Sunday, March 23, 2014

Familiar Faces

February is the time to visit Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, the time to see the wintering waterfowl. And perhaps something unexpected.

The day of our visit was a nice one, no wind, and surprisingly few people (or shorebirds). We did see these familiar faces (can you name them all?):

One of the few people we saw was sitting not far past the lighthouse on the walkway before the jetty, camera with very big lens aimed at ... nothing. Hmmm. So I asked, "what are you waiting for?" "Whatever," he replied. We chatted a bit, with him mentioning that he was down for the weekend form Massachusetts just to shoot the waterfowl. We then wished each other luck and Patty and I headed down the jetty. But there was something ...

As we were leaving we met up again as he was photographing the lighthouse. I then mentioned that I thought we had seen each other before. And it turned out that we had.

We had last seen each other each other in January. In Vermont. On the side of a snow covered dirt road. Looking at this:

A (much too distant for good photos but cool to see through a scope) northern hawk owl. This is a bird that normally inhabits Canada and Alaska and is rarely found in the lower forty-eight. We saw it on a weekend getaway.

We chatted some more and I asked where I might see his photos. He looked for a card but couldn't find one. So I made a note of his website. Still there was something nagging at a corner of my mind ...

When I got home I went and pulled my Trinidad and Tobago field guide from the shelf. And found his business card. We had first met at Asa Wright Lodge in Trinidad, Christmas week 2012. He had helped me set my flash so I could take the pictures of the bats using the hummingbird feeders, after I realized they were using them (he got some very nice shots).


His name is Chris Ciccone and you can find his excellent images here. Enjoy!

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