Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pic of the Day

American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliates
Fort Desoto State Park, Saint Petersburg, Florida                                                                                                   
     The American Oystercatcher is one of the most beautiful shorebirds in the Americas.  I photographed this one at Fort Desoto State Park in Saint Petersburg, Florida.  When I arrived there were few birds on the beach.  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.
     After the egret flew I moved to the tideline where I found a Willet probing the sand for mollusks.  Things were pretty slow and I though about leaving whenI Looked down the beach and saw an American Oystercatcher fly in and begin probing the sand with its orange beak.
American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliates
Fort Desoto State Park, Saint Petersburg, Florida

     It had been years, I mean film days, since I had photographed an oystercatcher.  Like lighting I was down the beach in a flash.  With the oystercatcher so busy feeding, it paid me no attention. 
     I began shooting about fifty feet away, but wanted to be closer.  As I scooted along the sand toward the oystercatcher I shot a few more frames, fearing that the oystercatcher would take flight.  As I got closer and closer, instead of flying away it 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. 
     After shooting more than a thousand frames I left the oystercatcher to its activities.  It was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a long time.  I had been totally immersed with a bird that accepted my presence without fear.  Very few people get such an experience, and I hope I get a lot more.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1250 sec. @ f9, ISO 640

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