Thursday, September 23, 2010

First Fall Sunset

Well I came up empty handed after waiting on some Kestrels for 30 minutes - but when I turned around I saw this beautiful sunset over the farm fields of Aquebogue.  It worked out well that I had my telephoto lens on as there was some farm equipment just below the bottom of the frame so a wide-angle would likely have not worked well.  Earlier in the week I had photographed this Groundhog in the same field.

And here is another photo of the sunset but with the farm equipment included (taken in a vertical format) which I think does not compare to the top post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Praying Mantis and other critters

An unsuccessful morning at Jones Beach West End (due to the enormous numbers of mosquitoes who would swarm my vehicle as soon as I stopped) I headed to the South Fork Natural History Museum (also known as SoFo) because a rare bird had been reported the day before and there is potential for a lot of other birds and animals.  The grasslands and ponds behind the museum did not disappoint and I recommend to anyone who lives on the east end (or anywhere on Long Island for that matter) to visit museum and walk the wide trails behind.  The muskrat pictured below had no problem with me sitting on the shoreline of the pond and literally swam right up to me.

A close-up:

The real impressive thing in the fields however was the variety of insects.  I couldn't believe there weren't more birds hawking or catching them (only one kestrel was on duty to eat the big grasshoppers). Here is a bee-fly enjoying the nectar of a goldenrod flower.

This ladybug was calling a milkweed plant home for the morning:

The most exciting critter find for me however was when a male praying mantis fluttered in front of me in a patch of burnweed.  This insect is the largest on Long Island and is seldom seen (I believe this is only the 3rd one I've come across in the field over the last few years).  While I was admiring this bugs size and wild looks, two women stopped and asked what I was taking pictures of.  One of the women was Sandra Ferguson who is the President of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt - a great organization that works on preserving the natural wonders that make up the Long Pond Greenbelt - stretching from Sag Harbor and the beginning of Ligonee Creek down through Sagaponack to the Atlantic Ocean.  I have had many beautiful hikes in this greenbelt and come away with a lot of great photos - and it's people like Sarah who ensure these opportunities will be available for generations to come.

And another up-side down view: