Thursday, May 20, 2010

Florida Birds!

I'm issuing a disclosure that these birds were NOT photographed on Long Island - but rather in Downtown Orlando last weekend... but some of them find their way up here so it's not completely off base.  I ended up with 7 new species photographed and was amazed at how approachable Florida birds were, as well as the diversity in a Downtown area.  Enjoy. (Above and Below: Tri-colored Heron)

Wood Ducks were everywhere... much more prevalent, and a lot less skittish then on Long Island:

The southern companion to our Double Crested (and much rarer Great) Cormorant, is the Aningha, considered a Darter.  This bird is quite similar in appearance, though it's head/neck are noticeably skinnier and the bird is larger than the DC Cormorant:

Another species that was found pretty much everywhere was the Common Moorhen - quite similar to the American Coot we see during the winter - but with a little more color and attitude.  It was breeding season for these birds, so there were plenty of chicks as well.

Not the cutest bird...

The southern cousin to the Glossy Ibis is the White Ibis that was easily approachable:

The Green Heron was another great surprise.  I was relaxing in the shade on a bench when it swooped in to feed from a semi-submerged branch.  I've seen this species once before in Sag Harbor but got terrible photos of it - this was a vast improvement:

Lastly, there is the Pileated Woodpecker, which my loving family spotted for me (as I told them to be on the lookout for anything with wings).  I couldn't believe how large this species of woodpecker is and was happy to get some really nice looks and angles.

I also saw/photographed my first Red-Shouldered Hawk which was being chased by a RWBB (red-winged black bird) and a pair of Black Vultures that were circling above the hotel - but the quality of those photos is far from great so we'll leave them out!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Short on Words, Long on Birds

Someone who has posted a link to my blog claimed it was "short on words" - a comment I won't dispute but I'll take it to the extreme on this blog post.  All photos were taken over the last 2 weeks.  Enjoy. (Above and Below: Yellow Warbler, Roe Ave., East Patchogue)

Carolina Wren (Same location as above birds):

A peregrine falcon continues to hangout near the Ponquogue Bridge:

Killdeer babies:

Notice the 4 legs beneath this adult killdeers body....

The Glossy Ibis have returned to their favorite compost pile:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ducklings and more

The other day I visited Quogue Wildlife refuge in the hopes of photographing the carnivorous plant known as sundew, but quickly became distracted by a mother and her 8 ducklings.  Unfortunately the lighting was non-existent so I was forced to swap lenses frequently in an effort to squeeze out as much light as possible by using the largest aperture (smallest f-stop) possible.  My 300 let me shoot at f4, while my 105 + 1.7X let me shoot at f/4.5, but only at 180mm.  The biggest problem was that the ducklings wouldn't sit still for a second, so my shutter speed had to be high which meant my ISO had to be high... my percentage of "keepers" would have been much higher if there had been some sunshine, but I'm happy with what I was able to capture.

Eastern Bluebird:
A few days prior to my duckling adventure, I went to EPCAL to photograph bluebirds which nest near the roadway in nesting boxes erected a few years ago.  It looks like they are a little behind the pace last year, as I didn't spot any females, but quite a few males that were trying to stake their claim.  This one was banded, and I have submitted the appropriate information to the USGS who forwards that to the group they believe are responsible - I'm still waiting to hear about the birds origins but will report back when I find out.

Here is a photo of another bluebird from the day before which isn't banded:

Peregrine Falcon and Clapper Rail:
Yesterday after not seeing anything of note along Dune Rd. I found this Peregrine Falcon drying its feathers after a severe downpour on the big coast guard tower.  I've seen Peregrine Falcons here fairly regularly over the last few months and am curious if there will be a nesting pair in the future on one of the CG structures of the Ponquogue Bridge.

Mike Lotito, at the same time I was photographing the Peregrine, had found a Clapper Rail (he heard it first) and eventually photographed it as it poked its head out.  I joined him in the same spot this evening and we waited for a while, listening to its distinct call.  After a bit, I tried to approach from the south in hopes of seeing it through the vegetation and sure enough it popped out long enough for me to get a few photos.  Unfortunately, the storm clouds were blocking the sun again, so they don't compare to previous photos of this species I've gotten. Shortly after this the sun popped back out - figures.

Ring-Necked Pheasant:
After leaving the Clapper Rail, Mike and I headed in search of the Peregrine (which was absent) but found this Ring-Necked Pheasant (an import from Asian which is now "wild") along Dune Rd. which was a bit of a surprise to me as I've never seen one in these parts.

Pine Warbler:
Lastly, on Saturday I took a brief foray into the woods in hopes of seeing some Warblers which everyone was seeing this weekend - I didn't have much time but found both a Common Yellowthroat and a Pine Warbler seen here: