Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heislerville, NJ Fish & Wildlife Management Area - 2011.04.30

Yesterday I stopped at Heislerville between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. while on the way to check on my parents' place in the Villas.  (It was an easy decision to make the stop given that the Flyers were already falling apart by this time.  Boucher was pulled just as I hit Matt's Landing Road.)  

Though plenty of my favorite wading birds were present, most were much too far away for even my 400mm 5.6L.  The tide was low, and most of the 18 snowy egrets I counted foraged in the mud that was on the opposite side of the road.  The 4 great egrets I spotted didn't come within close range, even though I was employing a blind that I've had great success with in the past.  This is the best picture I obtained of a great egret, and this is full-frame:

[JPG] IMG_2051
Great Egret Landing, Canon 50D, 400 5.6L, f/8 @ 1/1250, ISO 160, EV -4/3

In contrast, I was able to capture the following image from my car, which was about 10' further away from yesterday's blind, on April 29 last year. It's about a 50% crop.

2010.04.29  Great Egret
Great Egret Feeding, Canon 50D, 400 5.6L, f/7.1 @ 1/2000 ISO 320, EV -1 April 29, 2010

The best photos I obtained yesterday were of a mute swan that was drifting back and forth very close to my position.  You can click on any image and view it larger from my flickr account.  These photos are approximately 75% of the original image:

[JPG] IMG_1941

[JPG] IMG_2060

[JPG] IMG_1975

[JPG] IMG_1976

[JPG] IMG_2176

Incidentally, the dike is in very poor condition right now.  It's not due to mud- the holes in the dike's surface are craters.  Don't make the mistake I did and try to navigate it in a low-clearance vehicle.  Take the entrance road opposite the marina.  Although there is a 'Road Closed' sign, the road was in much, much better shape than the dike itself and is mostly dry. 

Species observed:
Snowy Egret (18)
Great Egret (4)
Common or Forster's Tern (3)
Osprey (1)
Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs (1)
Dunlin (numerous)
Red-winged Blackbird (numerous)