Wrapping Up Winter With Feathers and Fur

April 06, 2017  •  2 Comments

Spring is in the air!  Although the calendar says it's spring, we can't always count on springlike weather.  One thing we can count on is waterfowl migration and preparation for wildlife babies.

On my pursuit of specific wildlife subjects I always manage to find other species of wildlife to photograph and share.  That's what this photo blog entry is all about.  I hope you enjoy the wildlife.

If you visit farm fields during the winter, you may see flocks of little brown birds across the landscape.  When you look closely you will see the yellow face, black mask, and tiny black “horns” of a Horned Lark.

Horned LarkHorned Lark


In late February, Elena and I were visiting Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA when we happened to see this Common Merganser drake sitting on a log in the middle of a channel of water connecting ponds. 

Common MerganserCommon MerganserDrake


Soon this Dark-eyed Junco will be heading back to its summer home of the western mountains or Canada.  See you next winter little one!

Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco


It's always a treat to see an albino White-tailed Deer.  Albinism is a congenital condition defined by the absence of pigment, resulting in an all-white appearance and pink eyes. Animals with albinism tend not to survive long. They have poor eyesight and are easily seen, making them easy prey.

White-tailed DeerWhite-tailed DeerAlbino


One of the treats of visiting Presque Isle State Park from February through May is the presence of a Great Horned Owl nest no more than 15 feet above the ground.  During our February visit, the hen was still sitting in the nest presumably incubating an egg or more.


Horned Larks seem to love fields right after the farmer spreads manure in the spring but they also find last years corn cobs a treat too.

Horned LarkHorned Lark


You know spring is near when the birds, like this Horned Lark, begin to sing.

Horned LarkHorned Lark


We had a long warm spell in February causing some birds to migrate north a little earlier than normal.  This Killdeer probably didn't appreciate the short March deep freeze that gave us a blanket of snow across western Pennsylvania.



I was watching a local spot that I've seen Barred Owls when this female Red-bellied Woodpecker stopped by to say hello.  By the way, I didn't see any Barred Owls on that day.

Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed-bellied WoodpeckerFemale


On a cool, windy day at Pymatuning State Park I found this Red-tailed Hawk peering into the field; undisturbed by my presence.

Red-tailed HawkRed-tailed Hawk


Here is another look at this beautiful albino White-tailed Deer.  Sadly, I learned later in March that it was struck and killed by a vehicle.

White-tailed DeerWhite-tailed DeerAlbino


One of the draws of photographing waterfowl and songbirds in the spring is their magnificent colors.  Females and non-breeding males, like these non-breeding Horned Grebe, are also mixed in.

Horned GrebeHorned GrebeNon-Breeding


The American Pipit is a bird that I think most of us have never seen or simply ignored its presence.  They winter in the southern United States and Mexico and breed in the far north in and around the Arctic Circle of Canada and Alaska making Pennsylvania a brief stopover.

American PipitAmerican Pipit


The Wild Turkey puffs up and spreads its elaborate feathers to attract a mate.

Wild TurkeyWild Turkey


Wild TurkeyWild Turkey


I was heading home one evening after darkness had began to blanket the landscape.  I found a small herd of doe in a field so I stopped to see if I could photograph any of them.  A slow shutter speed was inappropriate for any movement so I raised the camera sensitivity level (i.e. ISO) and captured this doe intently watching me.

White-tailed DeerWhite-tailed Deer


Well, I hope you enjoyed this variety of wildlife photos I made during the waning days of winter.  I'm working on a couple photographic projects that I will share at a later date.  Okay, I'll give a hint. Owl be happy when I am finally able to share my experiences with you.

Thanks for looking,



Donna Mohney(non-registered)
I love horned larks but they are so hard to get photos of! Great article again! I've found my own albino deer with a little pink nose here in the Ligonier area.
Kevin Kuntz(non-registered)
Hey Dan I'm beginning to believe you live outdoors. Great photos once again!!
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