Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pic of the Day

White-crowned Pigeon, Columba leucocephala
 Anhinga Trail; Everglades National Park, Florida     
     After shooting on Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park one morning last week I mentioned to my wife that I should drive to Flamingo and try to find a White-crowned Pigeon.  I had seen one in Flamingo some 30 plus years earlier and since then I have always wanted to photography one.  My wife was more interested in heading to John Pennekamp State Park and taking a glass bottom boat to the coral reef to see the fish.  That sounded good to me so I ditched the pigeon idea and we headed to Key Largo.

     After the trip to the reef, I saw that we had time to get back to Anhinga Trail for an evening shoot.  So we hit the road, and about an hour later we were back on Anhinga Trail.  It was no surprise to me that I found the usual birds, Green Heron, Anhinga, Cormorant, Vultures, and Purple Gallinule.  Like in the morning, things were a bit slow. 
     I stopped along the trail and spent a little time shooting a Green Heron.  It was then that I saw a couple of people photographing something, but I could not see their subject from where I was standing.  I walked to where the photographers stood and could not believe what I saw when I rounded the bend on the boardwalk.
     To my utter astonishment a White-crowned Pigeon was perched in a mangrove tree plucking seed buds from the branches.  One of the two photographers asked if I knew what bird it was.  I told them it was a White-crowned Pigeon, and how lucky we were to see a White-crowned Pigeon on Anhinga Trail.  I went to work immediately, constantly repeating in my mind, don’t move, don’t move, don’t move, as I finally fired a burst of frames.  The pigeon then moved through the tree and I maneuvered for a better angle.  I continued to shoot, but a branch was in front of the pigeon.  By this time the sun was hanging on the horizon with only a few minutes of light left when the pigeon hoped to another branch.  It was in perfect light and was fully exposed.  I took two shots before it flew to a mangrove right beside me.  It was too close for my lens to focus.

White-crowned Pigeon, Columba leucocephala
Anhinga Trail; Everglades National Park, Florida

     Again I repositioned myself to get a better photograph, but the light was gone, the sun had slipped below the horizon.  With that said, the bird was still very cooperative and it allowed me to take more images.  I could not believe my good fortune, I had given up an earlier opportunity to try and find the White-crowned Pigeon, just to have one fall into my lap later in the day.  The images you see here were taken near the end of the shoot.  One when those last rays of light struck the bird before it flew to the mangrove right beside me, and the other immediately after the sunlight had vanished.   I spent the rest of the night thinking about the White-crowned Pigeon and reviewing images.  As you can imagine, I was a pretty happy camper.


  1. Excellent images of this lovely pigeon.. I congratulate ..

    1. Thank you Ana. What a joy to see this. Taking the photos just made it better.