Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Seals, Batches of Bugs and other east end treats.

The last few weeks have been full of seal releases by the Riverhead Foundation, the local rescue and rehab group tasked with rescuing and helping marine mammals back to life.  They are a wonderful not for profit organization with lots of dedicated volunteers and some skilled biologists (some of whom are in the Gulf helping rehab dolphins and sea turtles affected by the oil spill).  The first one I attended a few weeks ago featured a very curious grey seal named "chance" who gave me a great chance to get up close shots.  (Chance is featured above as well)

and one more

This past weekend featured another Grey Seal who bolted into the water, and a Harbor Seal who appeared a little nervous before slipping into the water.

Here is the Harbor looking a bit more hesitant...I don't blame him.  He landed in the hospital after surviving a shark attack!

Finally in the water

A trip to 'Tern Island" in Moriches Bay proved worthless as a Tern photography venture as we missed the fledge date and all of the birds were gone.  However, the milkweed has grown throughout portions of the island providing a good opportunity for Monarch Caterpillars (which, believe it or not I've never seen before).  Without even looking I spotted about a dozen of these guys munching away which is quite impressive.  So aside from the islands value as bird breeding habitat, the monarchs will be happy with our efforts as well.  Unfortunately for the milkweed however, the Oleander Aphid (little yellow specks) has exploded on this island (likely due to the heat/drought conditions) covering every single plant.  The Lady bugs which feed on the aphids simply can't keep up.  

Milkweed bugs on their namesake plant

And here is the lady bug doing its part:

Now here is another female Diamondbacked Terrapin I spotted crossing Dune Rd. (this time returning from laying eggs).  It clearly has had a run in with something bigger than it in its past (Car? Raccoon?) with its notched shell and cracked jaw, but it seemed relatively healthy (though quite nervous to come out of its shell!)

Yesterdays visit to Pheasant Meadow didn't yield much beyond ticks and mosquitoes, but this Pearl Crescent Butterfly obliged me on some blooming milkweed.

And lastly, a landscape shot (what?!?).  This time it's sunlit clouds from Squires Pond along the Peconic Bay last night.  I ran out of the water (I had been swimming) in hopes of photographing the golden cloud on the left side of the image but by the time I got my camera from my car it had largely dissipated.  The remaining clouds and color were still quite attractive though.

Tomorrow I am off on a Whale Watching trip out of Montauk so hopefully my next post will be filled with Whales, Dolphins and maybe even a Shark (or Sea Turtle, I'd be pleased with either).  


  1. Great stuff, Luke. I love the shot of the ladybug eating the aphid.

  2. Thanks a lot, I appreciate it.

  3. Jesus! These photos are freak'n awesome! I'm dreaming to have a wildlife photography adventure soon. I had an incredible underwater photography last year at Gulf Shores. Condominium that I stayed in has good resort. My friends gave me basic lessons for underwater photography.