Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pic of the Day

American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
Fort Desoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida
     I had some really great shooting opportunities in Florida this week.   This American Oystercatcher was photographed at Fort Desoto State Park in Saint Petersburg.  When I arrived I saw few birds.  Another photographer was working a small group of feeding birds that included a Reddish Egret and a few shorebirds.  I found a Great Egret, but soon after shooting a few shots it flew to spot where the reddish was feeding.

American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
Fort Desoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida

     After the egret flew I moved to the tideline where I found a Willet probing the sand for mollusk.  Things were pretty slow and I though about leaving, but then the Willet pulled a mollusk from the sand.  After a few shots things got pretty exciting.  A few Ruddy Turnstones flew in and joined the Willet.  Things were really hopping then.  The turnstones began feeding and all were coming so close that I could not focus the lens.  They ran to and from the waters edge to wash off the prey they were pulling from the sand. 

American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
Fort Desoto State Park; Saint Petersburg, Florida

     Looking down the beach I saw an American Oystercatcher fly in and begin to probe the sand with its orange beak.  It had been years, I mean film days, since I had photographed an oystercatcher .  Like lighting I was down the beach in a flash.  The oystercatcher was so busy feeding that it paid me no attention.  I began to shoot about fifty feet away, but wanted to be closer.  
     I scooted along the sand toward the oystercatcher and shot a few more frames.  Setting in the sand the bird became completely comfortable with my presence and began moving toward me.  I could not believe my good fortune.  As it fed along the tideline I shot frame after frame.  At times it came so close that could not focus the camera lens.  While shooting the oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstones, Black-bellied Plovers and Willets joined in giving me more shooting opportunities. 
     After shooting more than a thousand frames I left the birds to their activities.  It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time.  I was totally immersed in the birds, and they seemed to have accepted my presence without fear.  These are just three images from the shoot, but I will post more in the coming days.
    Please come back in a day or so to see the turnstones, willets and plovers.  I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them.   

     Top:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/4000 sec @ f 7.1, ISO640
 Middle:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/2500 sec @ f 8,    ISO640
Bottom:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/3200 sec @ f 8,    ISO640


  1. Hey, you found Limpy. He has a slight ring near the bottom of his right leg. He had fishing wire around for a while until the rangers were able to catch him and cut it off. He's been around for years. Beautiful shots!

  2. Hi Dina, Thanks for the info. I did not notice the indentation on the right leg until I looked at the photos again. I will post more of the photos over the next week. It was such a joy photographing this bird. Wish I was back down there right now photographing Limpy.

  3. Yes, it's mesmerizing, isn't it, when you are lying down flat on the beach and waiting for the birds to come to you!

    1. It may just be the best form of bird photography.