UPPER DELAWARE REGION — I was blessed to have been born in Callicoon, NY with my roots in the Upper Delaware Region. It’s a wonderful place, located in between the northeastern Pocono …
UPPER DELAWARE REGION — I was blessed to have been born in Callicoon, NY with my roots in the Upper Delaware Region. It’s a wonderful place, located in between the northeastern Pocono Mountains and the southwestern Catskills, shared between Pennsylvania and New York, that I call my stomping grounds.
I became interested in nature and wildlife at a young age thanks to my parents, who packed my two brothers and me up in the station wagon—and later in the VW bus—to explore campgrounds from Maine to Virginia.
I graduated from high school in Virginia and moved that summer to Hawley, PA where I now reside in the same place. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I took up my nature-photography journey in 2007, inspired by a bald eagle nest that I could see every morning as I made my way to work at the printing business I owned in Milford, PA. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I signed up for some free classes and spent countless hours over the years reading, watching YouTube, and just getting out there and going through the motions.
Along the way, I’ve met some wonderfully talented and accomplished photographers, who are always willing to share settings, techniques and ideas as well as locations and sightings of birds and animals.
There’s something different in all the seasons and there’s never a dull moment. I love the adrenaline rush of being close to bears, especially those big males.
I do go out of the area occasionally, and a fall trip to central PA’s Elk County to photograph the elk herd that makes its home there is on my list nearly every year.
The spring and early summer seasons offer so many opportunities for photography right here in the Upper Delaware Region.
You don’t have to go far to see a whitetail doe with fawns. Many who live here don’t have to go anywhere as the animals will find you in your own yard or neighborhood. The baby cottontail rabbits in the lawn, the little bundles of fur that are the chucklets of woodchucks, the bandit eyes of raccoon young and the black-and-white stripes of a family of skunks can all be found right outside our doors.
One of my greatest pleasures is finding a fox family and watching the antics of the kits. Their fearlessness when they first venture outside the den makes them a bit easier to approach without disturbing them. I always respect their space and use a long telephoto lens so as not to disrupt their more wary parents. They have their work cut out for them to take care of a litter of four, five, six or more kits. If you are too close, the parents will not bring in food and could relocate the family elsewhere.
Foxes might den near people, often under sheds and outbuildings, as a way of protecting their family. Coyotes are in direct competition with and predators of foxes, but generally keep their distance from places frequented by humans—and somehow the adult foxes have figured this out.
The foxes have a bad rap for raiding the chicken coop—which they have been known to do—but if you don’t have chickens, they present little risk to humans or pets. If you are lucky enough to have foxes living near you, give them some space and they will be gone in a few weeks.
Another favorite of mine is the bear cubs. I have been fortunate to have had multiple encounters over the years, and am always very aware of where momma bear is. Cubs are even more rambunctious than the fox kits, but not as approachable, and are nearly always under the watchful eye of Momma. Watching them climb up trees at the first sign of danger, signaled by a low-voiced command from Mom, and then watching her call them down to be on their way is just fascinating.
Do yourself a favor, and take some time to go for a walk in nature. Don’t be in a hurry. Take your time and listen to everything in your surroundings. Nature is talking to you and all the other animals that are in your proximity. Be still for 10 or 15 minutes, and let life in the environment return to normal after your initial intrusion. Then, move slowly, blend in, be quiet—and don’t forget your camera.
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