MERGANSER

 

 

 

I often enjoy the outdoors in areas that are frequented by other people.  And in Maine, there is not so much of a dichotomy between natural areas and areas that humans live.  

And early Christmas Day is one of my favorite times in the year for enjoying these natural areas that other frequent because during these few hours, they are devoid of almost all human activity.  Christmas Day 2016 I spent at the Fishermen’s Co-op, on the Pine Point estuary, in the Gulf of Maine, arriving at about 8:30 a.m..  Sunrise was shortly after 7.  

I can think of one advantage of outdoor photography in the winter up here in the 47th latitude north:  The sun never gets high in the sky.   And so there is more atmosperhic filtering because sunlight must travel through much more atmosphere to reach Earth.  And because the much shorter wavelengths are on the blue end of the spectrum, these colors are scattered (filtered), leaving only the red end of the spectrum to pass through.  Though it sounds a paradox, winter light is “warmer” than “summer” light.  In the winter, I do not have to rush to get to a location at sunrise.  It is true.

 

I was the only person anywhere near the estuary on this Christmas morning.  I frequent this spot throughout the year and so I am familar with the human activity here.  Often there is a person who sits in his/her Corvette in the back corner of the parking lot.  That Corvette drove in shortly after I arrived at     

In my truck was a pantry of food for the birds I would encounter at the parking area.  They live here the year long, enduring the nastiest northeast falls and winters.  In this region, there are two groups that frequent the same areas as man and depend on man for food.  The various species of gulls are native to the area and the pigeons (Rock Doves) are European.  The gulls can choose to make 100% of their living along the inshore marine habitats.  There is plenty of food here.  Although it should be said that reproduction of any species always pushes carrying capacity and there is never quite enough food to go around….never.  The Rock Dove seems to have made a niche in American suburbia, as it is never seen in rural, at least not in this region around the 47th north latitude.   So I have hulled sunflower seed, peanuts, pellitized dog food and oh….an old bag of chips.   Many other wildlife biologists will say that it is not a good practice to feed wildlife.  Formerly I disagreed with this.  And I really still do.  But I can see the other argument too.  As I said, there is never enough food to support reproduction and by supplementing, it can be said that I am assuring the survival of some that would not have survived, at least in theory.  

 

Here, I would like to offer an explanation for why these various waterfowl do not seem to be cold.      

 

 

 

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