Jones Beach

April 2011











































Many of my most interesting photographic adventures seem to take place in those moments I can find between between other obligations. This is a perfect example. I was on Long Island for a wedding and I decided to see if I could get out and take some photos before anyone woke up. I had never been to Jones Beach, but a friend of mine suggested that it might still be a good place to look for winter birds. So I got up before dawn, entered the coordinated into my GPS, and headed off on a new journey. It was well worth it!

The first birds I saw:

If you've never been there, Jones Beach is a fairly typical beach. It has several large, paved parking areas where you can leave your car, but you have to walk out to the actual beach. I decided that I would simply go to the very end and see what I could see.

As I was walking out through the back dune area I came upon a wonderful little flock of tree swallows that were perched on the snow fencing that lined the path. They had obviously spent the night there and were still sleeping when I showed up. I had to adjust the settings on my camera because the sun still hadn't come up, but I got the photo...and the attention of one of the swallows..

A quiet, rainy morning.

When I finally made it out to the beach I was quite pleased to find that I was the only human in sight. No one else had deemed this morning worthy of a walk on the sand, and that suited me just fine. The gentle rain that had fallend on my way to the beach had lifted and left me with a wonderful world filled with pastel colors and the hypnotizing sounds of waves crashing in an endless procession.

As far as I could tell everything was perfect. The only problem was that I was completely alone. There weren't even any birds to keep me company.


Right On Cue:

As it turned out, I was only alone for a few minutes. It didn't take long for the first visitor to show up and man what a visitor it was! A pair of American oystercatchers flew in from the west and I couldn't have been more excited. The last time I had seen oystercatchers up close was when I worked for the Maryland Colonial Waterbird Project back in 1988. To spend time with these beautiful birds...and to have a camera with me...was a real treat!

It just kept getting better...

Eventually, the rain that had eased up and allowed me some time with the oystercatchers returned. I made my way back to the car and then decided to see if there was some way to get closer to the water while in the dry safety of my Jeep. So I started exploring and found a visitor's parking area near the Coast Guard Station.

This allowed me to watch and wait from the car, and I was again thrilled to spot a flock of brandt geese toodling around the quiet backwaters of the dock area. The calm water and convenient dock location made photograpy of this beautiful bird possible, and allowed me to add another species to my photo files for the first time.

Copyright 2011 William Danielson