Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Caspian tern taking flight, Point Reyes National Seashore

Tern taking flight - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While strolling Limantour Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore earlier this month, I was disappointed to have not found any flocks of shorebirds. However, once I crossed over to the estuary-side, I was treated to a flock of 20 or so Caspian terns relaxing on the exposed mudflats. I've often had a hard time getting close to any terns, but I decided to go for it with these birds since they didn't fly away at the sight of my coming through the cut in the dunes.

We have liftoff - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

I did a lot of belly-crawling to get close to the flock. I decided that I didn't want to push it, so I started sliding along the wet mud from quite a distance away. The wet pants and sand in my pockets was totally worth it though, as I was able to creep close enough to get some nearly full frame images. For a while I just watched them nap and preen, but eventually they started to stir, and every now and then a bird would take flight. I tried my best to get the lens onto an active bird as quickly as possible, and while I missed a bunch I was lucky to be looking at this one as it took to the air, and it happened to call out while it did.

Tern passing by - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- follow the link to check out this week's posts.

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To all of my local followers -- I'm trying to cut down on the stock of photos that I'll be moving with me to Boston. Thus, I'm having a 50% off sale of in-stock prints ($22 for 11x14 prints and $18 for 8x10 prints). To see a sampling of the availability and get more info, see my Craigslist posting.

Feel free to email me with questions or to make arrangements to purchase a photo. I'll be in the Berkeley area until next Wed.

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24 comments:

  1. Wonderful shots and again, thanks for tell the tale of the fact they did not come easy and of the work you put in the obtain them.

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  2. Beautiful action shots, Pat. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  3. Excellent flight shots Pat.
    I love that first one.

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  4. I think I could spot one of your shots a mile away Pat. Your making that low eye to eye perspective your hallmark. One can only wonder how you keep the sand out of your equipment!

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  5. Fantastic shots of these beautiful birds! (I wish I'd had a camera when I was young enough to crawl on my belly through the ssand ;>)....ah well, I still wouldn't have had your remarkable talent.)

    You will have some wonderful photos to add to your memories when you move East.

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  6. Takes my breath away! Perfection!

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  7. Hey Pat,

    I really like the shots. Caspien tern popular out there or rarer? The first one is my fav. Other darn terns poking their ass into the last two. This was especially great considering the technical difficulty. I always have trouble panning with a subject or focusing on a moving subject with an actual background and not a blue sky behind it. Nice work.

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  8. Superb flight shots.. a beautiful bird.

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  9. Great shots of the Terns! Well done!

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  10. Beautiful photos. I appreciate the trouble you went to crawl along like that. Thanks for sharing the results!

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  11. Wonderful with the distinctive orange beak.

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  12. Hi there - great shots of the Caspian’s - it's one of few birds (wader apart) that we share. Had the chance to watch, photograph and band (or is it ring?) these birds. They are really splendid. Noisy and a wee bit aggressive when you have their chicks in your hand - but splendid none the less!

    Cheers _ Stewart M - Australia

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  13. Lotsa effort to get those shots - fantastic results!

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  14. beautiful shots pat, I have yet to get really close to terns but would like to. Ill have to prepare myself mentally for the crawling in the mud next time Im on the Estero trail :)

    Randy
    www.wildlifist.com
    Wildlife of California

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  15. Just beautiful! you went to a lot of work to get these fantastic images - I'm glad you shared that!

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  16. I admire your dedication, Pat. Beautiful shots! And welcome to the Northeast. It will open an entirely new field for you: birding in ice and snow.

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  17. Your photos are such an inspiration to strive for more--LOVE these terns with their bright orange beaks just awesome!

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  18. Incredible shots of the Caspian Tern Pat! You worked hard for those but as you say, the effort was most certainly well worth it!

    I look forward to your posts from Massachusetts but I'm sure you will miss the bay area, especially Point Reyes.

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  19. Beautiful photos well captured.

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  20. Hello friends,

    There is increasing evidence that migratory shorebird populations throughout the world are declining. Shorebirds using the East-Asian Australasian Flyway are under threat from widespread habitat destruction, especially prevalent at staging areas in East Asia. Australia, home to 38 species of migratory shorebird during the non-breeding season is uniquely placed to assess the impacts of these threats on shorebird numbers. Thanks a lot.....

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  21. Those are among the best caspian stern shot's i have seen!

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