A Chickadee at Morton Refuge

Wednesday, March 29, 2017,

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This is a pair of shots of a Black-capped Chickadee I saw at the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge in Noyack. I took these pics almost a year ago. They’re just two in a bunch that I never got around to posting. I may have been slow in showing them to you folks but they are certainly worth sharing. Also, I really like Chickadees. Cute little critters, aren’t they? JK.

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A Bobby Vinton Titmouse

Sunday, March 25, 2012,

Here are a couple of shots of another Tufted Titmouse I encountered at Morton Refuge. These guys are generally gray or slate-colored but in this light, this one almost appears to be blue. These are very engaging little birds, only marginally larger than Chickadees, but a bit shyer. Still, once they give you a good once-over, (sometimes it’s a twice-over), they are one of the species of birds that will accept sunflower seeds from your hand at Morton. That such fragile beings could come to trust creatures such as us is, to me, nothing less than amazing. JK


A Bird In Hand

Tuesday, March 20, 2012,

This is the magic of the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor. This is a pic that requires no words. But I’m gonna bore you anyways.

The refuge has a lot to offer. Two very-well maintained trails take you through several unique habitats including a mixed hardwood forest, freshwater wetlands, saltwater marshes, upland fields, and even a beach that straddles both Little Peconic and Noyack Bays. These varied habitats attract a wide variety of species. One stands a very good chance of seeing some seldom glimpsed critters like deer, pheasants, and turkeys in their natural element. In all seasons, Morton is a birder’s hotspot. Migrating waterfowl, warblers, and numerous other birds either visit the refuge or stay here all year round.

All very cool stuff, mind you, especially to a guy like me. But Morton’s real draw, her very real magic, is the trust that the local birds show in us bipeds. Come bearing sunflower seeds and extend your open palm with this simple gift, and birds small enough to fit in your closed fist – don’t do that, by the way – will alight on your hand, select a seed, and fly off to enjoy its prize. I’ve been visiting Morton for more years than I had hair and having a bird land on my hand never gets old. Ever. JK  

More Turkey Shots

Friday, March 9, 2012,

A few days back a good friend of mine told me that I needed to post some “pretty” turkey shots. He felt that “people with little outdoor experience, especially kids, are going to consider wild turkeys as hideous, even frightening.” I, myself, thought that the turkey in the previous post was pretty good looking. In fact, I thought those shots were the best of the turkey shots I took that day, but he insisted that I should consider myself an educator through my photography. So, in an effort to not put anyone off their next turkey dinner, here are two more turkey shots I took at Morton Refuge.

These shots are of two different birds in the same extended bachelor flock. Up close, each turkey is different from the others. While the bachelors in the group appear very similar to each other from a distance, there are discernable differences. Body size is one. Some are bigger than others. Beard size is another. The beard is that tuft of feathers sticking out near the center of their chests. The real differences, however, are above (and including) the neck. So many magnificent variations on ugly. So ugly, in fact, that like Snapping Turtles, they are beautiful. Just one man’s opinion. JK


A Gobbler Up Close

Saturday, March 3, 2012,

I was out east a few days back, ostensibly to help a friend deliver an armoire to Bridgehampton. He didn’t really need my help but it gave us an excuse to check possible kayak launch sites and stop in at Morton Refuge. I was hoping to see some turkeys. I had seen four during my last visit at the start of the year but I failed to get any decent pics. I had some better luck this time. During our hike at Morton we came across the same bachelor group twice. All males, hence the name bachelor group, they were foraging in an open field when we first encountered them. A bit later on we saw them again, this time in a wooded area. These shots, both of the same bird, were taken there. These pics may also explain why turkeys have segregated flocks.  Think about it. If you were a turkey hen, would you want to look at that all year round? It’s amazing that the males are willing to hang out with each other. Maybe it’s a case of misery loving company. Or, perhaps, here is an example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I can’t speak for others but, in my mind’s eye, there few things more beautiful than a turkey on the Thanksgiving table. Yes, I realize I’ve drifted off topic but when I think turkey, I think Thanksgiving. Yum. JK