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Posts Tagged ‘Roosevelt Island’

Shortly after spotting the Great Egret that I featured yesterday, I caught sight of this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), almost hidden in the trees. From his perch on a fallen tree, he had a view of the grass field that opened into the marsh and seemed to be keeping watch over it.

The heron’s upright posture somehow reminded me of the sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, just a few miles away from Theodore Roosevelt Island, where I took this photo. At the Tomb, elite soldiers of The Old Guard, a US Army unit, are on duty twenty-four hours a day, keeping watch over the monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified.

It is important that we never forget the military, police, and other dedicated people who are conducting the often solitary duty of keeping us safe and free, while we are awake and while we are sleeping. During this Christmas season especially, be sure to keep in your hearts and prayers the men and women who will be on duty in distant lands, separated from their family and loved one.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I thought that all of the Great Egrets (Ardea alba) had left this area for warmer locations and haven’t seen one at my local marsh in weeks. However, I encountered one this past weekend on Theodore Roosevelt Island, a small island in the Potomac River opposite part of the District of Columbia.

Great Egret

The egret was initially foraging in a field of high grass in a marshy area of the park, as shown in image below. I tried to be as stealthy as I could as I crept bit closer to the egret, but it eventually sensed my presence and took to the air.

Great Egret

The bird circled around a little, but returned to its initial location after a very short period of time in the air.

Great Egret

I had some trouble getting in-flight shots of the egret. The changing light as the bird circled, combined with the bright white color of its body, made it tough to get a proper exposure. I liked the unusual body position of the flying egret in several of the shots well enough that I included them in this post, though I think the image of the egret on the ground is probably the one in sharpest focus.

During this transitional season, it’s fascinating to see which summer birds are still with us, which birds stop by as they migrate to more distant locations, and which ones arrive to overwinter here.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday as I was walking on Roosevelt Island, a National Park in the Potomac River,  I heard a hawk screaming loudly and realized it was pretty close to where it was.

I walked slowly and quietly toward the source of the sound and spotted this hawk almost directly above me in the trees. There were a lot of branches in the way and I had to search to find a visual tunnel to try to get an unobstructed shot of the hawk. The angle was a steep one and gave me a view of the underside of a hawk that I had never had before. In fact, I think that you can see the roof of his open mouth in the first shot.

hawk_screaming1_blog

The hawk stopped screaming for a little while and I got a shot of him with his mouth closed. It may just be the distortion caused by the steep view angle, but it seems to me that he has an awfully small beak.

hawk_screaming2_blog

I am having a little trouble identifying this hawk. At first I thought it might be a Red-Shouldered Hawk, but now I am not certain, because it doesn’t quite match any of the photos that I see on-line.  I’d appreciate any help from more experienced bird watchers in figuring out which species I photographed.

After a too short period on this branch, the bird flew off this perch and disappeared from view. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for hawks and hopefully it will be easier to spot them when the leaves fall off of the trees.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday I went shooting on Theodore Roosevelt Island, a small nature preserve in the Potomac River, just opposite Washington D.C.  that is accessible by a small bridge from the Virginia side and got this shot of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). The heron took off when I got a little too close to it.

One of the interesting problems of shooting in an urban environment is that it is hard to control the background. The long shape behind the heron is a one-man crew scull. If I hadn’t cropped the image, you would have been able to see the brightly clothed rower.

heron_potomac1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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