Tag Archives: shorebird

One More Shorebird – a Willet

It’s a rainy morning along the coast of North Carolina. I supposed I could suck it up and head out to try and make some images anyway, but I’m going to wimp out and stay inside instead! While raining days can make for some great photographic opportunities… and the dampness can help quiet your movements in the forest… I’m simply not in the mood to deal with rain today Instead I think I’ll share a few photos from an outing a few days ago, then work on a bit of marketing. Nice “high and dry” activities.

Today’s image offerings are of a Willet taken within the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve. As is often the case with my shorebird photographs, I took these images from my kayak. I like using the kayak for making these kinds of photographs because the birds are sometimes more tolerant of an approach from the water.

Willet at the mouth of Deep Creek and Taylors Creek, Beaufort, North Carolina

A classic Willet pose, one of the more common shorebirds found along the North Carolina coast.
Willet, Crystal Coast North Carolina.

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Greater Yellowlegs

I enjoy finding these birds when I’m out doing shorebird photography from kayak. One of the larger shorebirds, these are migrants. They travel to Canada for breeding in the Spring then winter in warmer climates… including the North Carolina coast. A somewhat similar looking and named bird, the Lesser Yellowlegs, is difficult to tell apart unless you find them together. The Greater is larger, has a slightly upturned bill that tends to be blue-gray near its base.

For shorebird photography I like to work from my kayak. Even though I’m approaching from the water, these birds can be a little skittish… ok, most shore birds can be a bit skittish… so a slow, careful approach is called for. The best bet is if you can let the wind and/or current drift you into camera range. If you need to paddle you need to keep the paddle movement to a minimum. Don’t make a direct approach of the bird is bound to take to wing.

Making photographs of small shorebirds from a kayak requires a long lens and hand holding rather than using a nice, sturdy tripod. The combination of a telephoto lens and hand holding the camera sets up a bit of risk of camera shake and motion blur. The trick is to keep the shutter speed fast to minimize the effects of this problem.

Greater Yellowlegs at Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

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Jonathan Livingston I Presume?

Perhaps the most often over looked bird by avian photographers, it seems the lowly seagull simply gets no respect. Considering “locals” use terms like “sky rats” to describe them I suppose it’s little wonder that we don’t bother pointing our lenses at them if there’s anything else around to photograph. Still, tourist find the fascinating. And really, who didn’t crack a smile during the movie “Finding Nemo” when all the gulls were chanting “mine… mine… mine?” Frankly I think these birds get a bit of a bad rap. They can make for interesting photographic subjects. So without further excuse or apology, here are a couple photos of a young laughing gull. I do hope you enjoy it.

A Young Laughing Gull on a Perch

Laughing gull along the Noth Carolina coast.

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Terns in Flight

A while back one of my camera bodies failed. Since it was getting a bit out-dated I decided to replace it with a newer Canon 7D. Of course I’m all too familiar with the internet chatter about this model being bad for noise and other pixel peeping short-comings but decided to buy one anyway. I haven’t used the camera enough to come to a concrete decision about how I like it but I do know it’s pretty dandy for shooting birds in flight. The auto-focus is quick and accurate, doing a good job of tracking birds, even those coming almost straight at the camera. With an 8 fps rapid fire mode it’s great for catching action. Here are a few shots of some terns in flight I took while on a recent paddle.

Tern in flight over the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

Tern in flight shot with a Canon 7D

Tern in flignt near Beaufort, NC

Tern in flight

wildlife prints

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American Oyster Catchers, One Banded

The other morning I had the pleasure of photographing a couple American Oyster Catchers. One of them was banded and I was able to read the markings in the photo. I then reported the sighting online at http://amoywg.org/. There’s a fairly simple online form you fill out, providing as much information as you can. Once your bird is confirmed the sighting is added to their data base. They also send you an email telling you when the bird was first captured and banded as well as listing other sightings of that bird. If you sight a banded American Oyster Catcher and you’re able to read and of the codes I encourage you to file a report.


American Oyster Catcher along Taylor's Creek.

Banded American Oyster Catcher feeding on a oyster bed in Deep Creek.

Amercian Oyster Catcher.

coastal prints

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Black Bellied Plover – Winter Plumage

While on my paddle the other morning I spied a plover searching the mouth of Deep Creek for a morning snack. I made a slow, drifting approach to see if I could get a few photos. As I got nearer I could see that it was a Black Bellied Plover, still in its winter plumage. It didn’t seem to mind my presence and I was able to get a few photos of this little bird as it worked the shoreline hunting for a few tasty morsels.


A Black Bellied Plover near the mouth of Deep Creek  in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

The Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve is a wonderful location for viewing shorebirds.

Black Bellied Plover photographed near Beaufort, North Carolina.

The Crystal Coast is home to a large varitey of birds.

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Snowy Egret at Low Tide

I decided to go for a paddle yesterday morning. As always, I had my camera along with the hope of getting a few images. I was fortunate to come across a couple of very cooperative Snowy Egrets that allowed me to watch and photograph them as they hunted an oyster bed exposed by the low tide. Here are a few of the shots.


A Snowy Egret hunts along the mouth of Deep Creek

Snowy Egret at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

Snowy Egret near Beaufort, NC

A Snowy Egret stalks its breakfast

A Snowy Egret fishing

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American Oyster Catcher in Flight

Just a simple, single image post today. Here’s a photo of an American Oyster Catcher in Flight near Beaufort, North Carolina. In reference to my previous post of tricks to improve your photography you may notice that I used the rule of thirds in selecting the placement of the subject, made sure the eye was sharp and in focus and left space in front of the bird for it to “move into.” Can you find any more of my “ten tricks” applied in this image?

 

American Oyster Catcher in Flight

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Juvenile White Ibis Along the Crystal Coast

The White Ibis exists in large numbers along the eastern Carolina coast. I see many, many of them and, to be honest, find photographing them to be a bit boring. While the down curved bill is kind of interesting the plain white plumage is kind of… well… ho-hum! That said, I find the young birds quite a bit more interesting. Immature White Ibis are anything but white! The browns and grays make their plumage more interesting… at to me. While paddling along Taylor’s Creek the other morning, on my way to visit the wild horses hanging out on Town Marsh Island, I came upon a juvenile White Ibis perched in a tree. I couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos. I thought the bent, crooked limbs of the tree created an interesting frame around the bird. Below are a couple of the resulting images.


Juvenile White Ibis perched along Taylor's Creek on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Immature White Ibis.

bird photos

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White Ibis and Little Blue Heron Along the Beaufort NC Waterfront

I had the opportunity to launch my kayak and do a little wildlife photography the other morning. It was an extremely winding morning, making it a little difficult to hold position while shooting. The fast moving air, however, help provide some relief from the heat and humidity of the morning. All in all it was a nice way to spend the morning.

White Ibis along Taylors Creek

Little Blue Heron along North Carolina's Crystal Coast

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