Adult White Ibis – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
White Ibis can be strange looking birds to people who have never seen them before, they have soft, sky blue eyes, skinny legs, long necks and a bill that could be compared to Jimmy Durante’s nose. The adults have white feathers, hence the name White Ibis.
There are three other Ibis species found in North America, the White-faced, Glossy and Scarlet Ibis. In the wild I have seen all but the Scarlet Ibis.
I photographed this adult White Ibis at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach in a tidal lagoon one evening in June of 2009, the sun was starting to set and the tide was going out rapidly.
Juvenile White Ibis - Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 330mm, natural light
Juvenile White Ibis have the same shaped body, legs, neck and bill and their eyes are also a sky blue but their feather colors are different. Immature White Ibis have browns and tans in their plumage and as they age those feathers are replaced with white, they can look piebald until that change occurs.
This juvenile white Ibis was photographed in December of 2008 about 200 feet from where the adult above was photographed in the same lagoon but earlier in the afternoon so I didn’t have that soft golden light that shows in the image with the adult.
Have a great day,
Burrowing Owl juvenile
I can’t resist photographing Burrowing Owls, I just can’t. They are so much fun to see and observe. I photographed this juvenile last year as it tried to get its balance back while perched on a Sagebrush and the pose and facial expression amuses me.
I’ve been seeing the Burrowing Owls on the island again, it won’t be too long before there are chicks.
Portrait of a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk – Nikon D70, handheld. f5.6, 1/200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, flash fired, not baited
In July of 2007 I was fortunate to follow and photograph a family of Red-shouldered Hawks at Sawgrass County Park in Florida for a few weeks when the fledglings were learning to hunt for themselves. Because Sawgrass County Park has a high number of visitors each day the hawks were used to people and didn’t flush easily.
This juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk was perched on a metal fencepost so I opted to go for a portrait to remove the “hand of man”. My EXIF information doesn’t list the ISO used for this shot but I do know that the auto flash fired. I was still using my Nikon D70 when all of these images were created.
Red-shouldered Hawk juvenile – Nikon D70, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 640, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, flash fired, not baited
The day after the portrait above was taken I was back at Sawgrass County Park hoping for decent light and to find the young hawks again, I found the Red-shouldered juveniles but the light wasn’t great because of thunder storms rolling through the area. I had been photographing this immature Red-Shouldered Hawk as it perched in a pine tree when it flew directly at me and as it flew over my head I could feel the whoosh of air from its wings. I thought the young hawk was going to carry off the straw hat I was wearing but as I turned I could see it had landed on the ground about 20 feet from me and was dispatching what appeared to be a Palmetto Bug.
Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk trying to catch a Yellow Rat Snake – Nikon D70, handheld, f4.8, 1/400, ISO 1000, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 80mm, flash fired, not baited
Not long after the juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk ate the Palmetto Bug I could hear another Red-tailed Hawk calling and the hawk I was photographing flew towards the sound. I slowly followed the sound and used the trunks of trees as a blind as I walked. I came up on two young Red-shouldered Hawks, one on the fence and the other was perched higher in a tree above the hawk you see in this frame. The hawks were very interested in trying to catch this Yellow Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta) that had woven its body through the links of the fence. I took a few images and left because I didn’t want to disrupt the hawks.
The next time I went to the park I measured one of the square links in the fence and according to my calculations this snake was over 6 foot in length. Sorry about the poor quality of the last image, it was dark under the trees and there was a light rain falling but I did want to capture the interactions I was observing.
I enjoyed following this family of Red-shouldered Hawks that summer.
Long-billed Curlew chick – Look & photograph but don’t touch
Yesterday I became aware of two photographers in Florida who went beyond what is considered “ethical” to get photos of a Sandhill Crane chick and it ticked me off. Another photographer was able to take images of the photographers and it ended up in the news.
One of the
photographers, or rather one of the guys with a camera, was petting the Sandhill Crane chick and per Cathy Terry, the photographer who took images of them:
“When I zoomed in on the photo, I realized he had his hand crooked under the neck and his finger like that,” she said, demonstrating. “Holding it up so the other guy could get a close up of the chick’s face.”
You can see the full article here: Over-friendly photographers could face charges
The article originally said that these cranes are endangered and that wasn’t correct but they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - Grus canadensis, Sandhill Crane.
These guys with cameras should not have approached the crane chick so close and they certainly should not have been touching it. The fact that they made the news can damage the reputation of other bird and wildlife photographers which possibly could put new and harsher restrictions on the rest of us. It was a dumb thing to do, period.
Two places to read about good field ethics: Principles of Birding Ethics published by the American Birding Association and NANPA’s Ethical Practices (pdf)
Red Fox Kit portrait – Look & photograph but don’t touch
Young animals can look adorable but they shouldn’t be touched either. I recall the day I photographed several Red Fox kits, they were curious and came right up to the pick up and I believe if I had been outside of it they would have come right up to me. That could have caused them problems by getting them used to people.
“Any contact with an animal, especially when they’re young, can make them less afraid of humans and more suspect to getting hurt,” stated Officer Baryl Martin of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.”
Both of the images here were taken with a long lens to reduce stress on the young animals.
I do hope that non-photographers and the general public know that behavior like this is an exception and that ethical photographers would not have gone up and petted the Sandhill Cranes.
Juvenile Burrowing Owl looking right at me – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/750, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
Last week I spotted my first Burrowing Owl of the year, it was a distance away and I didn’t take any images of it but I had to do a wiggle dance in my seat because I was excited seeing one again. The adults are beautiful and the juveniles; well they draw me in.
Burrowing Owl juvenile looking at something in the distance - Nikon D200, f8, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
Juvenile Burrowing Owls can look very serious and they can also appear rather funny, they are very animated and entertaining and they make fantastic subjects. Photographing them is a joy.
More Burrowing Owl images
And, my monthly post is up at BirdingIsFun.com, stop on by to check it out!