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:


  1. I'm a new import to H. Bays, and just saw the ducklings at QWR last Saturday -- they are adorable! I really enjoy following your blog. It's helping me discover and explore so many wild places out here, and your photos are excellent!

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you are enjoying the area - there are a lot of treasures if you keep your eyes peeled.

    - Luke

  3. Awesome photos..Love the ducklings with the waterdroplets.