Our South Jersey Camera Club field trip energizer bunny, Pat W., had scheduled a sunrise shoot at the Forsythe Wildiife Refuge at Oceanville, NJ.  Turned out that there were four of us crazy enough to emerge from warm beds and drive fifty miles or so to enjoy a 19° F. and windchilled  dawn. 

Once we got out on the refuge road it wasn’t so bad (all photographers lie a little) and we persevered.  As the sun rose the light became warmer.  Not so the photographers.

We finally came across a gaggle of snow geese which had been a primary reason for the trip.

We waited patiently for them to decide about us.  Finally they’d had enough of our company and, breaking into flight, became  (et voila) a skein of geese.

One thinks of the refuge as being a bird sanctuary, particularly out on the meadows.  This one and a companion, however, were also enjoying the meadows and they provided comic relief as they bounded from sedge clump to sedge clump, frequently sinking into the muck in between.

There are always the Canada Geese  Their multitude, testiness and droppings are unpleasant but when they break into flight it’s wonderful; their plaintive honking, calling to each other, so moving on a moonlit fall or winter night.  I remember a childhood writing that Sigrid had from somewhere.  It had to do with the geese flying away far overhead, and it ended with the child’s cry: Be Careful!   Years ago I gave Marty Lou a gold pin of a pair of them in flight.  In part it was a rememberance of our years on Chesapeake Bay; in part because geese mate forever.

Don't miss that left turn ahead.

26 Responses to “FRIGID FORSYTHE”

  1. Ken Curtis Says:

    Looks like your early morning, get-out-of-a-warm-bed adventure was worth it judging by the nice photos you took. Some day I’ll get down there.

  2. Louise Senopoulos Says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photos and sentiments!

  3. denisebushphoto Says:

    A nice collection Ralph! I can feel the cold air coming off my screen!

  4. Nancy Deal Says:

    Pretty pictures, Ralph. Please resend me your new address. I thought I had saved it….but, alas….can’t find it.


  5. Del Cannon Says:

    I really miss the Brigantine/Forsythe trip to see the snow geese and miss the ooh’s and ah’s of the children when the flock takes off. We watched them practice landing in a high wind one day and it was a riot. I don’t think their honks meant “be careful”.

  6. Linda Kamholz Says:

    It was a fun morning, wasn’t it Ralph? OK, maybe not the observation tower part — no, that definitely was not fun — wa-a-a-ay too cold and windy! But it was nice to explore a wonderful resource, while not necessarily in our backyard, not that far away.

  7. Pat Says:


    Thanks for braving the cold morning air. You efforts were well rewarded with your beautiful images. I hope to see you out on a few more early morning adventures.

  8. Jeanne Says:

    These pictures are your best!! Love the flight of birds — in motion. Terrific, Ralph

  9. bob williams Says:

    Thanks for the great pictures; they bring back a few memories. Hope we’ll see you guys in these this Winter.

  10. Amy Golden Says:

    Beautiful images, Ralph. Wish I’d been there (if I could ever wake up early and withstand the cold!). Love the geese in flight.

  11. Jan Narducci Says:

    Beautiful photos. Glad you got out of bed early so you can shoot these wonderful photographs.
    I might like to use one of your photographs in my artwork if I have your permission.

  12. fiebs Says:

    Lovely work! I look forward to your posts.

  13. Sally Vennel Says:

    Great combo of photos, Ralph. Good for you getting up for them. Winter has finally arrived out here in the Rockies, and the skiing is great. but our 19 degrees isn’t as cold as yours. Sally

  14. MikeP Says:

    Super catch of the deer…. some of my best work is done shivering and moving around. The same seems so here.

  15. catcherofstars Says:

    The image of the white tail deer really spoke to me. I live in north Florida and there are many many of those here. I see them all the time but that image was stunning

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