Published: OurState Magazine July Issue

Really excited to share that I will have an image in the July issue of OurState Magazine. It is always nice to have my work printed in any publication.

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This image was created on the Pungo Unit of the Pocosin Lakes NWR during spring. The water lilies were blooming and the clouds were perfect! I made my way to the edge of this flooded impoundment, set up my camera and tripod to create this image. Red-winged black birds were calling for their mates, prothonotary warblers were searching for food along the edge of the canals. Have I mentioned how much I love to spring & summer on the Pocosin?!

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Be sure to grab an issue and check out pages 18-19!

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

 

BIG Male Bear, in the rain!

After finishing with the 4th annual North Carolina Black Bear Candace & I made a quick trip into the Pungo refuge. It was very dreary, raining and a little muddy. We saw a smaller bear cross the road ahead of us and not long after it crossed, out walked this big guy. I immediately knew the first bear we saw was a female. June-July is black bear mating season here in eastern NC and we were witnessing it first hand. The female was in estrus and the male bear was following her trail.

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This big guy slowly walked down the road straight towards us and not too far behind him was another large male. They kept walking straight towards us before it walked towards the edge of the canal and swam across. Once we were separated by the canal, I knew I had a good opportunity to photograph him as he searched for the female.

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He would constantly check the ground & the air for her sent.

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After searching for her for a while he took a seat on the edge of the canal and waited. I took advantage opportunity and photographed him as much as possible before he ventured off. It was an amazing experience and easily one of my top 3 I've had on the refuge.

I hope you enjoy! If your interested in visiting the refuge with me and learning how to find and photograph these beautiful creatures, visit this link. I still have some spaces available and I'm always offering private 1-on-1 workshops/tours.

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil

 

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Preparing for Bear Season

Hey everyone! Spring is in full swing with summer fast approaching. I've been traveling out to Pungo a lot lately searching for and photographing bear. This is going to be my busiest summer yet! With black workshops and tours scheduled every weekend from Memorial Weekend through July! I'm super excited! Below is video I created last weekend. I had an awesome trip out and documented 3 HUGE males making their way in from eating in wheat fields over the night before.

Below are a few images from that morning along with a quick recap from the past few outings since I last posted.

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I have space left in the May Ultimate Black Bear workshop a few for the June workshop. If your interested click below!

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April at Pungo

April was such a beautiful month on the Pocosin. Early mornings were dominated with the call of prothonotary warblers along with gobbling turkeys searching for mates. Spring slowly morphs the dark brown forest into lush green gardens. Snakes are starting to venture out hunting for a meal. Flowers are blooming with insects flying about, dancing from one flower to the next. Farmers are out preparing their fields for crops and the bear waiting on those crops to grow. So for now they are searching the woods for fresh green leaves and grass shoots. Spring time is pure magic on the Pocosin

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 Bear forarging for fresh green leaves.

Bear forarging for fresh green leaves.

 
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 Male turkey strutting

Male turkey strutting

 
 Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

 
 Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

 
 Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

 
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 Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

 
 Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

 
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 Ladybug on thisil

Ladybug on thisil

 
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Bear activity is increasing by the day. Be sure to check out the next post. Lots of Bear! BIG BEAR!

Until next time,

Cheers,

Neil

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Last Weekend of Winter

I was finally able to make it out to Pungo over the weekend. For only spending a half of day, it was, well,.. AWESOME! We saw so much wildlife it was crazy. Otters were swimming everywhere, deer everywhere, turkeys, ducks, doves & herons. We saw one bear and a red wolf! They didn't offer any photo opportunists but it was great just witnessing them.

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The first day of spring is tomorrow and I can't be more excited for it! Normally, I'm a huge fan of fall/winter but the older I get, the more I thoroughly enjoy each season. I will be traveling to the refuge more & more in the coming weeks searching for signs of bear. Stay tuned for what I'm hoping to be my best year yet!!

Also, there is still a few spots left in my Bear workshops, don't miss out!!

