Showing posts with label wildlife photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wildlife photography. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mule deer behind the dunes, Point Reyes National Seashore

Photograph of a mule deer behind the dunes in Point Reyes National Seashore

Continuing with my run of fog-shrouded images from last summer, here is a mule deer doe (above) and her juvenile (below) enjoying the summer wildflowers in Point Reyes National Seashore. I began my day in the park with a morning drive out to Chimney Rock and encountered this pair along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The backside of the large dunes of the outer peninsula are in the background, and if it wasn't for the fog, the Pacific would be visible beyond them.

Photograph of a young mule deer in the tall grass

View more of my photographs of mule deer.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sanderling in the last rays of sunlight, Parker River NWR

Photograph of a sanderling on the beach at sunset

I'm always preferential to the sunrise when I have the chance, but last autumn I had a couple of really successful sunset trips in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. I spent about an hour working with a friendly flock of sandpipers at the Lot 7 beach in pleasant evening light, but as the sun prepared to slip behind the dunes this sandpiper really started glowing in the warm final rays.

View more photographs of sanderlings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Least tern delivers a fish, Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of a least tern delivering a fish to its partner

While I was watching this least tern incubating its two eggs on the beach, I had the pleasure of observing its partner bring it a fish. In the excitement of this unexpected moment, I unfortunately clipped the tips of the wings of the bird who stopped by only briefly enough to hand off the fish and fly off again. While I'm excited to have a nice record of the moment, I'm a bit bummed that I made such a technical error. I waited around for a while longer to see if I would be lucky to witness another exchange, but unfortunately it never came. A valuable lesson that I've heard before, but failed to execute, is that when photographing birds that are likely to flap their wings (like in this case, or especially with birds that are bathing in shallow water), it's always better to zoom out and leave extra space. You can always crop away the excess later, but you can't regain the tips of those wings in post-processing.

Photograph of a pair of least terns on their nest sharing a fish

View more photographs of terns.

Submitted to Wild Bird Wednesday -- follow the link for this week's posts!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Reddish egret chasing a fish, Bunche Beach Preserve

Photograph of a reddish egret flapping its wings while hunting

On my trip to southwest Florida in March, one of the most exciting species to see, other than the roseate spoonbill I've previously posted, was the reddish egret. This bird was a lifer for me, and we first saw one at quite a distance through a docent's scope at Ding Darling NWR. At the time, I had no idea that I would have the privilege to photograph one at relatively close range each of the next two mornings at Bunche Beach Preserve. They are such a beautiful species, and their goofy running, jumping, and flapping behavior while chasing fish was really a sight to behold. Its comical movements reminded me quite a lot of Big Bird from Sesame Street!

View more of my photographs of egrets and herons.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Willet on a quiet morning, Bunche Beach Preserve

Photograph of a willet in a tidal pool at Bunche Beach Preserve

Warm morning light, still water, and the slow gait of this willet through the shallow tidal pool combine to transport me to a serene setting of quiet solitude. While the beach had plenty of action that morning, this image encapsulates the internal silence I often experience while photographing wildlife.

View more photographs of willets.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Portrait of a juvenile white ibis, Bunche Beach Preserve

Photographic portrait of a juvenile white ibis in Florida

I've been posting a series of photographs lately of tiny juvenile piping plovers, so I thought I'd mix it up with a substantially larger youngster. This handsome bird is a less than a year-old white ibis that I photographed in March at Bunche Beach Preserve in Ft Myers, Florida. Seeing this species is a highlight of any trip to Florida, and we saw probably 20 or so juveniles on a kayaking trip through the mangroves in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Though it wasn't until the next morning that I was able to get a close enough view to see those beautiful blue eyes.

View more photographs of white ibises and other wading birds.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Piping plover parent with chick underwing, Sandy Point State Reservation

Wildlife Photography by Pat Ulrich: Plovers &emdash; Plover parent with one chick under its wing

Another interesting tidbit I came across while reading up on piping plovers recently, in addition to what I posted yesterday about plover chicks being entirely responsible for feeding themselves, is related to the role of the parents. While both the male and female share responsibility for incubating the nest, it is relatively common for the female to abandon the brood within a week of the chicks hatching. That leaves the male in charge of protecting the chicks until they fledge a few weeks later. I'm not sure if this is a male or female parent, but there is a very young chick tucked under its left wing. You can see a tiny leg sticking out and the top of its downy head under the popped-up feathers.

