When we get to a marsh or swamp and find many different birds and actions happening, at the same time, it’s easy to just start shooting anything and everything. This means I will have tons of random wildlife shots. I will focus after a bit, but rule 101 says get the shot. Below are a few of the initial ‘get the shot’ images.
1) A Great Egret dropped down as we first entered. He was joining a few others already feeding. I wanted to get my first inflights right away to be sure I had the camera settings correct. I’m not comfortable enough yet with my new gear to ‘set and forget’.
2) A group shot below using the big Pelicans are the main subject. I hadn’t shot the Pelicans since the beginning of the year. They can take off in mass with little warning. So first thought was the Pelicans, but shoot wide enough to catch the Egrets and Wood Storks in the background. I have had times where big flocks took off immediately on seeing me giving me a few initial photos only.
3) Last here was a scene happening just off to my right as I was shooting the other photos.
A Wood Stork was walking away with something he had caught. In the reeds a Great Blue Heron was watching, probably considering his options to steal from the bigger Stork. It never happened, but I was sure it was about to. Looking at the image now, I think he has a stick. The Heron may have noticed that too and skipped his plan.
Out in these marshes when there is a sudden drop in temperatures fish can die off, or at least be stunned. When this happens every critter in the area comes for the free food. I did see stunned and a few dead, fish a little later. Most birds only want fresh kill. Bald Eagles, Alligators, and of course Vultures aren’t so picky.
Images taken in the ACE Basin, Donnelley wildlife area, South Carolina.
Taken on a fishing pier. These birds and I were watching a fisherman that had hooked a huge fish. We all wanted to see what was on the end of the line. It was bending the pole in half.
And yes it’s a fish story. Because just as he was pulling the big catch up, it broke the line. The man just looked around in shock. He was the only one that had even a glimpse at what he (almost) caught.
These Pelican photographs were the consolation prize.
Here a young Brown Pelican paddled by me. Slow and in no hurry so I was able to take my time with a few different settings.
I was most impressed on how clean and fresh the various layers of his wing feathers were. All in perfect rows. View the image large and you can see what I mean.
I would like to say it’s my photographic skills…however I do see this in younger Pelicans. On this site there are multiple Pelican images and the young birds have this look, the older birds with the lighter feathers and white heads do not.
Just an observation with zero facts to support it.
Shrimping season is over. The commercial boats are tied up and having much needed maintenance. However, some of the smaller fishing boats are still going out. Pelicans love these since there is always some scraps / fish going overboard.
Like the shrimper boats these birds will push all around when they see crew cleaning the catch.