Day two on back-to-back visits to Vassar Farm turned out to be even more plentiful! The key difference was getting there early. The early bird gets the worm, and the early bird watcher gets the bird!
The front pond was extremely active with both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets. With a little patience, I was able to score a few shots of each. Both are very difficult to photograph as they are fast, elusive and small. Good fortune smiled upon me today!
Other sightings at the front pond include a great blue heron, several northern flickers, mockingbirds, mallards, starlings, goldfinches, and robins. As we moved back through the parking lot, the european starlings were staring at us through the barn as we walked by. I couldn’t pass up photographing them again. 🙂
Then, things got interesting in the fields and the back ponds. The tree swallows were very fiesty, flying within a few feet of us and landing just as close. It made for some very striking photos. As we approached the back ponds, I spotted a large bird perched on top of the trees. It turned out to be a red-tailed hawk looking for lunch.
As I moved into position for a possible take-off, I looked down to see a garter snake staring right up at me by my feet. No sooner did I see that, the hawk came barreling down onto the tree you see in the photograph. He/she missed out on a potential meal, but landed on a beautiful perch with the sun to my back. Optimal lighting!
I couldn’t get over series of event we witnessed today, and best of all, I got a ton of excellent photos to share.
Photos from Vassar Farm (click photos to enlarge)