Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Little blue reflection, Bunche Beach Preserve

Little blue heron with prey at the water's edge

I had a lot of fun last month watching the wading birds in the tidal pools of a low tide at Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida. One of the benefits of getting low next to the water's edge is the fun reflections that develop in the still water.

Little blue heron reflected in a tidal pool at Bunche Beach

It was exciting enough when this little blue heron was working the edge of the pool, but it got even better when it started strolling across the shallows.

Little blue heron looks like its walking on water in southwest Florida

View more of my photographs of herons and egrets

Saturday, April 25, 2015

White ibis eating a crab, Bunche Beach Preserve

White ibis eating a crab at Bunche Beach Preserve, Florida

Continuing my run of posts on wading birds capturing prey from tidal pools, here is a white ibis preparing to swallow a crab. These were perhaps the most interesting feedings to watch, as the crabs had a chance to fight back. With a fish, the birds would very quickly go from capturing to consumption, but it would take a little while to get the crab in the right orientation to swallow it. Especially when the crab used its claws to attempt to hang on to the bill, as is evident in the image below of a different ibis.

Crab hangs on for dear life before being eaten by an ibis

View more of my images of wading birds.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Snowy egret swallows a shrimp, Bunche Beach Preserve

Snowy egret catches a shrimp in Florida

As I commented in my previous post, it was really incredible to see how many different types of prey the wading birds were able to pull from the tidal pools. This snowy egret pulled out a good sized shrimp, then swallowed it whole.

Snowy egret swallowing a shrimp at Bunche Beach

View more of my photographs of herons and egrets.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tricolored heron with a small striped fish, Bunche Beach Preserve

Tricolored heron with small striped fish

I was really amazed at the volume and diversity of prey I saw the wading birds pulling from the tidal pools at Bunche Beach Preserve. Coming from a northern climate, when I see a pool of water in the sand along a beach, I tend to think that there isn't much caught inside. But down along the Gulf Coast, it seemed like there was an endless supply of fish, crabs, and shrimp for the birds to capture. This tricolored heron pulled a small striped silver fish from the pond, flipped it around to drop out the plants, and then quickly tossed it down the hatch.

Tricolored heron tossing small fish in Fort Myers, Florida

View more photographs of herons and egrets.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

White ibis feeding in a tidal pool, Bunche Beach Preserve

White ibis feeding in a tidal pool at Bunche Beach Preserve, Florida

Continuing my tour through the bird species I saw in Florida last month, here's another favorite that I was excited to photograph -- the white ibis. Even though they are fairly common and have relatively plain plumage, their long bill, blue eyes, and bright facial mask really add some photographic flare. This particular ibis is feeding in a tidal pool at the Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers.

View more of my photographs of white ibis and other wading birds.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Juveline roseate spoonbill at Bunche Beach Preserve

Juvenile roseate spoonbill with water droplet at Bunche Beach Preserve

I saw a ton of birds during my two mornings at Bunche Beach Preserve in March, but the highlight was having a chance to photograph this young roseate spoonbill at close range. I think these birds are remarkable, and it was awesome to have it land in the pool I was watching. At the time it arrived, the morning was getting late and I was feeling content with the images I had captured while the light was really nice. I had actually already gotten up and was preparing to start my walk back to the parking lot when I heard a birding tour guide behind me excitedly tell his group "this is a real treat, a roseate spoonbill just arrived!"

Many thanks to that helpful guide for alerting me to this amazing opportunity! The spoonie landed on the far side of the tidal pool, so I returned to my spot at the near edge, laid back down, and watched through my lens as it came closer and closer. On my prior trip to Ft Myers in 2012, I had seen a small flock of roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling NWR, but unfortunately they were far away with no possibility to get closer. This experience was quite the opposite, with the bird meandering back and forth across the tidal pool coming closer and closer to me with the rising tide. I took a lot of photos of this lone bird, but how could I resist that amazing bill!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Little blue heron at Bunche Beach Preserve

Little blue heron at sunrise on Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, Florida

Well, it may have taken me over 3 months, but I've finally sat down to compose my first post of 2015. I haven't had the chance to use my camera all that much during this very cold winter in Boston, but for a few days over spring break in March I was able to return to Fort Myers, Florida. The trip was primarily to see family, but it was great to have a chance to get outside on two mornings to visit the Bunche Beach Preserve on San Carlos Bay. The density and diversity of birds I saw there was exceptional, far exceeding what I was able to photograph on my first trip there back in 2012. I have a ton of images of all kinds of waders in the tidal pools, including some great encounters with little blue herons like the one in the image above.

View more photographs of herons and egrets

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Portrait of an ibis, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Portrait of a white ibis in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

A curious white ibis (Eudocimus albus) strolls close to the photographer while it searches for prey near the shoreline in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Black skimmers at Bunche Beach

Black skimmers

The three bird species that I most wanted to photograph on my trip to Florida were roseate spoonbills, black skimmers, and wood storks. Before my trip I had heard about the large flocks of skimmers that roost on the beaches around Fort Myers and Sanibel, and I was definitely hoping to be able to find them. I'm fascinated by these beautiful and interesting birds, and I had seen them only a few times in northern California (and always at quite a distance). For my first morning of the trip, I headed to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, and a large flock of skimmers was hanging out on a sand bar out on the tidal flats. They were mostly quiet, with a few going through a morning routine of preening at the edge of the water, but anytime some new birds would approach to land, a loud ruckus broke out. Here in this shot, a skimmer that is out of the frame approached too close to this particular bird's stretch of beach, which gave me a great chance to capture the beauty of its beak.

As for the wood storks, I had a chance to see a pair at Ding Darling NWR, but the conditions only allowed for documentary photographs of them. Unexpectedly, my best look at wood storks came as we were driving back to the airport before I flew out. There were a few of them right along the road, and it was really cool to briefly see them up close as we drove by.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roseate spoonbills at sunrise, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

During my short trip to Florida in February, I had one morning scheduled to be in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge for sunrise. Unfortunately, the weather was not on my side as it was overcast with showers likely throughout the day. For a brief moment though, as I watched this group of roseate spoonbills, the rising sun crossed through a break in the clouds and their bright pink plumage was lit up by the golden light.

Spoonies at sunrise

Spoonbills were one of the species I most wanted to photograph on my trip, and I'm glad that I had the chance to watch them as they went through their morning preening routine. Even in the plain overcast light that dominated the morning, their gorgeous pink colors really stood out. I only wish I would have been able to photograph them at closer range -- but there's always next time!

Roseate spoonbills

This post is part of the World Bird Wednesday blog meme -- follow the link to check out this week's posts!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tricolored heron and white ibis, Bunche Beach

A tricolored heron and a white ibis wade through a tidal pool

I had the chance to spend a few days in Florida over a long weekend to visit my grandparents, and I went out each morning at sunrise to do some photography. Florida is an incredible place for birds, and in the first 5 minutes of the drive from the airport after I arrived, I had seen three new species in the ditches along the roads (anhinga, little blue heron, and white ibis) -- amazing! The tricolored heron was another new bird for me, and I was able to photograph this one, along with the white ibis, feeding in a tidal pool at Bunche Beach. There are interesting birds everywhere there, and I can imagine that a few days of dedicated photography could seriously increase a bird photographer's portfolio! I'm already looking forward to the next time I'm able to wander the beaches and mangroves in Florida again!

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