Conowingo – March 2019

My husband and I made the trek up to Conowingo Dam last weekend. The water was high and laden with silt (although not quite as high as the last time we were there).

The trip was a success as soon as we got there: a bald eagle was preening in a tree next to the parking lot. I took some traditional portraits.

Then I zoomed in on the talons.

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At one point the eagle did a little dance on the branch (watch the feet)!

One of the other photographers told me about the nest up in the right tower across the river from the wharf where we were. It is on the narrow platform below the top of the tower. I zoomed in and saw sticks that are probably one side of the nest but no birds coming or going.

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There were cormorants fishing in the rapidly moving water although I didn’t see any successful catches.

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I did manage a sequence of a cormorant flying low over the water.

Overall it was a good spring outing – warm enough that we didn’t need out coats!

Zooming – January 2019

I have a bigger than usual group of images for the zooming post this month – primarily from a trip from Florida last week. They’ll be more details in posts coming out over the next few weeks. So sit back and enjoy the slide show. It only includes one snow picture!

Conowingo Dam

Back in December we made a trek to Conowingo Dam. The dam was generating electricity and the spillways were open. The water was high and moving fast. A rainbow formed where the mist kicked up from the spillway flow. Almost all the rocks where the eagles and herons normally perch were under water!

The bridge abutment where bald eagles perched during previous visits only has a few gulls and gulls were the only birds we saw in the river too. The river was so strong that the fish were probably not making it close to the dam (when they do – when the water is not as swift – they attract all the fish-eating birds like eagles and herons and cormorants).

There was debris on the few rocks that were not covered by water and on the spit of the island containing the big electrical towers.

The lower part of the fishing park was closed because of high water.

I satisfied my self with some pictures of sycamores – seeds just above where we were standing and the white bark tracery on the other side of the river.

2018 was a record year for rain where we live and that is evidently true for much of the Susquehanna watershed as well. We’ll have to wait to go again when it hasn’t rained for a few weeks and the fishing will be good for the eagles at the dam.

Cormorant at Conowingo

We didn’t see as many cormorants as eagles last weekend at Conowingo – but we saw one just as it caught a fish and then focus on swallowing it over the next 3-4 minutes. The fish was probably the maximize size the bird could swallow! But it finally did…letting the river move it downstream as it got the meal down. The last picture shows it moving upstream. Surely it wasn’t ready for another fish!

We didn’t see any Great Blue Herons last weekend. They are probably around but very focused on keeping their eggs warm. This is the time of year that both herons and eagles would be laying eggs and incubating them. I saw an article about one of the eaglets in a nest near Washington DC had already hatched.

I almost always take a picture of the Paulownia tree near the parking lot. The velvety buds have not opened yet. I noticed a larger tree near the water than I had not noticed before. It’s harder to photograph but I might try next time.

Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam

Last weekend we got up early and headed to Conowingo Dam to photograph Bald Eagles. We go there about 30 minutes after sunrise and saw eagles in the trees next to the parking lot at the Conowingo Fisherman’s Park. There were two eagles in the trees near where we parked…along with a black vulture.

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Both types of birds were enjoying the bright sunlight on the cold morning.

There were other birds on the opposite side of the river….too far way for good pictures.

It seemed at first that there wasn’t going to be much action. Then one of the eagles took off.

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It flew out over the river swooped down and came up with a fish!

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It flew back to almost where it had been before…and started to enjoy the meal.

Then a second eagle appeared and wanted a share of the fish. My husband tried to take pictures of the tussle that ensued. The eagle with the fish is above the challenger in this picture. I just stood and watched.

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Tomorrow’s post will feature a Cormorant at Conowingo.

Ten Little Celebrations – January 2018

This month was mostly cold…mostly spent at home…but I easily found lot of little celebrations!

I celebrated the model trains at Brookside…on the very last day of the exhibit – January 1. I enjoyed volunteering to help the exhibit run smoothly…and experiencing the trains through the eyes of the children.

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I made a lot of progress on the collection of botanical prints eBooks area of my website. I am adding to the list of links as I work back through the annual lists of books I read/browsed…picking out the ones that contained botanical prints. So far, the books I found from 2013-2017 are listed – each with a link to the free eBook and a sample image. I celebrated the beauty of the botanical prints the whole time I worked on the collection…and may have the ones from 2012 ready later today.

We had some very cold days early in January and I celebrated my well-stocked pantry, freezer and refrigerator – as I stayed warm at home!

The were three Winter Wellness sessions this January hosted by Howard County Conservancy for their volunteers. Each included a lecture and hike…worth celebrating.

