Eustis trip provides photo fodder

Posted Nov. 20, 2012, at 11:26 a.m.
Bigelow Mountain looms over the Dead River.
Dave Small
Bigelow Mountain looms over the Dead River.
A gray jay finds a grub.
Dave Small
A gray jay finds a grub.
Dave Small
A gray jay displays its prize.
Dave Small
A gray jay displays its prize.
Dave Small
A ruffed grouse.
Dave Small
A ruffed grouse.
A white-winged crossbill.
Dave Small
A white-winged crossbill.

I was fortunate to be able to spend another few days at camp in Eustis. The weather proved cooperative and I was able to stumble onto several photo opportunities.

My first shot is Bigelow Mountain taken from a bridge that crosses the Dead River on the King and Bartlett Road. I’m still working on improving my landscape pictures, but the reflections and light were great and the capture a poor reminder of the beautiful scenery.

From here I spent some time during early afternoon on the Bradbury Brook Trail. I flushed several ruffed grouse, but the gray jay — also called the Canada jay, moose bird, whiskey jack, gorby, camp robber, and new to my list … thanks dude … woodsmans’ spirit — was of special interest to me.

Several times, while walking in the woods, I have had gray jays come very close to me. They are not shy birds when it comes to food, often feeding right out of your hand. Just before beginning my return hike to my Jeep, two gorbies flew down the road in my direction. They began rummaging in the shrubs, leaves and frost fallen weeds and grasses along beside the road.

The sun was low, the mountains high and the best photo light unpredictable. I was able the see these two Canada jays with a white object in their beaks. So, I observed, a little more closely, and discovered that they were finding cocoons, perhaps moth cocoons. Flying up onto a near by branch, holding the cocoon with a claw, then, with their beaks, pulling the webbing off and mouthing the grub found inside. They ate the grub there or sometimes they flew off into the woods to stuff it into tree bark crevices for a later meal.

The next four photos are a poor attempt to share this adventure with you.

The ruffed grouse, I guess, was puffed up and sunning itself and was very slow to move away allowing several shots from an equally slow photographer.

A trip across the Tim Pond Road from Eustis to Oquossoc netted an opportunity to picture this white-winged crossbill.

It, with several of his friends were feeding in the road and wasted little time, when I presented myself with a camera, to fly away into the tree tops. They are really a quite spectacular bird.

Thank you for allowing me to share my photos and ramblings with you.

http://photosbychance.zenfolio.com/p363209509

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