Blue-eyed Grass – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
Last week I was Thinking Pink so this week I thought I would focus on the shades of blues found in wildflowers, birds, the sky and seas. Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is one of my favorite blue wildflowers from the eastern United States. Blue-eyed Grass isn’t actually a grass at all, it is from the Iris family and may have gotten the “Grass” part of its name because the leaves are very thin and grass-like. I found and photographed this beauty under the pines of the Osprey Trail at Honeymoon Island State Park in Florida.
Great Blue Heron in the Gulf of Mexico – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 230mm, natural light
It seems to me that Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) are misnamed because they are more gray than they are blue, in fact when I see a Great Blue Heron posted on line that is very blue I scratch my head because they really aren’t that blue. I photographed this Great Blue Heron as it walked along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Fort De Soto’s north beach in Florida.
Little Blue Heron stalking prey in a tidal lagoon – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 360mm, natural light
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) adults are more blue than Great Blue Herons, at least from the base of the neck to their tails, their necks have a reddish cast to them. I was sitting in the lagoon with the Little Blue Heron approached me while it was stalking and hunting prey at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida.
Male Lazuli Bunting – Nikon D200, f8, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
Male Lazuli Buntings (Passerina amoena) have a gorgeous azure blue head as well as some blue on other parts of their bodies. The word “lazuli” come from the semi-precious gemstone Lapis Lazuli which comes in various shades of blue with gold colored specks. I photographed this Lazuli Bunting in the San Rafael area of Utah and the background is the color of sandstone found in that area.
Mountain Bluebird - Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4 TC at 400mm, natural light
Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides) are one of the bluest bird species I have photographed, especially the males. I didn’t add any color saturation to this image at all, this is how blue the bird looked in the light conditions I had at the time I took this image at Red Rock lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. The males during the breeding season are a rich, vibrant blue.
Blue skies at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana – Nikon D200, handheld, f20, 1/160, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18mm, natural light
Some of the bluest skies I have ever seen have been at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana where on a clear (or not so clear) day you can see for miles & miles. I loved how this wave of clouds fanned out in this frame and added a nice contrast to the blue tones in the sky.
Amazing blues of Magens Bay, Saint Thomas, USVI – No techs, this is a panorama made from several images that were joined together
The colors of the seas and oceans have always drawn me to water because they can vary from the palest aquamarine to deep royal blues and everything in between. Magens Bay in Saint Thomas and the Atlantic Ocean beyond it give this image wonderful shades of blue that I find very soothing and it brings back nice memories of my stay on the island.
Shades of blue…
My monthly post is up at BirdingIsFun.com, fly on over and check it out!
Chukar running in the snow
I spent the day photographing with Ron and a fellow photographer friend of ours from Arizona, Brian Gatlin. Antelope Island State Park was slow, the only images I took were of the Chukar above.
Great Blue Heron preening to remove ice
Farmington Bay WMA; on the other hand, was hopping. This Great Blue Heron; probably the same one I photographed a few days ago, was trying hard to get the ice off that had formed on the straggly part of its chest plumage.
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
Then there was this juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron standing in the open water near the second bridge. It also had ice hanging from its plumage.
Rough-legged Hawk juvenile
There was also cooperative juvenile Rough-legged Hawk perched on a bush near the road.
And this lovely Barn Owl that probably couldn’t figure out why three glass lenses in the pick up were pointed at it along with one in a vehicle behind us. The bird obviously doesn’t know it has Star Power.
A wonderful fun-filled day with great companionship and plenty of birds. I can’t ask for more.
Great Egret Portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 160mm, natural light, not baited
These two “Great” images were taken two minutes apart of two different “Great” wading birds in Florida. The first one I photographed was this Great Egret that was going into breeding plumage, those lores were pretty green but they get greener during the height of mating season. Notice that I was only at 160mm, this bird walked up very close to me. That bill looked dangerously close, glad I don’t look like any of this bird’s prey.
Great Blue Heron Portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited
This Great Blue Heron was going out of breeding plumage, notice that the lores are a dull gray with a slight blue tint to them, during mating season the lores are a dark blue.
They are “Great” birds!
More Great Egret and Great Blue Heron images
North section of the Bear River NWR auto tour route – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1500, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 18 mm, natural light
Christmas Day of 2012 turned out to be as beautiful as I hoped at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge (also known as Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge) because of bright skies, snow on the ground and virtually having the place to ourselves. The Promontory Mountains to the west were gorgeous covered in a blanket of fresh snow. Bear River had some open water but there was also ice along the shore and some of the smaller ponds were frozen over. The lowest temp I saw was 6 degrees Fahrenheit but it didn’t feel that cold because of the warmth of the sun.
Bald Eagle Landing on the Bear River – Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/3200, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
Just before the maintenance buildings at the start of the auto tour route I spotted this Bald Eagle standing on the frozen surface of the Bear River, it looked beautiful in the soft morning light. The eagle was looking at the ice covering the river when it lifted off and flew a few feet towards something that I couldn’t see. This photo was taken as the eagle started to land on the ice once again. Two American White Pelicans lifted off from the river right after the bridge by the maintenance building, they have hung around rather late in the season. Maybe they just didn’t want to be called “snow birds” by the people down south.
Before seeing the Bald Eagle I spotted a Barn Owl flying but the owl would not let us get close enough for images. During the morning at Bear River NWR and north in the Golden Spike Area we saw Bald and Golden Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, a Prairie Falcon and quite a few American Kestrels. In addition I spotted two Short-eared Owls flying over a marshy area. Most of these great raptor were just too far away for photos.
Marshes and the distant Promontory Mountains – Nikon D200, handheld, f14, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 75mm, natural light
The air was crisp, and the only sounds I could hear when the truck wasn’t moving were the sounds of nature. Rustling Phragmites and Cattails, small birds flitting around and some times further away, the cries of gulls. It was peaceful, relaxing and invigorating all at the same time. What a wonderful Christmas gift.
Young Great Blue Heron on Christmas Day – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
On the north section of the very muddy auto route we saw a scattering of around 100 Great Blue Herons, I have never seen so many in an area that size at the refuge. It was pretty amazing to see. right after we headed south I spotted this immature Great Blue Heron standing in a section of open water surrounded by ice, it wasn’t long before the bird flew onto a pile of snow topped vegetation which is where it was when I captured this image.
You might wonder how I know that this is a young bird, the crown is dark and there isn’t any white on top of the head or behind the eye as would be seen on an adult. The rusty colored shoulder patches that adults have aren’t evident and the mottled stripes on the chest of this bird wouldn’t be seen on an adult.
Looking towards Promontory Point – Nikon D200, handheld, f14, 1/320, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 22mm, natural light
After leaving the auto tour route was finally saw another car parked on the shoulder of the hard-topped road and that is where I spotted the first Short-eared owl flying over the marshy area. The driver of the car was out taking photographs so we pulled in a distance behind him to see if the owl would fly in close. The young man came up and introduced himself after a bit. David is from Washington State and it was his first visit to Bear River NWR so we told him what we had seen on the auto tour route and I hope he saw some of the birds we mentioned. It was very nice to have met him.
Bear River NWR and the Golden Spike area are always wonderful but yesterday both seemed even more fantastic.