Patience pays off, in birding and nature photography

On most Saturday mornings, I start my day at the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm. I don’t have the pressure of having to get back in time to catch a bus to work, so I have more time to wander the fields. This morning, I arrived before dawn, hoping to catch sight of the short-eared owlsContinue reading “Patience pays off, in birding and nature photography”

Appreciating the quiet times of birding

It’s a relatively quiet time for birding in my part of the world, as I’m keenly aware every morning I walk the fields and woods of the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm or the nearby locations that I frequent. It would be different if I lived closer to the Jersey shore, which is teeming with wildContinue reading “Appreciating the quiet times of birding”

Birding joy: Finding the unexpected on your camera roll

It happens frequently on my outings that I point my binoculars at a distant bird and can’t figure out what it is. If I’m lucky, I have enough time to point my camera and capture a few frames, hoping that the bird’s identity will be revealed once I get the images up on screen backContinue reading “Birding joy: Finding the unexpected on your camera roll”

Too much of a great thing: Owl overload at the Pole Farm

Reports of owls — short- and long-eared — have been filed from the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm multiple times during the last few weeks, and crowds are gathering. I’ve spoken with several birders on my last few trips, and as thrilled as we are that owls are about, it is becoming a challenge to findContinue reading “Too much of a great thing: Owl overload at the Pole Farm”

I finally see my first owl, and a bonus bird!

Since I began birding seriously the last few years, I’d lamented that I had never seen an owl in the wild. Even at the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, which usually draws owls during the winter months, I’d never seen one either flying or perched in a tree. On Saturday afternoon, that changed. Word had gottenContinue reading “I finally see my first owl, and a bonus bird!”

A birder’s plea: Let’s stick with standard time

Today we observe the annual “fall back” ritual of reverting to standard time in the United States, and I welcome the change. My birding opportunities had dwindled over the last several weeks as sunrise came later and later, shrinking the time I had to get out in the fields and trees before heading off toContinue reading “A birder’s plea: Let’s stick with standard time”

Beyond birds: Butterflies and other flying creatures abound

If the birds are shy, I turn to butterflies. I usually can count on spotting at least bird 20 species whenever I visit the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm, but that’s usually under ideal conditions in the morning when the birds are at their most active. Whenever I get an opportunity to make an afternoon visitContinue reading “Beyond birds: Butterflies and other flying creatures abound”

No matter how you pronounce it, the bobolink is a cool bird

The bobolinks have been hanging around the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm for the last few weeks, and that’s a reason to rejoice. These long-wandering migrants are partial to grasslands, and the Pole Farm has big fields well-suited for them. The first bobolink I saw this season came in late May, a female or possibly aContinue reading “No matter how you pronounce it, the bobolink is a cool bird”

Hitting 100: My species count climbs at the Pole Farm

For several weeks, my species count at the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm sat at 99, enticingly close to the century mark. What exotic bird would take me into triple digits? Some rare visitor from Central America or the Arctic Circle? Some wayward wanderer from Europe, blown in by a storm? I pondered that question onContinue reading “Hitting 100: My species count climbs at the Pole Farm”

Getting the right shot of the tricky Eastern towhee

The Eastern towhee was one of the first non-backyard birds that caught my attention as I started birding regularly at the Mercer Meadows Pole farm three years ago. I first heard the bright “twee!” call one April morning three years ago, and it would be a few visits more before I spotted one about 10Continue reading “Getting the right shot of the tricky Eastern towhee”