Independence Day Fireworks on Harvey Pond
Harvey Pond Revisited
It has been a busy summer for me and I suddenly realized that It has been several weeks since I dropped by Harvey Pond to watch the Great Blue Herons improving their nest for their anticipated brood. Harvey Pond is next door in Westmoreland New Hampshire and it is a great place to enjoy and photograph nature's summer transformations. Life is bubbling at the pond and I decided that there could be no better time to witness this celebration than on the occassion of our nation's birthday party. Other commitments kept me from witnessing the fireworks this year, but things were exploding on the pond. Harvey Pond is located next to the Glebe Road in Westmoreland making access very easy, but the other advantage of this proximity to car and pedestrian traffic is that the animals are conditioned to human presence and seem more easily approachable than at more isolated locations.
My prime reason for returning to the pond was to check the progress of the Blue Heron chicks, and I was not disappointed.
Early morning is the best time to view the action on the nest as the parents return from hunting to feed their voracious offspring. The chicks have already grown considerably and are getting quite active on the nest. Although I had been told that three had hatched, I only identified two suggesting that a smaller, a late hatching, chick may have been lost. The two remaining chicks were quite healthy and energetic and It seemed that they became particularly aggressive with each other as soon as a parent returned to the nest. I am sure that this playful jostling was all about competition for food, and training for survival. No one got hurt, and mom seemed to prefer to ignore the whole scene. Heron photography involves prolonged periods with the lens trained on the nest waiting for something to happen. Patience is essential, but difficult with so much entertainment going on all over the pond.
Geese on Parade
The Canada Geese were also quite busy on the pond, shepherding their chicks among the proliferation of lilies that now dominate the shallow areas. They paraded back and forth in front of us despite the fact that Nellie was right at the shore, frozen in rapt attention. The Geese appeared to have such patriotic spirit that I almost expected a fife an drum to appear at the front of their procession.
At one point our attention was drawn from the pond to see a
massive Snapping Turtle ambling across the road. We rushed to shield the prehistoric beast from on-rushing traffic, but he seemed more annoyed than grateful for our close approach. Snapping Turtles are especially aggressive when on the land, so we kept our distance until he sunk, gratefully, into the pond. The picture here suffers from a lack any means of scale, but I can add that his carapace was more that two feet long. Snapping Turtles have been know to live close to 50 years in captivity. I would love to know how long this old guy has been stalking the depths of Harvey Pond.
My favorite residents of Harvey Pond are the frogs. They also seemed to lack any fear of Nellie or Me and allowed us to approach quite closely. I was especially excited when the pond burst into a chorus of croaking and I was able to capture the concert. I noticed later that I had also recorded the vibrations spreading out from the frog's ballooning gullet. I was only sorry that I didn't have my field recorder along.
Beauty and the Beast
In my opinion, the ultimate prize in frog photography is what I call the "Beauty and the Beast" moment, when I'm lucky enough to catch a frog next to a fully resplendent Water Lily. Luck was on my side this day, but I wonder whether luck is often helped by the frog's own appreciation for beauty. Why wouldn't a particularly sensitive amphibian become transfixed by such a spectacular but fleeting floral display in their otherwise drab universe.
|Harvey Pond Display|
Blue Heron chicks , parading Geese, singing frogs, a antisocial Snapping Turtle, and an explosion of Water Lilies, now THAT is a fitting Independence Day celebration.
Check my about Harvey Pond earlier this Spring
For more images of the pond check out my Harvey Pond Flickr Set
Great images Jeff!ReplyDelete
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