Getting Where the Birds Are: Using a Kayak for Photography.

If you haven’t noticed my kayak has become one of my favorite tools for taking photographs of birds. There’s really only one reason for this recently discovered love affair; the kayak gets you to where the birds are. Not only does it get you to the birds, the birds are more tolerant of a water approach than they are of a land approach. Shooing shore birds from a kayak also has another advantage, you’re pretty much guaranteed a shot taken on the birds eye-level. You can look through my recent image postings and see lots of examples of this wonderful, low perspective.

The kayak can also be used to get you where the action is. That action might be birds in flight, birds diving into the water to snag a meal, or birds perched and/or nesting above the water. It’s not just for photographing wading shore birds. This morning I made a trip over to Rachel Carson Estuarine Reseve. I started out with plans to visit my favorite spots but planned a bit of a twist. My goal was to get a few images of birds in flight if possible. I also wanted to spend a little time concentrating on the Ospreys I’d observed around the reserve.

I luanched from the Lenoxville boat ramp just before 8:30 AM. This put me on the water near the end of high-slack tide. The water was absolutely glass smooth with no noticeable breeze to be found. I headed east to start out by visiting the Osprey nesting platform. The pair has been busy and the nest is starting to take shape. I then worked on along the sound-side edge of the reserve, stopping here and there to snap a few shots of shore birds. I then noticed some terns fishing the shallows and moved into position with the hope of getting some shots of them in flight. After working the terns for a while I continued on, photographing some more shore birds, then headed back towards the ramp. On my way back I noticed one of the Osprey perched in a dead tree, so stopped to take a few more shots of this majestic raptor.

While I captured plenty of nice, low shots of shore birds on this trip, I also managed some nice flight and high perched images. I thought I’d share some of these for a change of pace. Here’s an Osprey in flight, coming in for a landing… an Osprey perched… and a Forster’s Tern in flight. Hope you enjoy them.

A female Osprey comes in for a landing.

An Osprey enoys a high-perch along North Carolina's Back Sound.

A Forster's Tern in flight near the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

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