At The Beach, Birds, Photography

Shore Birds

Noisy, playful, insistent, curious…

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I’ve got an idea in mind for a new book. And in this little book is where a seagull lives. I needed to get to the beach and  find my seagull. Thankfully this weekend was a perfect beach day kind of weekend. We packed all the usual, sunscreen, towels, body boards, and beach buckets.

My family picked out their spot on the sand and before I could even lay out my towel I spotted a group of my little shore bird friends, in between beach umbrellas and ocean waves. Shore birds and snow birds basking in the Florida winter sun.

Here are some of the images I captured

Shore bird study:

Flight

 

 

Poses

img_5432img_5420Sanderlings 

Not seagulls, but so incredibly cute! Seriously.

 

img_5417img_5431Laughing Gull

Happy little seagulls!

 

Ring-billed Gull

John James Audubon was a fan of this gull…

Or at least according to my interpretation of my Reader’s Digest Book of North American Birds– “John James Audubon himself called it ‘the great American gull.'”

 

The Flock

img_5341Black Skimmers

These are the birds with the long beaks and bright orange coloring. The lower bill is longer than the upper bill and skims the surface of the water as they fly above it. They look as if they love nothing more than to fly just for the joy of it. Maybe it was the morning I was there to see these birds, but they did not seem content to sit still for long. They would take off, rise and fall in synchronized harmony out and up over the ocean– up, down, around, land, repeat.

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Birds

Waiting For Cardinal

morning dove

I’m working on a project. It’s the beginning of what I hope will become a new book with a little cardinal friend.

Last May the kids and I bought a bird feeder for Grandma’s house. To our surprise the first guests to her feeder were cardinals (and of course squirrels).

I bring my camera when ever we visit, but I haven’t been able to get a shot.

This week I tried again. My sweet boy built me an impromptu bird blind. I love his creativity. The cardinals and I both knew I wasn’t very camouflaged, but they seemed to not mind me and my camera as much with palm branches over head.

I sat patiently, hunched up by the palm and up against the Bougainvillea while avoiding the thorny branches. I sat with the ants and lizards, between the clouds that threatened rain all day, and the ground crew that came by with riding lawn mowers and deafening weed-whackers just as the birds appeared and then quickly disappeared.

I made friends with a kitten and talked to the mourning doves.

And waited…

and then I finally got my photo!

This is the first time I’ve tried to camouflage myself. I’m used to the more social pelicans and seagulls who don’t mind an audience. I’m pretty happy with the results.

With the cardinals moving about so quickly in between the thick brush I decided to hand hold my camera instead of my using my bulky tripod.

What tricks do you have for getting tough nature photos?

kitten

photo 2

cardinal

Birds

The Burrowing Owls

I have a book in my mind and in that book is an owl. I don’t know a lot about owls, so I’ve started reading a little about them. One thing I learned that surprised me is that many owls don’t make the “Hoo-Hoo” sound that I’ve always imagined and read aloud in books with my kids. I’ve wondered which type of owl I would photograph for my own book and where I would find one? Like many photographs I see in my mind, I imagine traveling to remote and stunning places to get the shots.

But there they were at the park. They were camouflaged in plain sight. Two beautiful burrowing owls sitting guard by their nest in a little drainage ditch. Right beside the basketball court and across from the playground. We were ready to go and I didn’t see them until I started to back my car up. I pulled back into my spot and grabbed my camera. I was quiet and careful as I approached, thankful I had my long lens. The owls watched me cautiously, but I made sure not to get too close. I don’t know if those little burrowing owls with those beautiful yellow eyes will make it into my book or not, but I love that we found them there in that least expected spot. I’ll have to take the kids back on a quiet morning when we can sit at a distance and watch together, me with my camera and my kids with their binoculars.