My Top 5 Cape Ann Wildlife Photo Experiences of 2020

When life came to an unexpected halt from the pandemic, I took to nature to find serenity. Each day I scouted different locations near home looking for inspiration. As I began to understand the rhythm of my surroundings, birds and critters appeared and I was fortunate to capture many magical moments. Here are the five most memorable.

Best Photo Moment of 2020

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It was fun to be a kid in Boston in the 70s—art, music, and live performances were at their peak as voices were raised and self-expression exploded. “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine,” we harmonized as we danced in our red and blue pajama jumpsuits on our mock backyard stage, “joy to the world.” 

My late brother and I were entrepreneurs before we knew the word and collected all the money the neighborhood kids could muster to attend one of our super cool back yard “carnivals”. At eight and nine, we created our own games and attractions, choreographed our acts, and sang our little hearts out.

Early one evening last June, I came upon an active pond with noisy bullfrogs hidden along the edges. The sunset was tinting the water purple as I spotted one full croaker with its bright green and yellow colors glowing against the dusk. My camera and I enjoyed a private shoot that night with the real-life Jeremiah, as the words brought smiles through the tears, “joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me.”

Most Beautiful Wildlife Day of 2020

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It was Mother’s Day 2020 and because of the pandemic, I was confused and worried about visiting my Mom. I opted to be safe. Alone with my camera, I set out to a nearby pond to take my mind off the day. 

As I got closer to the water, I couldn’t believe my eyes: Twenty-one Great Egrets had gathered that afternoon and I was there. I watched, mesmerized by their beauty and grace, and my lens zoomed in and out in as they lifted off the water and interacted in an almost spiritual way. White wings gently beating and reflecting on the water, they were the epitome of soft feminine energy in symphony. A wonderful dance fit for Mother’s Day.

Funniest Wildlife Shoot of 2020

One particular day, I was excited to have found a flock of purple and rust Glossy Ibises rock hopping at my local pond. They were so entertaining to watch! I was fixated on them for a few shots when a majestic Great Egret pranced into the frame out of nowhere, flaunting its prized white feathers and really stealing the show. I’ve become very attached to Great Egrets and was lucky enough to see them all summer in various settings in my area on Cape Ann.

Sweetest Wildlife Moments of 2020

Aside from the ocean to my south, there are 3 or 4 ponds around my house. Each year by late April, the neighborhood is alive with Canada Geese families. 

The goslings are adorable in their fluffy yellow down and shiny black beaks, watching the parents and their own reflections at the pond’s edge. Within days, they will start walking with the hearty adults across the street—stopping traffic to get to the larger pond for practice swimming and flying. They may even be honking soon! 

Ah, the sweetness of spring.  

Most Secret Wildlife Encounter of 2020

One Saturday an errand took me off the beaten path. As I got back into my car, I spied a watery habitat across the road with chiseled tree stumps. Ssshh. I’d be getting up early tomorrow to check this place out further.

A secret lily pad community home, where froggers croak and beavers roam. I felt like Alice as I bent and slid down the bank to get a closer look. I had entered another world and could feel its chatter under the waterline. I held my breath, quiet as a mouse, and a large beaver popped out for a swim. I watched it effortlessly slide around the fallen trees through my telephoto lens and wondered just how many others lived there.

I returned to the beaver lodge many times throughout the summer and eventually named its largest resident engineer “Gershwin”. He came out when I showed up, sometimes with a smaller companion, to take a few strokes to check things out. He was pretty bold and did not seem fazed by me especially in my low pose. During one visit, he came close. I even got to see his orange teeth as he climbed out of the water at dusk to mud himself up. He always made me smile, and I got used to our time together.

Now the seasons change their rhythm as the beat of the forest, wings of the wind, and ripples of the pond come to a slow. The old cold frost of Father Winter will soon take hold and blanket us in the quiet of the new year. Snowys, seals, and sea ducks appear along the shoreline promising more magic.

I feel a lonely gratitude as I close my eyes to remember all my 2020 warm-weather friends. I’ll see you again in the spring.

Browse and shop some of my best nature shots of 2020 here.

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