Barred Owl on Cloudy night

April showers bring May flowers as the saying goes. So far we have experienced a lot of cloudy days and a lot of rain. One day 3-4 inches in one storm. As a result it is hard to get out to walk. There are streams going over the trails in the woods where there have not been streams before. The trails are very muddy in spots. Here’s hoping for some better weather.

Looking for a meal I am betting. The chipmunks seem easy prey. They make noises and give away their location.
Spotted me
Getting darker- bye!

These are all taken with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Good Night Owl

Good night owl!

I found this one the usual way. This was before sunset in a pine tree on a cold day. I had a hard time getting a good angle with the branches. They like to hide in pine trees this time of year when the leaves are not on the other trees yet. The owl’s mate was on a neighbouring pine tree.

One of the Owls Hooting

Straggler

This straggler missed his flight. It appears he will be the last to leave the party. He lingered at his winter abode. There were four snowy owls on the beach. On the day these pictures were taken and the previous day, he was the only owl sighted. Have his three other beach mates started their journey back to the far north Canadian Arctic?

When I arrived he flew along the shore ahead of me and landed on this tree branch. He was there when I left.

I asked him where his friends were. I told him it might be time to head north soon. I hope his internal clock works well. A fellow female photo buff told me she went later and could not find him. Did he listen to me? I doubt it. They do fly between neighbouring beach areas.

Lots of different birds in the midst of migration to catch this owl’s attention.

All these photos are taken with a long lens and cropped significantly.

About a minute. That’s all I had with this light. Before and afterwards it was dark and cloudy. It was the best minute of my day. Appreciate even small time blocks of sunshine. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Buffalo in NY

This one just wanted to give me these looks.
It makes you wonder what they are thinking.

The weather has not been ideal here. A lot of cloudy and very windy days. Get out an enjoy regardless. Don’t let less than ideal conditions hold you back.

Horse on a Country Road

What to do when trying to get over a bad cold? Stay close to home and go out for short trips. Passed by this farm today on a very rural road that I had not been on before. It was raining on and off. It did not stop this horse from enjoying the great outdoors.

He seemed to not understand why I would not come closer.
Human, just ignore the sign. Of course I followed the sign.

Have a happy week! If you are in a country where you are experiencing freedom, count your blessings.

Eastern Screech Owl

What do on your week off when you have a bad cold and don’t want to spread your germs? For me I spent the last two days of my vacation driving up and down rural roads looking at tree holes for owls.

Screech owl eyes slightly opened

One one rural road I kept hearing a call of a saw whet owl. I felt like it was teasing me. I have heard they usually hang out at our eye level, but I had no luck and was not going to walk on private property to search further. I did know the direction it was coming from.

He was enjoying the sunlight. I would think the cold wind would have bothered him though.
The photos before this one he was in the top hole. Then he went inside the tree for a few minutes and then appeared at the bottom hole. This owl has a townhouse with two decks!

On another rural road that I drove up and down searching the holes I found one occupied by a screech. Screech owls are very small. Notice they block almost the entire tree hole and blend in with the tree so they are hard to spot.

It was a very windy day and the clouds came in so the lighting conditions also were not optimal. It was hard to keep my camera steady and this was near the top of a high area. I hope to return to this spot in the future hoping the wind level is less.

When you can,

go slow and stop along the way. You never know what you will find on rural roads.

Ice Boating

Today I did something I never would have imagined or even attempted previously. I walked on the Hudson River on top of the ice. A co-worker was telling me about the ice boating near Athens, NY last winter. Since the weather was cold for several days I decided to venture up that way to see if I could catch this activity.

A man poising with his 1800s era iceboat.

I stopped locals and asked where to see ice boaters. They pointed me north of town to the boat launch. There were several people on the ice and I reasoned if they can do it, it must be safe.

Many of the boats I saw are antique and still going strong. Some were built in the 1800s. The time period when ice boating, or ice yachting was in its heyday was 1880-1910, however there are stories prior to that time frame when it is documented that ice boats were used for work or pleasure. Franklin Delano Roosevelt raced an ice boat, mainly during his university days.

Getting an assist

The weather today was ideal in some ways, but not in others. The sky was clear and it was bitter cold. This is great for ice. However, it snowed the previous day, and snow on top of ice does not appear to make good conditions for this activity. In addition, the wind was intermittent, not good for maintaining movement. When conditions are right these ice boats I am told can reach speeds of 100 miles per hour.

Moving unassisted
Sunlight direction was not always ideal
This boat had several hangers on.

There are people who walked across the river. I saw a couple walk up the river between 1/2 mile and a mile north, but not too far from shore. I try to stay on the safe side.

A kind of sled that goes on ice.
Young and old were all enjoying the ice.

Someone there said they are expecting temperatures above freezing during the day for a few days during the week, which may make for the creation or more ideal ice conditions, especially if the temperatures drop again after that and they don’t get more snow. It sounds like they only have a window of a few weeks to ice boat.

So if you want to see this, I would suggest stopping by Athens next weekend, or check out the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club website and seeing if they are on the ice. Sometimes if conditions are not good on the river they may take it to a lake. It may be cold, but seeing this rare winter sporting activity is worth it. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Sleepy Snowy Owls

What do snowy owls do during the day? Most of the time by my observations they sleep or go between sleeping and waking up. A few times I have seen them fly to catch prey. The appear to be mostly sedentary during the day.

Owl after I arrived
Start of a yawn- owl before I left
Wide open mouth next to a log

I saw two different owls this day. This is the same owl when I arrived and before I left. I was there around 4 hours, but watching them maybe less than half of the time I was there. They appear to have remained in the same locations from the time I arrived until when I left. All the photographers seemed to be respectful and keep a distance.

Nature is fascinating. Enjoy it from a distance.

Mung Kavum

What is a delicious dessert that comes from Sri Lanka that is gluten-free and dairy-free? It’s Mung Kavum.

What is Mung Kavum? It is a dessert usually made around the Sinhala Tamil New Year and other special occasions. Sinhala Tamil New Year is in April, but the owner’s of Red Pepper Diner shared it with me after the American New Year.

What are the ingredients? Some of the ingredients include: Mung Bean flour, rice flour, sugar, coconut milk and spices. It is deep fried. It is slightly sweet, but not overly sweet. It is very delicious. How it is made may vary between recipes and restaurants of course.

Where can you get this? One location is Red Pepper Diner on Route 9D in Wappingers very close to Beacon. It is worth a visit if you are travelling on I-84 near Beacon or visiting Beacon for the many shops and galleries or for DIA Beacon.

Plaid Barn

A barn in CT. The weather has not been very cooperative this year.

Plaid seems to be in for blankets, sweaters, and other clothing the past 2 years. This is the first time I have seen a barn painted in a plaid pattern. This definitely stands out. It is far from the normal worn wood or red colouring. Get out an explore! You will be surprised what you may find out there.

%d bloggers like this: