Tag Archives: Tropical

Perfect At Hiding

Owls can blend into their surroundings better than most animals. A small Screech Owl can be invisible.

The only reason we found this little guy was another photographer, a local person, gave us detailed landmarks along a trail. Even then we missed him several times.

 

Screech Owl
Screech Owl
Screech Owl
Screech Owl

The Barred Owl in the Everglades region is perfectly fine with hunting in the daylight. This poor guy couldn’t keep his eyes open.

 

Willets On The Beach

Until recently I had no idea what a Willet was. Everything smaller than an Egret was a ‘piper’ to me. I really missed out not paying attention.

Willet
Willet

One thing that struck me was they had no fear of waves, or knew how to handle them. Consider their size, 17 inches, a small wave was like a tsunami to them.

Willet
Willet

Unlike a Plover or Piper that frantically runs back and forth following waves a Willet casually strolls along.

I found if a stood still at the waters edge a Willet would completely ignore me, walk past, and continue looking for treasures.

 

Wildlife Sunset Photography

Wildlife photography is what I do. Maybe I’m in a rut, maybe it’s a specialty. Whatever it is most all my photos involve animals.

I have friends, photographers, that feel the same way about sunsets. They live on the shore and beautiful sunsets happen often. I love their work, unfortunately I rarely get to an area open enough to even practice a shot like that.

However…

Sunset with Pelican
Sunset with Pelican

Several evenings while we were in Florida we closed the day at the Gopher Tortoise preserve. A beautiful beach included.

White Ibis At Sunset
White Ibis At Sunset

 

Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset
Willet At Sunset

I was able to shoot unbelievable sunsets, some of my favorites birds, and with no hiking or bugs. Not bad.

 

 

Red Shoulder Hawks

While in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida I was told by a ranger all the Hawks I might find would be Red Shoulders. He said it was pretty rare to see any other type in that area.

Coming from Connecticut I found that strange. We must have 10 – 15 different kinds of Hawks. In fact I had only seen a Red Shoulder up close this past winter.

IMG_9694-2
Red Shoulder Hawk

 

IMG_9711-1
Red Shoulder Hawk at dawn

 

We hiked through swamps, pine forests, and saw grass marshes and I must have seen Red Shoulders 2 or 3 times each day. They appear to have acclimated to most all the Florida terrain. However I don’t remember seeing any on the shore line. Ospreys are very territorial so most likely they drive them away.

Watching The Great Egret

One of the things I had hoped to accomplish on the this trip was to shoot a series of a Great Egret. The Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret are the 2 largest wading birds.

Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)
Great Egret (click to view)

The first hike of the week found one within an hour. A good start.

When you see a Great Egret in person you know right away, really big birds. The smaller Snowy Egrets also have bright yellow feet. Of course it’s not always obvious since they stand around in water most of the day.

I have read they also hunt differently, one has his beak out straight, the other neck bent. That kind of detail is beyond me. You would need to hang out in swamps or water a little more than I care to for that expertise.

 

 

Barred Owl Family

The first morning in Corkscrew Swamp went from a very slow walk, stalking a Snowy Egret, to complete and total chaos in a split second.

In the tree tops right above us 2 very large birds were screaming and fighting. The trees blocked any photos but we could see them plowing between branches.

Barred Owl.

One bird had chased another, then landed back near us. It turned out to be a Barred Owl. For quite some time the Hawk and the Owl went back and forth through the trees and over a small swamp area.

Barred Owlet
Barred Owlet
Barred Owlet
Barred Owlet

We found 2 Owlets hiding in the trees nearby. They looked a little big for the Hawk but obviously Mom was taking no chances.

The Owls had no interest in us at all. Drawn by the noise other photographers came to the swamp edge. The Owl  family of 4 ignored us and hunted along the waters edge. The Hawks and food were important, we were just one more ‘critter’ among all the other swamp residents.

Click here for a quick review of our photo shoot week.

 

First Anhinga Photos

Before this photo trip I had never seen an Anhinga except from afar. I assumed they were Cormorants.  Seen close they are really beautiful birds.

Anhinga
Anhinga

Anhinga’s are also called Snake birds, they swim with only their neck and head above water. Piano birds is another name based on their wing feather shape and colors.

Like Cormorants they lack body oil for their feathers so they must spend time with wings held wide, drying off. They are much bigger than our local Cormorants.

Click here for a quick review of our photo shoot week.