Erie National Wildlife Refuge

April 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I awoke today to what was going to be a beautiful day of sunshine and temperatures in the 50's.  My wife Elena and I decided to take the day off work and make the 1.5 hour trip north to visit the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.  Located near Meadville, Erie National Wildlife Refuge is a namesake of the Erie Indians, a Native American tribe that once resided in the area.

Erie National Wildlife Refuge Entrance (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70 2.8L, f/18 @ 44mm, 1/60, ISO 100)

 

This day was to be about photographing migrating waterfowl.  Having never been there, we stopped at the headquarters to ask for the best spots to see wildlife.  This wildlife refuge is 8,777 acres large so we drove around to the waterfowl hot spots.  We saw Tundra Swan, Pied-billed grebe, Mallards, Canada Geese, Ring-necked Duck to name a few.  Distance prevented me from getting many photos.

Ring-necked DuckRing-Necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/5 @ 420mm, 1/1000, ISO 200)

 

We saw two Ruffed Grouse, our state bird, but they were too quick (I prefer not to say I was too slow) so I missed the photo.  A Ring-necked Pheasant, native to Asia and introduced to America in the 1800's as a game bird, allowed me to get his portrait.

PhesantRing-necked Pheasant

 Ring-necked Pheasant (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/400, ISO 200)

 

Our other stop was at what appears to be a Beaver Dam.  On the other side is a Bald Eagle's nest with a pair of Bald Eagles.  You can see the nest in the center of the photo.  The white dot is one of the Bald Eagles.

beaver dam

Beaver Dam with Bald Eagle Nest (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70 2.8L, f/18 @ 70mm, 1/320, ISO 100)

 

The Eagles were actively building their nest but to protect their eaglets, one Eagle stayed on the nest at all times.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle on Nest (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1000, ISO 200)

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Carrying Nesting Materials (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/2500, ISO 200)

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Landing (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/3200, ISO 200)

 

See my Birds of Prey gallery for more Eagle photos.  The Eagle wasn't the only bird of prey in the area.  We spotted this Red-tailed Hawk too.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/800, ISO 200)

 

While waiting for the Bald Eagles to move again we witnessed a fight between two pair of Canada Geese.  There was a lot of "honking" prior to the fight.  Apparently it was some territorial issue because they ended up on separate ends of the dam.

Canada Goose fighting

Canada Geese Being Territorial (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1600, ISO 200)

 

Across the far shore I noticed a pair of Wood Ducks.  I have yet to get close enough for a highly detailed photo but the bright sunshine provided a good exposure that allowed severe cropping.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck (male) (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/800, ISO 200)

 

If you want to see more, please look at the end of the Waterfowl gallery for more waterfowl photos posted within the past week.

This turned out to be a long day and somehow, at 11:45, I'm still awake to post to this blog.  I will leave you with a few photos taken at Lake Arthur a few days ago.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup in Flight (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, f/2.8 @ 300mm, 1/2000, ISO 200)

 

Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal  (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, f/2.8 @ 300mm, 1/500, ISO 200)

 

Bufflehead

Bufflehead into the Sunset (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1250, ISO 400)

 

Until next time,

Dan


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