Archive for May, 2014

Red Shouldered Hawk Nest

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Last Friday and again today in Northwest, New Jersey I had the privilege to spend several hours observing two Red Shouldered Hawks exchanging places in their nest to sit on the eggs.  Roughly every 45 minutes to an hour one of the mates flew in, often with additional nesting material, and the other left. At times I heard the one arriving call several times, but at other times there was no call but one mate often left the nest just before the other arrived. They are nesting in the crotch of a large Tulip Poplar in my partner’s back yard.  Over the next month I’ll continue to observe the nest and await the birth of the young with my camera and 500 mm lens.

Broadwing Hawk on Nest

Broadwing Hawk on Nest with Nesting Material

Broadwing Hawk Standing on Nest

Flood on the Schuylkill

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Yesterday we had 5-7 inches of rain in the Philadelphia region. Today the Schuylkill River and most of the creeks that flow into it and the Delaware River were flooded, much higher than anyone expected. I went out to Valley Creek where it flows under Route 23 and on to the Schuylkill, to the Pawlings Road Bridge over the Schuylkill and to the Betzwood Bridge and adjacent portion of Valley Forge National Park. I wanted to document the event and also capture some unusual beauty in the destructive forces of nature, an interesting and challenging assignment for myself.  Likely this is not a one time event since increasingly we have had more precipitation and stronger winds. Global warming is upon us.  The Arctic ice is not the only thing being affected.    Changes will continue.

As I was walking back to my car after capturing a number of images, I passed a young couple walking, each with a suitcase and he with a dishpan and dishes.  They were evacuating from the Valley Forge Lofts, a new apartment complex on the banks of the Schuylkill immediately downstream from the Betzwood Bridge.  Several of the buildings were under a few feet of water.   Another woman looking at the water near the Betzwood spoke of a friend who lives along the Schuylkill canal in Phoenixville whose house was totally surrounded by water. Yes, peoples lives are greatly affected by the changes in the natural world.  Sometimes it takes an event like this to help us keep our perspective.  We are part of nature.  Its power is both our power and greater than any one of us.

Below are a few images from the various sites I visited.

Spring Flood on the Valley Creek Just Above Route 23

Valley Creek Upstream from Route 23

Looking Toward Washington’s Headquarters Across a Flooded Valley Creek

Looking From Washington’s Headquarters Across a Flooded Valley Creek

Flooded Access Road Across Valley Creek from Washington’s Headquarters

The End of Pawlings Road Bridge By the Access to the Betzwood Trail

The View Upstream from the Betzwood Bridge

Flood Waters in the Picnic and Boat Launch Area of The Betzwood Section of Valley Forge Park

The Betzwood Trail Under Water

Looking Toward the Schuylkill from the Betzwood Picnic Area