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

 

Camera Trapping Update

I've finally discovered a bobcat! I even got a photograph! If you've been following, I've been working the last 4 years, trying & hoping to photograph a bobcat with my camera trap. Here is a brief video I created recapping the setup and when I checked it.

 
 Large Bobcat

Large Bobcat

I didn't expect the bobcat to come from this direction so he is not quite in the focus area. Also there was fog that affected the image quality too.

 
 Raccoon

Raccoon

 
 Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

 
 Black, brown and white Fox Squirrel.

Black, brown and white Fox Squirrel.

 
 Grey Squirrel in the rain

Grey Squirrel in the rain

We're currently on day 21 of this set and I'm in this one for the long haul. I plan on building a new camera trap specifically built for this location. I'm really hoping and thinking this cat will come back in the next few weeks. I'll try to keep you updated when I return.

Until next time,

Cheers,

Neil

Around Home in Snow

I was like a kid on Christmas morning! We woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland. With work being closed, Candace & I set out to photograph the years first snow fall. We visited several old barns in the county and anything that caught my attention. In preparation of the snow fall i put out some bird seed. After returning from the morning outing I photographed several different species of birds.

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 Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

 Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal

 Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal

 Male Cardinal

Male Cardinal

 Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

 Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

 Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

I also brought my drone along to create some aerial photographs. I photographed the Contentnea Creek which runs near my home.

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 Hookerton, NC a couple miles from my home.

Hookerton, NC a couple miles from my home.

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I really enjoyed photographing in the snow and I'm secretly hoping we get at least one more good snowfall before spring. I hope you enjoyed my images!

Until next time!

Cheers, Neil

 

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Wilson's Snipes & Woodcocks

A few weeks back, during our first snowfall of the year, I was lucky enough to photograph on the Pocosin Lakes. My previous journal entry, Snow Bear, was from my second outing. On my first outing I was amazed at all the Wilson's Snipes and Woodcock activity.

With most of the impoundments and ponds frozen, most of the shorebirds moved to areas where the water was still in a liquid state. All that was left, that I was able to find, was two canals inside the refuge that the water was still running. I had an absolute blast watching their behavior as they fed, bobbing their bills in & out of the mud in search earth worms and other small invertebrates. 

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These two snipes were very comfortable with me. This one began preening and both rested for a while before returning to foraging for food.

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The American Woodcock, a resident of the Carolina's is an illusive bird during the most of the year. Most sightings are during the winter months, like my sightings here. Most of their time is spent hidden, foraging for earth worms in dense woodlands. They are very well camouflaged and when standing in the leaf litter you can barely see them. 

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This was one of my favorite days I've ever spent on the refuge. Part 3 will be up soon. All about swan!

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil

 

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Snow Bear

-3 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes. -3 degrees! But that didn't stop my determination to try to photograph a bear in the snow. Today was really my last chance of photographing in the snow, at Pungo, before it melts. Here in eastern North Carolina your're never guaranteed snow, so you have to take advantage while you can. So Candace & I made the trip down and I made the long walk, towards where I knew the bear would be, by myself. Candace said it was too cold and waited for me in the nice warm truck. So after getting pretty close, I noticed a sow & her cub slowly making their way my direction. I got into position and patiently waited for them to arrive. I wasn't exactly sure where they were going to cross the canal but I knew it would be one of 3 trails. I sat in between all three and hoped that they would cross to my left, that trail had the best light. After about 15 minutes I began to notice, two round black shapes making their way through the standing corn field. They were here!! On the exact trail that I hoped they would be on! I started to photograph every few seconds, hoping they wouldn't hear my camera shutter, but then they caught my wind. After smelling the air trying to figure out if I was still there or not they turned around and walked to another trail, this one about 30 yards further. But still in good light. They slowly came out and crossed within 75 yards from where I was sitting. Success!!! I finally photographed not 1, but 2 bear in the snow! I have been dreaming of this day for so long!  Below you will find 10 images from this morning. I would love to know you thoughts! 

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil

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