it is. As usual, click on the pic to view a larger version. It’ll make it easier to count the birds.

What I don’t really understand is why so many of these birds are adults. I only see two immature birds in this lot. The younger birds are those which are mostly brown, while the adult plumage is largely black and white. I would expect to find more young birds, especially at this time of year. When I see these guys on the Nissequogue River the ratio between between adult and immature birds is much more even. I imagine that there are features of Mill Creek that draw more adult or experienced Night Herons whereas the Nissy offers more of a family atmosphere. Maybe it’s easier to learn how to fish on the Nissequogue. Or, perhaps the Nissy makes for a better training ground for up and coming herons. I really don’t know. Look, I just take the pictures, even these lousy ones. JK

Northern Shovelers

December 2, 2012,

One of my responsibilities as photographer for the Four Harbors Audubon Society is coming up with a bird of the month for our website. One of my fellow board members suggested a winter duck so I went to Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket. This park is terrific for waterfowl. The two ponds here attract a wide variety of wintering birds. One can find all kinds of ducks here. For a photographer it can be like shooting fish in a barrel or ducks on a – well, you get my point.

These are pics of a pair of Northern Shovelers. Check out those bills. They’re bigger than the rest of their heads! It’s no wonder that these birds tend to keep their bills pointed down. The real wonder is how they manage to stay upright at all.

My friend Elaine says, “Gotta love that bill!” and my friend Luci once described it as a “wonderful adaptation”. Meanwhile, these are the ducks that had to sit by themselves in the high school cafeteria.

All kidding aside, those bills really are amazing. That over-sized shnozz  is used to sieve edible matter – be it zooplankton, crustaceans, or seeds from the water. This gives these guys a one-up on the other dabbling ducks that visit us, even if they do look like mutant Mallards. JK