COLD DUCK – 1/27/10

Not the sparkling wine by Andre but the cold ducks at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge  in Oceanville, NJ. 

 I drove thru part of the refuge (at 47,000 acres, just a small part) along the Wildlife Drive on a recent winter day.   In the distance in sparkling sunlight, but worlds away, lay my old hometown.

More close at hand, in the biting chill were some of the birdlife, trying to survive.  Why didn’t that heron go to Warm Sanibel?


I was flipping through my 2009 image files and came across some topics that hadn’t made it here.  And now, as they say in Monty Python, for something completely different.  This is not the Bergiemobile; it was one of a few totally decorated vans with different themes that were shown at a September fair at Smithville Park (Burlington County).  This is where old cameras go.


On a late October visit to Meadowbrook Farm I found a splash of color defying the frosts. 

The twelve public gardens of Meadowbrook near Abington PA were part of the estate of J. Liddon Pennock whose 100+ year-old family florist business  served Philadelphia society and, in the early 70’s, the White House.  He provided the flowers for the Tricia Nixon Cox wedding and also White House Christmas decorations.    The land and the home, a magnificent Pennsylvania field stone house, were a wedding present from his father-in-law.  (Not bad; mine just moved in with us.) We once strolled the gardens, pools and fountains at a Philadelphia Horticultural Society wine and cheese benefit.  On another occasion we bid for a private  luncheon at the home, benefitting the Philadelphia Orchestra. He was a gracious host to us complete strangers and it was a memorable experience.  I can also picture him welcoming in a receiving line at a Longwood Garden Party, and padding around his greenhouses in work khakis.  On his death at age 90 the gardens and green houses were bequeathed to the Hort, to which he had been an important contributor of funds and of self.  I regretted his death, and the horticultural community suffered a great loss.


In late November I spent an afternoon at the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge south of Smyrna, Delaware.  Not much to see this time of year….marshes, salt ponds, fragmites, dead spartina, bare trees and Canada geese.   Still, beautiful for those who grew up around the marshes.  A definite destination soon when the migrations begin.

In early December I returned to Mauricetown, first to the firehouse antique show and then to the East Point lighthouse area.  This old shed is on a tidal creek at the entrance to Mauricetown.

At the beach near East Point Light the wind was blowing out of the west and it was collllld!

By late in the day a lot of cloud cover had moved in, obscuring the hoped-for sunset.  This view below was nice but underwhelming.   So, I tried it with a Gold ‘n Blue polarizer and got a much more interesting image.


Last Sunday I drove up to Red Bank, NJ to tour a major (100 dealers) antiques mall.  That was fun but it was more fun to discover ice boating underway nearby.  The activity was on the Navesink River and I watched it from the venerable (1879) Monmouth Boat Club (this is a private club but I was admitted because of my LBI club membership).  In addition to the individual and family activity underway, down the river I could see a number of what looked like Opti sails flying across the river ice.  I was told that it was a regatta underway, something one thinks about as a summer activity.

The Christmas Tree?  To mark soft spots in the ice.  I was asked to bring mine out there if I hadn’t thrown it away yet.

And if you’re a convinced windsurfer here’s what you do in the winter.




On the day before, Saturday, I headed to the antiques shops in Mullica Hill.  On the way I revisited this old house which I had found and photographed last winter.  It still stands, cold, lonely and deteriorating … reduced to being a landing spot for turkey vultures which flew as I tried to get set up to “film” them on the roof. 

It was a beautiful day, not at all suited to the mood of the house so I converted the images to brooding black and white.


For my photography colleagues the image below was created from three images (-1, 0, +1 EVs) with Photomatix and then converted to B&W.  The result was pretty noisy so I ran it through Neat Image to clean it up.  (Fortunately, Neat Image didn’t clean up the pile of trash.)



Today’s forecast was decent; not much sun but no gale winds so I drove down to Whitesbog.  It was a great day; briskly cold, some occasional thin sun, and peacefully quiet.  The kind of quiet that you suddenly notice. My only company was, from time to time, three pickups and a van.  As you can see below, the slushy village street was empty, the old workers’ houses moody in the thin sun but with some modest touches for the winter holiday.

Even on a largely overcast winter day there is beauty to be seen and enjoyed. On the right below, an ice-tree.

Here’s a typical pond, created by overflow from an adjacent bog. Its attractiveness is enhanced by the ice and the few remaining patches of snow.

Finally, my colleague, Lou Dallara, had a lovely image of a clump of pine needles with snow on them as his first blog image of the new year.  See his blog , scroll-find and click on Pine Needles.   It brightened my day.  The image below is the closest I could come.  The snow’s gone but I loved the remaining droplets.