When your original plan falls through you need to go to your backup. First of all, that means you must have a backup. It’s something I’ve found to be very helpful in my photography. So the Bald Eagles weren’t catching enough fish, so I decided to try going to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. This is about an hour away from the hotel I was staying at, but I had heard great things about Bombay Hook, so off I was going before dawn. I got there in time to be in the field as the sky graced the world with its light. There were some great scenics before the sun came up.
I had come to Bombay Hook looking for wildlife – Red Foxes and Snow Geese in particular, but the landscapes were gorgeous. The light doesn’t for anyone though. After spending some time capturing some of the landscapes, I started to drive around the refuge. I had missed the big blast-off of geese when I captured the early landscapes, but there were a couple of geese who hung around on the refuge. Most depart for the day to feed in various fields and water around the area. This was one Snow Goose that did stay around.
The rumors about Bombay Hook were true. I saw a lot of foxes. Quite a lot – more than I was hoping for. The problem was that most of the foxes that I saw had a bad case of mange. I couldn’t help but feel for the foxes with mange. The cold days were just starting and it must be terrible to be an animal that doesn’t hibernate like the foxes and be missing half of your warm, fluffy coat. In the end, I finally found a fox with a gorgeous winter coat. There was no snow on the ground like I had dreamed for, but no matter this fox was breathtaking.
The fox was my primary target and I would have loved to have gotten a whole series of fantastic fox images. I got a few, but most of the time the fox spent buried in the high grasses around the refuge. The fox was actively hunting and I spent quite a while with it before someone pulled up behind me and decided it was a great idea to hop out of his car and walk right up to the fox for a photo. Of course, like any self-respecting fox, it ran away into the cover of dense vegetation not to come out again. There are signs up all over the refuge telling people not to approach the foxes, and this fox was so cooperative too… Anyway, the marshes at Bombay Hook are really pretty – the mix of trees, marsh, and ponds makes this place have so much beauty. I wish I had a few days to spend just working the landscapes. I didn’t, but in the limited time I did have, I had some fun shooting a few scenes.
I’ll definitely have to come back to Bombay Hook both for the foxes and for the marshes. It would definitely be a great place to see in other seasons. It was a busy place thought. At the Barnegat Jetty, I saw only a couple of people all day. Here I saw twenty or more cars in an hour and this was over the holiday period. As the sun began to set, the Snow Geese returned in huge droves. The numbers here dwarfed the flocks I had seen down on the Outer Banks. I could not guess the numbers – it was surely in excess of 50,000 perhaps many more. In any case, it was a fitting end that I ended the day as it had started – photographing the marsh with the last remaining light.