Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pic of the Day

Willet, Tringa semipalmata:  Indian Shores Beach, Florida
     The 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 from 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 on 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 so close. During those times I just enjoyed the birds, watching their movements, behavior and elegance.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 second @ f8

Recently Published Work

My Birding Escapes column with Living Bird Magazine; Spring 2015 Issue.
     I am 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: find other article in Living Bird Magazine as well as information on subscribing.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pic of the Day

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 to 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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pic of the Day

Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula:  Magee Marsh, Ohio
     A Baltimore Oriole from this past May, photographed during The Biggest Week in American Birding.  This year was definitely a year for the oriole.  I saw more than I have ever seen.  They were just everywhere and made great subject for my camera.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1250 second @ f7.1

Recently Published Work

My column and photos  in the Spring 2015 Issue of Creation Illustrated
about Bentsen Rio Grand Valley State Park, Texas

If you are interested in subscribing to Creation Illustrated follow this link:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pic of the Day

Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor:  Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio
    Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a 6,500 acre remnant of the once 1,500 square miles Great Black Swamp that bordered the southern coast of Lake Erie.  Ottawa, along with Magee Marsh, Crane Creek, and Black Swamp Bird Observatory, is a vital part of the habitat so important to migratory birds as they travel north and south.  It is also important to resident and breeding birds that make these sanctuaries home.
     This Tree Swallow is one of thousands that nest in Ottawa NWR.  I found it perched on a limb adjacent to a nest box in which it was building a nest.  Tree Swallows are one of my favorite subjects.  When shooting is slow I can always count on a Tree Swallow being near the many nest boxes in the refuge.
     This little guy was more than happy to pose for the camera, and a little gust of wind provided the opportunity to get a shot with open wings as it tried to balance itself in the breeze.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/100 second @ f8

Recently Published Work

My Lens on Creation Column and photographs for Creation Illustrated, Winter 2015 Issue
    It has been eight months since I have posted my published work, so I will do a little catch-up over the next few days.  This is my column for the winter issue of Creation Illustrated, published by Creation Ministries based in Auburn, California.  I shot all of the photos at the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm, the subject of the article.
     If you are interested in subscribing to Creation Illustrated follow this link:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Snowy Plover, Charadrius nivosus:  Estero Lagoon; Fort Myers Beach, Florida
     A couple of weeks ago I was in Florida.  Yes, I was in Florida the first week of July, and yes it was hot, hot, hot, but not as hot as Alabama. I went because I heard that there were a few Black Skimmers with young chicks at Indian Beach.  So, I was off to try and photograph them. 
     I found lots of skimmers with fledgling three or four weeks old, but I also found four pairs with chicks less than a week old.  I also discovered that Estero Lagoon on Fort Myers beach still had a colony of skimmers as well.  After a couple of mornings at the Indian Beach colony I went on down to Estero Lagoon.  There at Estero, I found a large colony of skimmers.  All the skimmer chicks I found were fledging, or about to fledge and I had plenty of opportunities to shoot. 
     The biggest surprise however was not the simmers, but three Snowy Plovers, still on eggs.  These plovers must have been birds whose earlier nest had failed, but there is no way to really know that.  They may have simply been late nesters.  Whatever the reason I was very shocked to see them on eggs.  There was also another pair of plovers that had chicks that looked about a day or two old.
     I shot this Snowy Plover from ground level laying on the sand with a bed sheet over my body as camouflage.  The bird was quite at ease as I shot the first few images and even closed its eyes and seemed to be sleeping at times.  I must admit, that when it closed its eyes mine became very heavy as well, and I had to force myself to look for any behavior to photograph. 
    As I lay on the sand with the morning sun beating down on me I thought, “will this plover ever move.”  Finally, and much to my relief, a least tern chick resting about seven feet away began running right toward the Snowy Plover.  When the tern chick was a foot away form the plover’s nest, the plover, like lighting bolted toward the chick hitting it with such force as to cause it to tumble head over heels for about three revolutions.  I grabbed this shot as the plover returned to its nest and settled over its egg.  Without that Least Tern chick, the only photos I would have of Snowy Plover would be birds sleeping on the sand. 
    By the way, the little tern chick was just fine.  Once on its feet it made a Bee-Line to mama.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/2500 second @ f9

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pic of the Day

Willet, Tringa semipalmata: Indian Shores Beach, Florida
     As mentioned in the last post, while photographing Black Skimmers I found a few Willets feeding along the waters edge.  The early morning light on the birds was perfect and I could not resist shooting as they probed the sand along the tideline.
     During one of the burst of frames I captured a confrontation between two birds.  I shot more than a dozen frames during the conflict.  This was one of my favorite images out of the series.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1600 seconds @ f8