I previously worked as a news and sports photographer. Recently I have been enjoying wildlife photography. My approach toward bird photos is similar to sports photography. I attempt to capture mostly action and hopefully a unique perspective.
Earlier today I was watching our surprise spoonbill visitor feeding in the salt marsh during low tide. At one point he decided to jump off and hop over to a nearby oyster bed to take care of business. This sent some poor unfortunate willet running away in a panic when he looked up and realized this huge pink thing was heading right for him!
After landing, spoonie seemed quite pleased with himself and appeared to get a laugh out of sending off the little shore bird.
Last night we had one spoonbill unexpectedly show up in the salt marsh. This is unprecedented for us to have one arrive in April! Normally I would start looking for spoonbills in late June or early July so it was a real treat to have this individual stop in for a welcome visit. This also appears to be an older bird that is in breeding color. Note the yellow around it’s face and shoulder patches as well as some yellow on it’s tail.
The first two photos are from last night just prior to sunset and the lighting conditions were unfortunately dark and gloomy. I went back this morning and we found him far back in the marsh so he stayed over night which was a good sign. I managed to get the three flight shots this morning as he flew across the marsh headed toward the swamp area.
The speculation right now is…could this be the return of Mr. Cranky?!? We think it’s possible since this is something that goofy spoonie would very possibly do. He was always kind of a loner and this spoonbill seemed very familiar with the entire marsh area, he knew exactly where to go at what times of the day, so he clearly had spent some considerable time here.
In any case I’m hoping that this one sticks around and it would be even better if more pink birds showed up. Although, if this Mr. Cranky he would probably be happier if no other spoonbills showed up!
The Anhinga is one of the few birds whose common name and scientific name are the same. Not only that but its genus and species are the same, Anhinga anhinga. It might be thought of as the bird’s first and last name.
With that in mind… here are two anhingas fishing this morning. The anhinga hunts by swimming under water and spearing a fish on the end of it’s sharp bill. It then must get the fish off it’s bill to eat it, so the anhinga does that by flipping the fish up into the air for a head first swallow.
Many of you will remember seeing “Radar”, the great egret that has a transmitter pack attached to his back with antennas sticking out. Well earlier this afternoon he wanted to fish in his usual spot at the edge of the salt marsh except someone else was already there!
Radar was not at all pleased that an alligator decided to nap in his favorite fishing hole and thought that possibly a vigorous display of wing flapping might send the intruder off.
Apparently the alligator was not aware that Radar is head bird out there, or more likely he didn’t care because a short time later it was Radar who was gone while the unimpressed gator continued on with his afternoon nap.
Normally when I see green herons they are very purposeful and busy sorts of birds. They can most often be found intently stalking the marsh area for small fish, shrimp, and other types of aquatic species.
However, I recently found this green heron taking a break from its feeding duties and enjoying a bit of early evening down time by relaxing on a conveniently located stump along the edge of the pond.
Yesterday evening, just at sunset, I was watching this juvenile yellow-crowned night heron stalking the edge of the marsh pond in search of the tasty little crabs that are such a favored menu item for them. This youngster was such a patient hunter and, as the sun began to set, I had just about given up seeing him catch anything and I decided to leave.
But, as I was walking away, I glanced back just in time to see the wily young night heron walking back up onto the rocks with a crab he had just plucked from the marsh! It turns out we were both rewarded for our patience.
Earlier in the week I saw this female anhinga drying her wings along the edge of the marsh pond. I quickly noticed she displayed the bright ‘eye makeup’ colors that indicate breeding condition. The males also will display a similar color pattern at this time of year but I thought the Mrs. looked particularly fashionable all decked out with her formal makeup applied!
Around this same time another female came flying in and I grabbed a shot for comparison. You can see this lady is not in breeding color so perhaps her turn will come next season.