Category Archives: Birds

Green Heron, The Hunter

Which image do you like better?

Green Heron Hunting, Extended

I think I like the first image best as you don’t often get to see a Green Heron fully extended. Seeing the neck muscles bulging makes the image.

Green Heron Hunting, Aiming

What I don’t like about either of these 2 images is that the branch crosses the birds beak. I takes what would have been a lovely image given the beautiful background and screws it up. I hate when that happens. Thats why wildlife photographers have to have a lot of patience, you need to put your time in behind the camera to have an opportunity to get the shot. Then you still might not get what you want! Wildlife photography reminds me a lot of the instructions on the shampoo bottle, wet, wash, rinse, repeat. We do a lot of repeating in wildlife photography!

Images captured on a Nikon D3x w 600mm f/4 w TC-14e II on Lexar digital film.

Tricolored Heron at Sunrise

Tricolored Heron at Sunrise

Im not sure why I like this image so much, but I do. Maybe its how the light falls on the birds feathers on the right, or the sparkle in its eye. Maybe its the majesty implied by the way he sits in this tree. Either way, it is one of my favorite images from my recent trip.

Image captured with Nikon D3x w600mm f/4 on Lexar digital film.

Monday Musings – American Coot

I love Florida. My wife has a hard time understanding my love affair with the Sunshine State but I just can’t stop enjoying the wildlife and nature opportunities Florida offers.

American Coot Reflection

Thanks to many of you who answered my request for your favorite birding locations on the east coast of Florida, I had a wonderful 2 days of birding. One of my favorite locations was Wakodahatchee Wetlands. I will post a site report on this location shortly.

American Coot

Wakodahatchee Wetlands certainly has made it to one of my favorite Florida birding locations. One of the species that was abundant at the wetlands was the American Coot.

American Coot Calling

This member of the rail family is often confused with a duck. Like many of the species at the wetlands, the Coots that I observed, were habituated to the goings on of the vast boardwalk which made them fairly easy to photograph and observe.

American Coot with Grass

Images Captured with Nikon D3X, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film

Monday Musings – Whats Your Favorite South Eastern Florida Birding Hotspot?

Brown Pelican on Post, Florida Race

In a few weeks I will be heading down to Florida on business. I plan on making some time for bird photography. I will be in the Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) area. I am hoping my loyal readers can make some suggestions as to where to focus my limited birding and photographic time.

Brown Pelican in Flight, Florida Race

Florida is one of my favorite places. Between the abundant wildlife and Disney World, who could ask for anything more! I hope one day to call Florida my second home. With that in mind, I would be very appreciative if you would share with me some of your favorite locations to observe and photograph birds.

White Throated Sparrow

We had a little bit of snow the last few days. While I was out around sunset, I caught a glimpse of this little fellow.

White Throated Sparrow on Snow

At first, I thought it might be a song sparrow. But after further attention I realized it was a White Throated Sparrow. The give away for me was in the clear white breast and if you look really closely, you will see a hint of yellow over its beak.

White Throated Sparrow Gesture

I love to try and capture gesture in my wildlife subjects. It makes them seem so much more “human”. I love the way the head is cocked on this subject. I make a game of trying to capture gesture in wildlife. I think it keeps you sharp as a photographer. Too many times I see people standing around while all sorts of wonderful things are happening around them. Maybe they should stop and look!

Captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 w/TC-14EII on Lexar Digital Film

Great Black Backed Gull – Which Do You Like Better?

I thought this Great Black Backed Gull was a beautiful bird from the moment I saw it.

Great Black Backed Gull Portrait

The light that was falling on it was a little harsh but in certain spots you could see great detail in the bird. As you can tell the bird is a large gull. In fact, the Great Black Backed Gull (try saying that fast 10 times) is the largest of all gulls in the world.

Great Black Backed Gull Full View

Of the 3 images, which do you like best?

Great Black Backed Gull Long

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film.

Purple Sandpiper

On my recent trip to Barnegat Jetty, I had the good fortune to add a new species to my files, the Purple Sandpiper.

Purple Sandpiper Kissed by Sun

What really amazed me about these birds is how gentle they seem.

Purple Sandpiper Seeking Shelter from the Wind

As I stated in my post last week, the wind this day was ferocious with gusts of 30 mph. It is truly amazing how these birds can find safety from the wind let alone cling to the rocks. The downside of them finding shelter was poor, indirect light. We didn’t have a chance to photograph one Purple Sandpiper that was in the sun all day. That said, getting some good clicks of a new species for the files makes any day a good day!

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 with TC-e14 II on Lexar Digital Film

Monday Musings – Backyard Bird Photography Studio

After I published the image of the Northern Flicker last week, I received a lot of email asking about the perches and feeder locations I was using.

So I thought I would post a few images of the feeder and perch setup for everyone to see.

Ranch Feeder and Perches
Both Feeders
Clinging Bird Perch

The light is good for afternoon shooting this time of year and I usually find that staying on the cameras side of the fence makes the birds feel more comfortable. From where my camera is (these are iPhone captures), I can also shoot from inside the garage through a window using the garage as a blind which can be very convenient on cold days :-).

2012 is Starting off as a Great Birding Year!

Over the Christmas break, I thought I had seen a Northern Flicker flying around the yard. Then one day I was sure I had seen one on a perch by the feeders. I know they are considered a common bird but they are difficult to get good glass on…..until recently!

Northern Flicker Facing Right
Northern Flicker Facing Left

I wish I could blend these two images into one. If you look closely at the tail feathers for the bird facing right, you will see a yellow tint. The east coast variety of Northern Flicker is called yellow shaft due to the yellow feathers. The eastern version also has a red crescent on its nape, which the west coast version does not.

Which of the 2 images do you like best?

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 w/TC-e17 II on Lexar Digital Film

Barnegat Jetty

I have wanted to visit Barnegat Jetty (Barnegat Lighthouse State Park) for several years. Fortunately I was able to meet up with Denise Ippolito just after Christmas for a day photographing Barnegat’s wonderful birds. Denise is the leader of many Barnegat Jetty workshops (she has one that starts this Friday, check her website for details) and is also the author of a very popular Barnegat Jetty Site Guide

There are hosts of birds and wildlife that call the jetty home during the winter. Harlequin Duck, Long Tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw), Common Loon, Red Throated Loon, Red Breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Common Eider, and Brant. Shorebird species include; Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Bellied Plover, and Sanderling . I have been told that Harbor Seals have also been seen at the jetty. The stars of the jetty for me this trip were the Harlequin Ducks.

Harlequin Drake

These ducks are difficult to come by during the winter unless you travel to coastal Maine where a large portion of the North American population spends their winter.

Harlequin Drake on the Rocks

I was lucky to be able to capture some decent images given this was my first time to the jetty. Swimming images are fairly common but I am told that ducks on the rocks and good flight captures are tough to come by. I really like the flight capture below.

Harlequin Drake and Hen in Flight

I will post images of some of my other captures from my visit over the coming days.

Images captured with Nikon D700, 600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film