Friday, June 29, 2012

An Evening Stream Sitting

Lately my wildlife photography has had to take a backseat to other obligations and family medical issues.  Thankfully the medical issues appear to be behind us and this evening I found time to spend a few hours outdoors.  Looking for a change of pace I headed for a local creek in hopes of finding wildlife in the open along the watercourse.

Although the evening was very hot and humid, once set up I didn't have long to wait.  A squirrel on the north bank crossed over the creek using the only overhanging tree in sight and was soon followed by a redtailed hawk.  The squirrel successfully eluded the hawk as I could hear the squirrel barking a few minutes after the hawk dissapeared from view.  Half an hour later a single wood duck hen flew by followed by a mature bald eagle about fifteen minutes later, both flying at less than tree top height and with no chance for a photograph.

As a thundershower approached my luck changed when a nice whitetail buck stepped into the stream.  Light was failing fast and even with an ISO 500 I the shutterspeed was only 1/40th; not enough to completely freeze the movment and not enough time to change.

In a moment the buck had crossed the water dissapearing into the heavy undergrowth along the stream.  The encounter was shortlived but long enough to capture a couple of images.  I hope to meet this fellow later when his antlers have finished growing. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Great Blue Heron: Flight & Landing

A Great Blue Heron soars across shallow water passing over a sunning alligator

And then picks a more suitable spot to touch down

Canon 60D, Canon 600mm f4 L IS USM
Lake Marian, Florida

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Captures

Whitetail bucks are living a life of leisure as their antlers grow rapidly

The fawns are no longer the wet wobbly legged creatures of a couple of weeks ago, bounding about confidently

And taking time out to scratch the latest bug bite

The male ruby-throated hummingbirds are spending a considerable amount of time perched on high look-outs keeping watch for interlopers

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sword Swallowing: Great Blue Herons Feeding

Feeding time at a great blue heron nest is not a tender moment shared between parents and young

Instead it is an incredibly violent act as hungry young birds stab at the adult with sharp long bills, bills capable of piercing a fish, and then take the adults bill deep into their throat.

Even from a considerable distance the clacking of the bills can be heard easily.

Competition between siblings is intense as each vie for the adults attention

Activity at this nest was not nearly as intense as this nest as it contained only one young bird.  However even though alone, the young bird was still quite insistent upon being fed.

Viera Wetlands, Melbourne Florida.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Incidental Subject: House Wren

As happens so often while trying to photograph one species another ends up giving the photo op of the day

House Wren scolding

I had noticed an old snag standing near a back road where I frequently spotted meadow larks singing.  Deciding to use the car as a blind I parked the car in a position where I could rest the lens on the window sill.  After waiting for a few minutes a house wren began scolding me from the top of an old fence post.

It soon became evident the wren had young inside the post.  Over the next hour the wrens carried insects and spiders to the young birds at the rate of 1-3 per minute.

Each time the wren arrived it perched momentarily checking out its surroundings

Before disappearing inside to feed the ravenous mouths impatiently waiting

The Meadow Larks refused to perch while I was there.  Twice a bird flew up about to perch and then wheeled away; apparently not trusting my auto parked nearby.  However the little wrens more than made up for the larks lack of cooperation.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Late Spring Fritillary Butterflies

As spring melds into summer butterflies can be found wherever flowers are blooming.  Thistle flowers attract a wide variety of insects including the beautiful fritillary butterflies.

I hesitate to attempt to identify these butterflies any further as their are quite a number of different fritillaries with very similar characteristics. 

Two fritillaries share a flower

Blooms, and butterflies; what better way to spend a summer morning.

Canon 60D, Induro tripod, Kirk King Cobra head, Canon 600 F4 IS lens, and Kenko 25mm extension tube.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Hummingbirds on the Wing

The hummingbird activity around my feeder has been increasing as the weather warms.  It started with a single male visiting occasionally well over a month ago.  The visits are frequent now with three males and one female being sighted simultaneously.  With the increased activity it was time to give hummingbird photography another whirl.  The birds in these images are all Ruby-throated males.

The brilliant throat patch from which the Ruby-throated humming bird derives its evident in this photograph.

However in this image the throat appears nearly black.

To capture this series I used the setup described in an August 11th, 2011 post 

Photo gear used
 Induro AT313 alloy 8M tripod, Kirk King Cobra gimbal head, Canon 60D, Canon EOS 600mm F4 IS, and Kenko 25mm extension tube.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

We are Here!!

The frantic activity of the whitetail rut now bears fruit as a new crop of whitetail fawns arrive.  Meandering about on still somewhat wobbly legs this young fawn wasn't sure how to react.  At first it crouched as if about to lie down but then taking its cue from its mother who was not reacting to my approach it relaxed.

Willard and I visited Shenandoah National Park this morning in hopes of photographing the recently birthed fawns.  The fawns have been arriving here for the past two weeks.  Originally we had planned our visit for Friday however with heavy rain in the forecast we postponed until today.  Although the storm had passed it left much cooler temperatures and windy weather in its wake; not ideal conditions to find nursing fawns in open areas.   

After spending a few hours searching for fawns in the meadow we were heading for the exit when we spotted a doe and fawn near the roadside.  Following up on foot, this chance encounter made the difference between success and failure.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Cottontail Grooming

Grooming is a part of wildlife's daily activity

All spiffed up and ready to launch a evening raid on my garden!