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We are known as PaWingers or just The Wingers by our Geocaching friends. When we found our first cache we had to come up with a name to log the find. We came up with this name simply because of residing in Pa. and because one of our many passions is cruising this beautiful country on our Honda Goldwing. Aside from geocaching we are passionate about most anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling and biking. We are blessed beyond words with a wonderful son and daughter in law. We're also blessed with some terriffic family and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate due to the fact that after being married over 40 years we still enjoy these things together.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Exploring a New World

After a long hard winter, the snow melts away, a hint of green begins to color the hillsides, tiny flowers pop up from the forest floor and the woodlands are alive with new life.  It's an exciting time for many, but for a wildlife photographer it can present a plethora of opportunities to capture images of young critters beginning their new life.  These opportunities don't come knocking on your door and will require hours upon hours of sitting, waiting and watching.  All the hours invested are more than worth it if you go home with even one keeper shot on your memory card.  While all the tiny critters in nature are cuter than a button, Fox pups are one of our favorites.  The cool thing about photographing Fox pups is that aside from taking their pictures, they are just an absolute riot to watch.  This particular spring we spent countless hours watching a few different dens and were rewarded with lots of keeper photos.  It is so cool to photograph them as they explore their new world.  Hope you enjoy the photos.  We sure enjoyed our time with these little pups and made all the hours more than worthwhile.

Gotta admit, Fox pups are pretty darn cute!!

Marvels of the Marsh

I contemplated naming this newest post in a different way by playing on the letter "M" but decided against it.  It was going to be called "Multitudes of  Marvels in Magee Marsh in Mid May".  The more I thought about it the more it sounded silly and that just wouldn't be my style.  Okay, the truth is I already gave it a title and I was too lazy to redo it.  Alrighty then, let's get this post rolling downhill.
In mid May, my wife and I headed to a place that had somehow escaped our attention thus far.  We loaded up our gear and headed out to a location that is situated smack dab between Port Clinton and Toledo and on the shore of Lake Erie right along Rt 2.   As we approached this area we couldn't help but notice that this has to be a hotbed of activity for all kinds of shorebirds, raptors and ducks.  There appeared to be lakes, ponds and wetlands pretty much everywhere.  While the whole area should provide opportunities for bird and wildlife opportunities, our destinations would be Magee Marsh and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the main focus was to photograph the Warbler migration.  We hadn't been long before it became apparent that there were many more photographic opportunities than just the Warblers.  As you read this blog entry you will see this for yourself. 
One thing that we discovered immediately is that we would regret having only two days in this amazing area.  The marsh area was huge and we only explored a small part of it.  Magee Marsh encompasses 2200 acres and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge has 9,000 acres of marsh, open water, and both wooded and coastal wetlands.  We were absolutely in awe and used every minute of light in the short time that we had allotted ourselves.  In fact, we actually used a little too much time on the first night and nearly got trapped behind a locked gate.  That was a tense moment!  We vowed to definitely visit this place again and can't wait.
Okay, at this point we'll get to posting some pictures and stop with the rambling.  If there is anything real noteworthy on the pictures I will comment on them and try to identify what I can but we are very new at this Warbler thing.  If you stick with me to the conclusion of this Blog entry you will read a bit of belly aching on my behalf in regard to a nearby eyesore in this place of beauty and possible accident waiting to happen.  Now onto the Marvels of the Marsh.

I know what you're thinking, these aren't Warblers and you would be right.  These are Great White Egrets and since we typically might be lucky enough to see one per year, we couldn't pass them by without grabbing a few images.  Most of the opportunities were toward sunset so action shots posed quite a challenge.

 I believe this is a Virginia Rail
I thought this was cool.

 Snapping Turtle out for a jog
 These shorebirds are rather common and are called Dunlins.
 There was lots of Poison Ivy

 Painted Turtles sunning on a log
This is a Trumpeter Swan sitting on the nest.  
 Yellow Warbler
 American Redstart
 Black Throated Green Warbler

 American Redstart butt

 Chestnut Sided Warbler

 American Coot.  Check out the crazy lobed feet.

This tiny Yellow Warbler nest was really tucked up into the thick foliage and was difficult to photograph.
 Pied Bill Grebe
This good looking fella is a Moorhen
These Orioles were really skittish

 Red Eyed Vireo.  Amazing red eyes!
How about those eyes!!!
Toward the beginning of this post I mentioned that there was something nearby that was rather disturbing to me.  Well, this is what I was referring to.  This is the Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station.  This nuclear power station came online in 1978 and as much as I hate to say it, it has been plagued with events or reportable incidents.  This is of great concern to me both for the safety of the nearby residents but also the tremendous amount of wildlife that make these wetlands their home.  I'm sure this site was selected because of the sparse population but seeing the nuclear alert sirens for miles around this plant are a harsh reminder of how quickly things could go badly and the harm would be far reaching.  If you want a reality check, do some research on this Nuclear Power Station.  It's very easy to research and see the Incident History including in 2002 when a hole the size of a football was discovered in the reactor head going unnoticed until it reached that size.   This closed the plant for two years and cost the company millions of dollars in fines.  Or what about 2010 when they replaced the reactor head from a mothballed plant.  Yes, that would be a used reactor head.  The facilities original operating license expires in April of 2017 and my research has found that it quite possibly will not be renewed.  So what will happen then!  Research this First Energy Nuclear Power Station yourself and you may see the source of my concern.