Sandhill Cranes

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The Sandhill Crane in flight is an awesome sight. These birds are large with very long legs and they fly with their legs straight out behind. I photographed this Adult Sandhill at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The Sandhill Cranes gather in enormous flocks in winter and forage for grain on many of the open grasslands and cornfields. They regularly use this National Wildlife Refuge as their wintering grounds. The vast numbers of Cranes are an impressive sight.

Pileated Woodpecker

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Pileated Woodpecker

I sat in my backyard with my camera, hoping an interesting subject would arrive. Suddenly this Female Pileated Woodpecker landed on a tree in the dense forest behind my house. I watched and waited for her to fly, but when she did ultimately fly, the light was too dim in the forest to capture an image. Pileated Woodpeckers don’t migrate so I expect she will return to this same tree. I will wait!

Serenade in the Driveway

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I heard this Carolina Wren singing and discovered it perched in my driveway! It let me squat down and not merely take its portrait but also experience a Serenade in my Driveway. They have a lovely repertoire of songs. These little round birds are common here in North Carolina but rarely sit out in the open and sing. I concluded he or she was serenading me in my driveway because he allowed me to sit next to him and continued to sing.

Flapping Female Wood Duck

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This Flapping Female Wood Duck appeared as if by magic and performed for me. My regular readers know I searched for years and years to spot a single Wood Duck and thought maybe they were just a myth. I finally found The Elusive Wood Duck pair to photograph in Delaware after a lot of effort and slogging through the mud. Despite their nickname of “Carolina Duck”, I could not locate a Wood Duck anywhere in North Carolina until this beautiful female.   I found her flapping her wings in a pond near the North Carolina coast. I am delighted she emerged and flapped her wings right in front of me and grateful that I had my camera.

Its Safer Underwater!

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Atlantic Puffins can fly as fast as 50 Miles Per Hour, but they can dive up to 200 feet underwater. Their wings become flippers and their feet become rudders. Puffins become like Penguins and “fly” through the water with their wings. I photographed this Atlantic Puffin landing with a battered foot on Machias Seal Island. I thought I remembered one of the University of New Brunswick researchers telling me the island is inaccessible to terrestrial predators, so I wondered how this Puffin got an injured foot. If you enlarge the image, you see that its right foot has a hole in the webbing and a claw is missing! The Black-Backed Gull is the only predator, and a Black-Backed Gull can catch a Puffin in flight mid-air!

So it is safer underwater for a Puffin!