View more photographs of plovers

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tiny voracious predator, Piping plover chick at Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of a piping plover chick chasing prey in Massachusetts

When I was looking up information about how to identify a piping plover fledgling, I came across an interesting fact -- piping plover chicks are entirely responsible for feeding themselves! While watching the chicks on the beach at Sandy Point Reservation on multiple occasions this summer, I was interested to observe how much time they seemed to spend catching bugs. They appeared to be on a constant search for food, which now makes a lot of sense to me. It would also seem to explain why all of the chicks in the same clutch would often run in separate directions after warming up under their parent. Pretty incredible to think that a few hours after they hatch, these adorable tiny predators are already leaving the nest and looking for prey.

Browse more of my photographs of plovers.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Early morning blues, Piping plover on Plum Island

Photograph of a piping plover fledgling at Sandy Point State Reservation

Nothing much to be blue about on this morning (or any morning when you're out to do some photography at sunrise!) unless you're the morning light reflecting off the water in the background. I took this photograph on a mid-July trip to Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island, and I suspect that this is a fledgling from one of the piping plover clutches I saw as tiny chicks in early June.

View more of my photographs of piping plovers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Curious piping plover chick, Sandy Point State Reservation

Shallow DOF photograph of a young piping plover

The uneven sand along the high tide line of Sandy Point State Reservation made for an fun setting to photograph this piping plover chick as it curiously checked out the photographer laying in the sand. At times, some objects in the wrack obstructed the frame, but when it stepped into the right location, it was exciting to capture this dreamy effect of an exaggeratedly shallow depth of field.

Photograph of a curious piping plover chick in Massachusetts

Browse more photographs of plovers in my Plovers Gallery.

Submitted to Wild Bird Wednesday -- follow the link for this week's posts.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Overcast pronghorn portraits, Yellowstone National Park

Photograph of an alert pronghorn at the edge of the forest in Yellowstone National Park

During our 2011 road trip through Yellowstone National Park, we spent plenty of time driving the loop roads looking for wildlife. On this particular afternoon, some nice high-level clouds moved in and provided lovely diffuse overcast light during what would otherwise generally be a non-photographic time for me (~2pm in the afternoon). It provided a great opportunity for a chance encounter with a pair of pronghorn close to the road near the Lamar Valley.

Photograph of a curious pronghorn glancing to the side in Yellowstone

I really liked this setting for these portraits with the edge of the evergreen forest in the background. Most of my photographic opportunities with pronghorn came in more traditional prairie grasslands, so it was awesome to have a chance to diversify the setting with this series. This pronghorn hung around for a while and was kind enough to pose for a series of portraits as it observed the gathering crowd.

Photograph of a pronghorn watching a gathering crowd in Yellowstone National Park

View more of my pronghorn photography.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bull moose in the forest, Grand Teton National Park

Bull moose in the forest in Grand Teton National Park

Perhaps even more than wanting to photograph pronghorn on our 2011 road trip, I really wanted to have a chance to add some moose to my galleries -- and Grand Teton National Park did not disappoint! Each of our three mornings in the park were spent searching for moose in the sagebrush before they moved into the forest in the early morning. The Gros Ventre River corridor was a hotspot, leading so some very memorable morning encounters.

View more of my photographs of moose in Grand Teton National Park.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Herd of pronghorn at sunset, Grand Teton National Park

Photograph of a small herd of pronghorn at sunset in Grand Teton National Park

On our 2011 road trip through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the chance to photograph pronghorn was high on my wish list. I've long been fascinated by this species, and on our first evening in the park, we were treated to some up-close visuals right along the side of the road. The light was fading fast, so I barely managed any reasonably sharp frames, but it was a really special encounter so see this herd up close. We would see pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park only a few more times in our 3 days there and always at a far distance. Though we were treated to some very nice breakfast encounters with a small herd of pronghorn each morning as we drove through the Gardiner entrance to Yellowstone throughout the next week.