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Conowingo was not as scenic for birds as it has been at times in the past…but the ice on the rocks and railings was worth seeing. I enjoyed being out and about….maybe that was more what I was celebrating.

I had a cold earlier in the month – so of course I celebrated as soon as a started feeling better.

In November I got my box of Foldscopes and was so busy I didn’t put one together until recently. I was pleased to finally do it…celebrated my origami-type success with the pieces and my initial results.

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My area of Maryland has been very dry. We’ve only had dustings of snow…but we had a day recently that is rained gently for most of the day. We needed the moisture….and I celebrated that it came in an easy-to-handle form.

I had a dental appointment as was pleased that I had no cavities! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a new one and I celebrate after each appointment.

I started out on my weekly grocery shopping drive and notice the sunrise over our CSA buildings. I pulled off the road to take a picture. It was a good way to celebrate the day’s beginning.

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Conowingo in January – part 2

The day we went to Conowingo was part of a warming trend – but it was still cold enough that ice coated any wet surfaces. The fishing pier was gated off and there were signs saying there would be no fishing because of a toxic spill…so the ice forming from the spray on the railings was undisturbed.

Further out in the water – any rocks or small trees near or in the water because a framework for ice formation.

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The rocks along the back were coated. Very little of the ice was totally smooth. It hung in icicles and knotted into pebbly textures that looked a little like bubble wrap!

I was glad that the day was sunny and relatively calm; my winter gear did a good job of keeping me comfortably warm. We stopped for lunch on the way home. Next time we’ll go earlier to (hopefully) see more of the eagles while they are still hungry for breakfast! I wondered where the Great Blue Herons were since we usually see a few of them. Both the herons and eagles will start their nesting cycle soon.

Conowingo in January – part 1

My husband and I chose and sunny day …. Headed north to Conowingo Dam one morning last week. We hoped the day would be good for seeing the bald eagles. It was a bit of a disappointment: the birds all stayed on the far side of the river – seemingly even further away than usual, there were not very many of them, and the sky was hazy rather than blue. The gulls and cormorants (and maybe some ducks) were too far away as well.

I turned my camera to other things. The Princess Tree had velvety buds.

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There was a small stand of trees near the edge of water that had quite a load of ice; I wondered if it would survive.

An old stump was deteriorating near the fishing pier. I thought part of it looked like a one-eyed owl looking out of the decaying wood.

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There was an oak leaf covered with salt that had been liberally scattered on the sidewalk.

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There were not many sycamore balls…last spring was not conducive to seed production in our area. This one does not look like it has been discovered by seed loving birds either.

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Tomorrow – I’ll write about the ice at Conowingo.

Gleanings of the Week Ending October 21, 2017

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

What’s With That Dam? : The National Wildlife Federation – We got to Conowingo to see bald eagles….so I was interested in learning more about it. Evidently - the dam’s current impact on the Chesapeake Bay is not a positive one.

On Bee-ing – Cool Green Science – About the Minnesota Bee Atlas.

Stunning Video Captures Humpback Whales Catching Fish with Nets of Bubbles | Smart News | Smithsonian – I’d heard of this phenomenon but the video is still thrilling! Well work the 40 seconds!

How honeybees read the waggle dance -- ScienceDaily – The field trip the Howard County Conservancy does for 3rd graders includes a segment on the waggle dance….so I read this article to find out more about it….both the history of its discovery and the current research on the neurons responding to the dance.

Bathtub Bloodbath, 1793 | The Scientist Magazine® - A famous painting of Jean-Paul Marat murdered in his bath…what he was before his revolutionary activities.

Adaptation as Acceptance: Toward a New Normal in the Northwoods – Cool Green Science – Forests are changing – with climate change and invasive insects like emerald ash borer and woolly adelgid culling some trees that were, until recently, common in our forests. There is a grief for those lost trees that will not make a comeback. This article is about finding hope via adaptation. The forest will be different…but still forest.

Meet the Transgenic Silkworms That Are Spinning out Spider Silk | The Scientist Magazine® - Spider silk combines elasticity and strength but has been difficult to produce. Now the fiber is produced by silkworms and the increased availability makes it viable for a host of applications. It will be interesting to observe how the market develops.

Treetop Walkway Provides an Elevated Path Through Danish Forest – What an awesome way to observe a forest!

National Mall and Memorial Parks – Hope the laser ablation of the biofilm on the Jefferson Memorial works as well as the test spot. The dome has gotten a lot grayer over the years from ‘biofilm.’

Seeing Big Changes in Baltimore: The National Wildlife Federation Blog – Hurray for the schools and students in Baltimore provided wildlife habitat!