Cold Duck

Barnegat Merganser_0158 ACS Let’s take a little trip back to the images that inspired this blog in the first place. In February I went on my first trip with the Heinz Refuge Photo Group, to Barnegat Light on the Jersey Shore. In the winter the Inlet attracts a variety of ducks and shorebirds you don’t get to see other times of the year.

Barnegat Landscape_0163 ACSThe challenge is getting to them! To get close you have to walk out on the stone jetty, which can be dangerous when it’s wet or icy. People have been known to fall between the rocks and get stuck.

Barnegat Landscape_0880 ACS The day of our visit was sunny, cold and very windy. Fortunately the jetty was dry, and we walked the whole length of it. The ducks were very close in, I saw 6 new bird species, and it was a great photo day for me and my new zoom lens.

All of these birds were new species for me.

Barnegat Longtail_0402 ACSLong-tailed Duck

Barnegat Longtail_0266 ACS Long-tailed Duck with an itch, and demonstrating a perfect belly-flop.Barnegat Longtail_0381 ACS

Barnegat Merganser_0241 ACS Red-breasted Merganser, well-coifed, and on a bad hair dayBarnegat Merganser_0499 ACS

Barnegat Loon_0924 ACSCommon Loon – my first view of Loons. They were silent though. So I didn’t hear their signature eerie calls.Barnegat Loon_0331 ACS

Barnegat People Colleen_0826 ACS What the well-dressed photographer wears at Barnegat Inlet. Double mufflers! Colleen, trying to keep warm.

Barnegat Harlequin_0599 ACSThe stars of the Barnegat Show are the Harlequin Ducks. The colors of the males’ plumage are amazing. They were out at the end of the jetty, so we had to walk a long way to see them. Hopping from large boulder to large boulder was slow and tiring. The payoff was worth it, though!

Barnegat Harlequin_0745 ACS Harlequins like the surf rough, and had no difficulty standing up to the waves, even if it meant getting a face full of water. Cold water.

Barnegat Harlequin_0628 ACS

Coming up: More Winter Birds