Birding at the arboretum

March 13, 2009

Thursday afternoon was chilly and overcast, but still comfortable enough for an outing at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU in Harrisonburg.

Initially, ducks and squirrels seemed to be the only things out, but I soon saw a large form sweeping over the lake. It was a heron, possibly a great blue heron (Ardea herodias). In an unexpected move, he perched high in the canopy of some trees and I was able to make some images. He then moved to another and I continued shooting a bit before he took off.


Maneuvering into an appropriate location to shoot things in high elevations is difficult at best and impossible at worst. I don’t think I’ll include this image in the book, but it was still an interesting sight.

I also noticed that the turtles have reappeared in the lake, although they are still not very active because of the temperatures.

I was able to lay down near the bird feeder and “blend” (as best as I was able) and large groups of cardinals, woodpeckers, bluejays, chickadees and finches surrounded me. By reducing my movements and being slow and deliberate when I did move, I was able to make good images without spooking many birds.


I was disappointed that I was unable to make a quality image of bluejays. During the entire experience, bluejays were quick around the feeder and always returned to higher and higher branches. I’ll keep trying for that one.

One of my favorite images from the whole day was a Carolina Chickadee that’s now in the layout.

In other news, I’m now on twitter and, if you are too, my ID is dysonej. I’m routing wildlife specific tweets (still hate that word) to the sidebar on this site. It’s a good way to see what I’m up to when I haven’t been able to post yet.

Today there’s snow on the ground again so I’m going to go see if I can make anything happen with that. Have a great day!

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