View more of my pronghorn photography.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bison on the prairie at sunset, Grand Teton National Park

Photograph of a bison on the prairie at sunset in Grand Teton National Park

I'm changing things up a bit for this post and delving into the archives. I was recently thinking about the awesome trip we had through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in 2011, and I recalled that there were still some images I had marked to process but never did. One such memorable experience in Grand Teton National Park was watching a herd of bison grazing on the prairie while the sun set behind the mountains. It was so impressive to see the large bison herds, but these two images of a solitary bison feeding on the expansive prairie captured the serenity of the sunset scene.

Photograph of a bison on the range in Grand Teton National Park

View more of my photographs of bison.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Little blue heron shows off a silver fish, Bunche Beach Preserve

Photograph of a little blue heron that caught a silver fish in Florida

This little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) put on quite a show for me as a watched it hunt for a half-hour at Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida. It had a terrific success rate as it struck at fish below the surface of the tidal pool. Here, it proudly showed me a full view of its silver prize before quickly swallowing it whole.

Browse more of my photographs of herons and egrets.

This post shared with Wild Bird Wednesday -- follow the link for this week's posts!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Snowy egret amidst snowy reflections, Bunche Beach Preserve

Photograph of a snowy egret hunting in a tidal pool in front of other white birds

The reflections were really fun to work with as the tide was rising in these quiescent tidal pools at Bunche Beach Preserve in Florida. By elevating the camera a little above the water it was possible to capture reflections of an entire bird. When I dropped my lens down to essentially resting on the ground, the reflections became wondrously elongated -- as shown here with this snowy egret in front of a backdrop of white ibises.

Browse more of my photographs of egrets and herons.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Piping plover chick exploring the beach, Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of a baby piping plover searching among the shells on the beach

I've been pursuing clean foregrounds and backgrounds on the beach with my shorebird photography lately, but it was really exciting when this tiny chick started walking toward me through the tide-line of shells.

Photograph of a newborn piping plover chick on Plum Island, Massachusetts

This interesting setting provided some variations in color and pattern to set up the scene and really helped to illustrate just how tiny this young chick was.

Photograph of a baby piping plover chick surrounded by seashells at Sandy Point State Reservation

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Least tern on its nest in the sand, Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of a least tern incubating its eggs in a nest in the sand

This summer, I have primarily been enthralled with photographing the piping plover chicks at Sandy Point State Reservation in Massachusetts, but there are other species of breeding birds in the park as well. While there were a handful of little tern chicks running about the beach already, this adult was taking care of its two eggs nestled into a small depression in the sand.

Least tern looks as its two eggs at Sandy Point State Reservation in Massachusetts

View more photographs of terns and gulls.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Peeking piping plover, Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of a piping plover chick peeking out from behind its mother

I took a trip out to Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island again last week, and the baby plovers are growing up. There were two youngsters with this parent in the early morning light, which were significantly larger than when I was there in June, but not yet fledged. I did see a couple of really young chicks too, as well as an adult plover that appeared to be incubating a nest. What a special place that relatively small stretch of beach is with all of the breeding birds.

View more of my photographs of plovers.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reacquainted with the sunrise

Photograph of a piping plover chick approaching its parent in early morning light

I’ve written many times on this blog about my love of experiencing the first light of the day. While the brilliant colors of sunset are just as visually pleasing, the sunrise provides a much stronger fuel for my soul. With the less than ideal amount of sleep I get during the semester, coupled with the lengthening days of spring feeding into summer, it had been a long time since I felt the warm glow of the first rays touch my face. Even though Plum Island is over an hour away and we were near the earliest mornings of the year due to the solstice, the gravitational pull of the chance to photograph tiny piping plover chicks in warm morning light was strong enough to get me out for the sunrise twice last month and again earlier this week. There’s magic at the leading edge of the day, and it feels great to be reacquainted again!