Ruby-throated Hummingbird,Archilochus colubris: Horse Cove near Gurley, Alabama
The hummingbird migration has been amazing here in North Alabama over the last month. Around the third week of August I was seeing a couple of dozen birds at a time, but by mid September I was seeing a hundred or more at a time. It was just unbelievable! I was going through five pounds a sugar every three days at the peak. Now they have slowed down and I am only seeing a few dozen at a time. The latest date I have had hummers is October 8th. will be interesting to see what the latest date will be this year.
Black-bellied Plover, Pluvialis squatarola (winter plumage): Fort Desoto State Park, Florida
I captured this image back in March at Fort Desoto State Park. Fort Desoto is a great location to photography wintering shorebirds. This plover along with turnstones and willers were feeding on sand crabs, which seemed to be a favorite among the birds that day.
More than a month ago I was posting my published work over the last year, but some how got side tracked. I am picking up with my column in the summer issue of Creation Illustrated. This column is about my experience on a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek in the heart of Nebraska on a brisk March morning this past spring. Hope you enjoy.
Guntersville Dam Recreational Area near New Hope, Alabama
This is just one of many photographs I shot of Red-headed Woodpecker this past June near Guntersville Dam. Red-headed Woodpeckers used to be quite common in the area, but over the last decade they decreased in numbers.
I shot this grosbeak back in April, and I am looking for their return within the week. If they hold true to the last few years I should have birds on my feeders by the 18th. Looking forward to seeing these beauties.
Willet, Tringa semipalmata: Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Montana
An image taken a couple of years ago while visiting Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge during the breeding season. The Willet, in breeding plumage here, is just one of many birds that nest at Benton Lake. To learn more about Benton Lake NWR click this link: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/benton_lake
Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2000 second @ f/5.6
Least Tern, Sternula antillarum: Biloxi, Mississippi
I am still
processing images shot this past June at the Least Tern colony at Biloxi,
Mississippi. This was taken as the tern flew-in to give me a coat of
white wash. The tern was successful. Fortunately I had my hat and
it took the brunt of the hit.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8, 1/3200 second @ f9
Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea (immature): Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida
When Little Blue Herons leave the nest they have white, feathers, but near the end of summer they begin their first molt from immature (white) plumage to adult (blue) plumage. When the birds are in the midst of the molt they have both white and blue feathers, better known as calico plumage.
I have seen many calico little blues, but this is the first opportunity I have had to get a close-up photo. I admit, it is not a great shot, busy background and an uninteresting pose. But, the plumage is interesting and thought that those of you who have never seen a calico might enjoy seeing the image. Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2500 second @ f/8
Willet, Tringa semipalmata: Indian Shores Beach, Florida
Another Willet from my shoot on Indian Shores Beach back in early July. This is one of two Willets that were fighting on the beach. This Willet was chasing another, while verbally scolding it adversary. Note the hinged tongue, it has backward-pointing papillae that ensures the food only goes in one direction.
Green Heron, Butorides Virescens (immature): Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida
Another treat from the Viera Wetlands this past July was this Green Heron feeding among the lily pads. This young bird should do quite well, for I saw it plucking dozens of minnows from among the lily pads in about thirty minutes. Its raised crest is due to another juvenile Green Heron feeding in the same patch of lily pads. It did not like the competition.
I have seen Black-bellied Whistling Ducks numerous times in
the past, but never had a good opportunity to get a decent photo.This past July, I was driving through the
Viera Wetlands when I found this pair perched atop a palm snag. I was very excited to see the birds and very excited when they allowed
me to park my van about 25 feet away without flying away.I
used the van as a blind to get these close-up images.
Willet, Tringa semipalmata: Indian Shores Beach, Florida
Willets feeding on Indian Shores Beach a few weeks ago put on a wonderful show
as they ran back and forth along the tide line. With each pass in front of
my camera they seemed to strike perfect poses with every frame I shot.
The low, bird's eye view provided a natural viewpoint, and the shallow
depth-of-field isolated the Willet from its background, placing the emphasis
solely on the bird. I especially like the toes on the right leg as they
stretch backwards providing a sense of movement and direction.
The birds had no fear and seemed quite at ease in my presence as
they walked within a few feet of me at times.
Often I had to stop shooting because the birds were too close. During
those times I just enjoyed the birds, watching their movements, behavior and elegance.
My Birding Escapes column with Living Bird Magazine; Spring 2015 Issue.
Iam still trying to catch-up on posting my published work for this year. This is my Birding Escapes column for Living Bird Magazine, the flagship publication of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. You can follow this link: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/LivingBirdMagazine, and find other articles in Living Bird Magazine as well as information on subscribing.
Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger (Juvenile): Indian Shores Beach, Florida
Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger:
Juvenile Black Skimmer runs through the receding tide practicing its skimming techniques.
Black Skimmer, Rynchops niger: Juvenile Black Skimmer running along the beach practicing its skimming techniques.
By the time I arrived at the Indian Shores Beach skimmer colony, many of the skimmer chicks had already fledged and were spending their time on the waters edge. Although most of the young skimmers were still being fed by their parents, they were using their time practicing skimming techniques. I noticed that the immature birds would run along the sandy
beach, and along the edge of the water with their heads held low with their
lower mandible just above the sand or in the water. After some practice,
I saw a juvenile take flight and try skimming for short distances above
the water. I don't know how long it takes a young bird to learn to skim,
but it looks like they are quick studies.