It has been a few weeks since I’ve visited their nest. There I saw and heard two chics screaming for more food. They seem to like the fish dinners.
It has been a few weeks since I’ve visited their nest. There I saw and heard two chics screaming for more food. They seem to like the fish dinners. Clearly, they had both parents out scrambling. Still, the parents kept a close eye on the chics. I could see one of the parents return from over the river (empty taloned) and circling high overhead looking for any aerial or ground predators, then returning to the river to hunt down the fish. The chics look to be ready to fledge soon.
You will find today’s shots in the first seventeen photos of my online gallery.
I was shooting in high speed continuous mode using center screen focus. The camera focused in most shots on the background instead of the bird, so only the last two images, above, were marginally fit for presentation.
Unfortunately, the images in this post are of poor quality because the birds are too far away, so they will not appear at my on-line gallery. Instead, I show them here because they tell a story about two juvenile Bald Eagles, one that successfully caught a fish and the other that failed. In fact, the successful bird has likely failed several times also. With time, they will rarely miss a catch.
I was shooting in high speed continuous mode using center screen focus. The camera focused most shots on the background instead of the bird, so only the last two images, above, were marginally fit for presentation. The bird’s actual strike was totally blurred. My alternative would be to use single-point focusing but that would mean getting that one point right on the bird, a tough challenge.
I also re-shot the nesting pair of Osprey’s that you can see in the first eleven photos at my on-line gallery. I could not yet see any of the chicks. Stay tuned.
If you have any interesting shots of raptors I would love to see them.
Ospreys are “snow birds,” they do not stick around for the cold weather.
I recently visited one of our many preserves and ran into these two birds. They were in the process of lining their nest for the upcoming parenting season. Ospreys are “snow birds,” they do not stick around for the cold weather. They generally return to the same nest each year. I’ll return to photograph over the coming weeks once the eggs have hatched. In the meantime, you can find a four-shot sequence here.
Piping Plovers are listed as near threatened, mostly due to our development of shoreline areas. However, their populations are on a slow rise, due to habitat protection, as is the case at Ferry Beach.
Well, with a camera, that is. You got it, the title is adapted from the song. It was a windy day, blowing near 30 MPH with gusts. You can see the blur of the blowing, damp, grainy sand in the photo. Fortunately, the blowing sand was heavy enough that it rose only about two feet from the ground. Sand is really bad news for cameras.
The wind was great news for wind surfers who were struggling to deploy their wings in the strong wind. However, once they launched their wings they were moving about 25 knots over the water, sometimes going about 30 feet airborne. You will find some photos from a prior shoot, here.
Piping Plovers are listed as near threatened, mostly due to our development of shoreline areas. However, their populations are on a slow rise, due to habitat protection, as is the case at Ferry Beach. Actually, their greatest risk here is being hit by the occasional, stray golf ball from the adjacent golf course.
I walked along the beach waiting for photo opps. Seeing none after meandering about half mile down the beach, I started my return. Shortly thereafter I saw a little guy appear on the beach. Like many shorebirds, Plovers let you get relatively close; I began shooting. At this point I decided it was time to sit and wait, camera at the ready. Scanning in all directions, it was not long before I noticed a pair of birds in the grass to my right. They were not moving much and seemed to pose for my camera. After getting many shots, I decided to move to another angle for a different perspective.
Using my camera’s continuous shooting mode, I rattled off 262 frames to get 11 good photos. You will find these photos at my on-line gallery.
The bird I photographed for this post is a juvenile because it has not developed the white feathers of the head and neck.
This season I plan to focus on two subject areas. The first is macro photography, and more specifically, insects. Yes, Insectorama season 4 is in the works! Whether you love or hate them, I am interested in them since most of the good insects are in rapid decline (alas, there is no shortage of biting or otherwise destructive insects–another one of the calamities from climate change).
My other focus is raptors. Although I have done a lot of bird photography, I have few shots of raptors and most of what I have are from afar. So, unlike the photos presented here that are also from afar (and less than super-sharp) I intend to get some close-ups this season. This means finding some good feeding locations for different species and spending time there in wait.
The bird I photographed for this post is a juvenile because it has not developed the white feathers of the head and neck. The rest of its feathers have more pronounced marking than full adults which, as with so many animals, provides camouflage to better protect them until they have gained maximum strength and life skills. By the way, have you ever noticed that raptors never smile?
Although I am getting more technically proficient with video production, the current video would benefit from a tripod to eliminate camera shake. While I do have a second tripod, it is getting increasingly challenging to carry all my equipment when there is significant hiking involved. I might have to hire an assistant! In the meantime, please bear with me. And yes, I could benefit from hiring a voice coach. I will add that to the list. Anyway, here are my four best images from Raptor Hunt.
Hefting my six-pound camera/lens setup, and tripod, I moved around the beach to get the best shots.
New Smyrna Beach is miles long with several vehicle access points. RVs and other vehicles can easily drive along the designated lanes’ hard-packed sands and park for the day. There, one also finds walkers, cyclists, and surfers, the latter wearing wet-suits. Still, it was too cold at 50o F for most swimmers. Among the “snow birds” and local residents were a host of shorebirds that seemed to be relatively comfortable around their much larger counterparts. These shorebirds were the Gulls, Skimmers, Pelicans, and others.
This day the sky was overcast and the winds light–quite perfect for photography. Hefting my six-pound camera/lens setup, and tripod, I moved around the beach to get the best shots. The birds on the ground generally let me approach within 75 feet, enabling me to get a few pretty good compositions.
The surf was up with the approach of a PM southeaster. I went to a few beaches but, alas, no surfers. I guess gusts to 50 MPH deterred them. There were, nevertheless, a couple of people and a group of hunkered-down gulls.
A friend told me about bird banding being conducted by the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) here in Portland, so I stopped by to have a look. The feature attraction was a Northern Saw-whet Owl resting in a tree just above the entry path to the preserve. These birds are just passing through, on their way to Canada. They seem to be pretty comfortable around people.
The staff from the BRI were there to capture song birds so they could record their vital signs along with any prior banding information. Birds without bands were then banded. Aside from showing the birds to us lay folks, the birds were quickly released to minimize stress. Bird banders have to have a federal and state license to capture and handle birds. Here’s a rare Warbler that they were excited to find:
Well, I did in fact return to Presumpscot Falls Park today with the monster camera. No problem today, as I rattled off the frames as the birds flew by. As you can see, I also managed to photograph a Gull flying through. I shot 276 frames to get these images.
Film looks great and I shoot with it most of the time. But when it comes to action and clarity, you can’t beat digital.