Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pic of the Day

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula:
Fort DeSoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida
    While photographing terns diving for fish off the shore of North Beach at Fort Desoto State Park a Snowy Egret flew in to join in the feast.  After fishing in a particular spot for a while the egret would take wing and fly about twenty feet further up the beach to fish in a new spot.  I caught this image on one of those short flights.  

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2000 second @ f/11

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pic of the Day

Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea ajaja:
Black Point Wildlife Drive; Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida
     Roseate Spoonbill capture as it was landing along side the Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island NWR.  A number of birds were feeding at this locations which attracted a few more spoonbills.  I saw this fellow flying in from the west and panned my camera and shot a burst of frames.  This is just one of the many that I liked.  I do love Merritt Island.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2500 second @ f/9

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pic of the Day

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula:  Black Point Wildlife Drive;
Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
    These photos was taken during a feeding frenzy as a thousand-plus Great and Snowy Egrets, and Tricolored Herons lined a canal along the Black Point Wildlife Drive.  The Great Egrets and Tricolored Herons perched on mangroves and plucked fish from their leafy perches.  
     The Snowys were very active feeders.  They flew over the canal dragging their yellow toes in the water.  The technique disturbs fish causing them to dart away from the danger, but it made them easy prey for the snowys to snatch from the water.

Top:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6, at 400mm, 1/5000 second @ f/7.1
Bottom:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6, at 400mm,1/2500 second @ f/9

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pic of the Day

Tricolored Heron, Egretta tricolored:
Black Point Wildlife Drive; Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida
     The Tricolored Heron is one of those birds whose name has changed many times over the last century or more.  When I started birding as a very young man, it was called the Louisiana Heron.  I like "Louisiana Heron" much better than Tricolored, but my favorite name was Audubon's Heron, and still like to use that name today.  I also think that this is one of most beautiful herons.  In its breeding plumage of blue, white, and purple it is a magnificent site to see, especially when displaying. 
     I shot this image at the same location that I shot the Snowy Egret that I posted on November 24.  The dark water made a perfect back ground for this fellow dressed in his finest winter plumes.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2500 second @ f/9

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pic of the Day

Roseate Spoonbills, Platalea ajaja:
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida
is a wonderful location to photograph birds.  It seems that over the last few years photography opportunities have become better and better with each trip.  Last week's excursion was quite exceptional with a plethora of birds.
      These Roseate Spoonbills photographed along Black Point Wildlife Drive, were shot as the sun was just above the horizon.  The golden light of the rising sun bathed the landscape with an intense warm light creating a scene of peace, and tranquility. This is life at its best!

Nikon D800, Nikkor 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6, 1/500 second @ f/11

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pic of the Day

Egrets, spoonbills and ibises at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
near Titusville, Florida

     One week ago today I was at Merritt Island NWR photographing birds.  I found this feeding frenzy of wading birds along the Black Point Wildlife Drive just before sunrise.  Using my van as a blind the birds paid no attention to my presence and went about their feeding activity.  I don't often shoot birds with a wide-angle lens, but I must admit that I do love the scene here with so many birds spread across the landscape.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, 1/80 second @ f/7.1

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pic of the Day

Snowy Egret, Egretta thula:  Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida
     I found this Snowy Egret along with a couple of thousand more of his compatriots along a canal at Merritt Island NWR last Monday Morning.  It was a feeding frenzy like I had never see at Merritt before.  I spent about an hour and half shooting the snowys as they plucked fish from the canal.  This guy was perched about 12 feet away allowing me to get a nice close-up.  More to come, so visit again, soon.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/4000 second @ f/10

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pic of the Day

Sandwich Tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis:
Fort Desoto State Park, Florida

       I shot this image on the shoreline of North Beach at Fort DeSoto State Park, Florida.  Royal, Forester, and Sandwich Terns were busy driving for fish and what a challenge they were to shoot with a long lens.
     Terns are fast flying and panning with the birds close to the shore was very difficult.  Locking on the head of bird is not easy, but when it happens, the track focusing kicks in and works like a charm.  I took a ton of photos and many were out of focus, or just not quite there.  This is one that worked, as I caught the tern diving toward the water.
     Though I see Sandwich Terns on most of my trips to Florida, they are currently considered as uncommon.  It is believed that this species went through a serious decline in the late 1800's when eggs were harvested from many colonies.

For more info on Sandwich Terns go to:  http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/sandwich-tern

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/3200 second @ f/9



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pic of the Day

Great Egret, Ardea alba:
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida
    The early morning light striking the birds at Merritt Island NWR last Friday morning was absolutely exquisite.  As I was shooting a variety of birds in the marsh a Great Egret plucked a fish from the water, and then, being very proud of himself strutted in front of my lens before downing the fish.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2000 second @ f/10

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pic of the Day

Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura:
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida

    I just got in the house about an hour ago from a quick trip to Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida.  There were a lot of birds and a lot of activity.  This is a quick post of an image shot on Friday, last week.  What beautiful colors in a face that only a mother could love.
     I have many more images to post over the next week or so.  Hope you enjoy this TV close-up.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/1250 second @ f/9

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pic of the Day

Red-headed Woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus:
Guntersville Dam Recreational Area; near New Hope, Alabama

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pic of the Day

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis:
Horse Cove; near Gurley, Alabama
     The White-breasted Nuthatch is a constant visitor at my bark butter feeder here in North Alabama, and is perhaps the most abundant nuthatch in North America.  J. J. Audubon, on the other hand, thought it to be less common that the other species.  Below is an excerpt from Audubon's Natural history of the Birds of America.


White-breasted Nuthatch: J.J. Audubon
"Birds of America"
"Although the species now under consideration is found in all parts of our extensive country, it is yet the least numerous; there being to appearance more than three of the Brown-headed, and two of the Red-bellied, for every one of the White-breasted. It is an inhabitant of the forest and the orchard, frequently approaching to the very doors of the farm-houses during winter, when it is not unusually seen tapping at the eaves beneath the roof, thrusting itself into barns and houses, or searching for food among the poultry on the ground, where it moves prettily by short hops. During summer it gives a preference to the interior of the forest, and lives in a retired and secluded manner, especially during the breeding season. Although a lively bird, its actions are less animated, and it exhibits less petulance and restlessness than the other species. It moves alertly, however, when searching for food, climbing or retrograding downwards or sidewise, with cheerfulness and a degree of liveliness, which distinguish it at once from other birds. Now and then it has a quaint look, if I may so speak, while watching the observer, clinging to the bark head downward, and perhaps only a few feet distant from him whom it well knows to be its enemy, or at least not its friend, for many farmers, not distinguishing between it and the Sap-sucker, (Picus pubescens,) shoot at it, as if assured that they are doing a commendable action."  J. J. Audubon

White-breasted Nuthatch (L) and Brown-headed
Nuthatch (R), by Mark Catesby, "A Natural History
of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands"

      Audubon was not the first naturalist to describe, or paint the White-breasted Nuthatch.  Mark Catesby, an English naturalist published "A Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands," complete with paintings and descriptions of 110 species of birds, with additional paintings of animals, and plants.  Volume one was published in 1731, and volume two in 1743. The White-breasted Nuthatch was among those species of birds described.            

Photo:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/60 Second @ f/8