Showing posts from March, 2015

Black-crowned Night Heron at Spring Hammock Preserve

I drove to Spring Hammock Preserve this morning hoping to find my first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year.  I didn't see one, but I did hear one calling.  The biggest surprise, though, was this Black-crowned Night Heron.  It had flown up into the branches of a tree overhanging a stream, so my guess is that it's going to try to nest somewhere along the stream.  I'm going to have to come back here more often now.  It would be wonderful to confirm breeding of Black-crowned Night Herons in this block.

Dealing with Image Theft

More and more I'm finding that my images are being stolen and published throughout the internet. I'm no expert at finding my stolen images, and I don't check for them very often, but I figured I share the little I know, and if any you have any tricks up your sleeve for how to deal with this, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. I'm always trying to learn more.

Finding Images
The best way I know of to find stolen images is to use Google Image Search.  You can just drag one of your images onto the page and it will show you where your picture has been published on the internet. I've found several stolen images this way.

Contacting the Site Owner
Sometimes all it takes is a nice but firm email to the site owner to get your images removed. About a year ago I found one of my images on NOAA's website.  They had made a presentation promoting a wildlife refuge, and they used one of my images of a Reddish Egret.  So I found their contact email address on the w…

Purple Sandpiper at Ponce Inlet, 3/21/2015

Two of my aunts and uncles are in town staying with my parents, and so we all decided to go to the beach for a couple hours this morning.  It was pretty fun hanging out with my daughter and extended family, and of course, I kept an eye on the birds.  I didn't see much that was unusual, though I did see about 30 Barn Swallows flying in from the ocean--nice to see them returning.  The biggest highlight, though, was seeing a Purple Sandpiper at the jetty.  At least one seems to turn up here every winter, so I always hope to see one when I visit.  This morning I was not disappointed.  These are by far my best photos of this beautiful little bird.

Finally an American Pipit Photo I'm Willing to Show You

I see these wonderful little birds all the time during the winter.  My favorite place to see them is Marl Bed Flats, where a flock of 50 or more may fly overhead at any moment.  I have a terrible time getting photos of them, though.  I get shots of them in flight, usually far away, and I can never seem to get close enough to them after they land to get a photo.  Well, yesterday a flock of about 20 flew by, and then one little straggler followed and landed not too far in front of me. As I made my way a little closer, it seemed okay with me.  Here's my best shot.  There's certainly room for improvement, but at least I don't mind showing it to you.

Sparrows at Hal Scott Preserve

On Saturday I visited Hal Scott Preserve to look for Red-cockaded and Hairy Woodpeckers.  I found both, but too early in the morning for photos.  Later in the morning Eastern Towhees and Bachman's Sparrows decided to put on a show.  They are such pretty birds I couldn't help but stop and take a few portraits.

Crested Caracara Portrait

This morning I drove out to Brumley Rd looking for birds to add to my year list.  Top on my list were Summer Tanager (missed), Red-eyed Vireo (found), and Yellow-throated Vireo (found). But perhaps the best moment of the morning was when this Crested Caracara flew up on a fence post.  It was so close, I pretty much could only get the whole bird in the frame when its head was facing to the left.  So this is just about a full frame shot.  I cropped a little bit of the barbed wire from the bottom of the frame, but that's about it.

Great Blue Heron With Needlefish

This morning I drove to the marina on Lake Monroe.  It was about this time of year that a Royal Tern showed up here last year, and I thought it might be worth checking to see if it might have returned.  I didn't find it, but I did see a Great Blue Heron.  It looked like it was just standing there, not too interested in fishing.  But as I was taking a few shots, it lunged forward and plunged its head into the water.  It came out with pretty large Needlefish.  At first I thought it was a gar, but one of my friends gave me a positive ID.

He only stood in the water with the gar for a few seconds. Almost immediately, he flew onto the grass so that he could begin the process of killing and consuming his prey.

He repeatedly stabbed the fish, puncturing its head and ensuring that it was good and dead. This seems to explain why he wanted to fly onto the grass.  This way the fish couldn't swim away while he stabbed it.

Then he began to swallow it--head first, of course.

But he must not…

Great Blue Heron with Crayfish

This morning I saw a Great Blue Heron by the shore of the pond at Audubon Park. I thought it was in pretty good light for a photo, so I decided to take a photo. As I knelt down the heron struck the water and came up with a crayfish. He didn't take long to swallow it; it was gone in seconds.

Birding and Photography Ethics

I've been an avid photographer for just about all this millennium, but I only became significantly interested in birding and wildlife photography after I received my 400mm lens and moved to Florida. I spent my early months here driving around wildlife loops and photographing whatever birds I saw. Eventually, I wanted to photograph more diversity of birds and wildlife, so I became involved with a local Audubon Society.  I'm very thankful that I learned my birding and wildlife photography ethics from birders and conscientious wildlife photographers.

It wasn't long before I began to notice that there is often a kind of stigma attached to being a photographer. There are enough photographers out there who do irresponsible things to get their photos that it's given all of us somewhat of a bad name.  However, over time I've come to believe that the reputation is largely unfounded.  For all the irresponsible photographers out there, there are many others that follow impe…

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Secret Lake Park

The other day I went to Secret Lake Park on my way into work. It's pretty little park, and I've not found a whole lot of wonderful things there, but it just seems like it's the kind of place that should turn up something good from time to time.  So I walked around the park a little, and I heard the familiar chatter of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  These are beautiful birds, and I find them tough to photograph--small and active, they never seem to want to sit still for a photo.

Well, this one was flitting around the edges of a tree, and just happened to pop into a couple places that made for some of my better photos of the species.  They are going to start leaving us pretty soon, and I've taken no good photos of them this winter, so it was nice of this individual to cooperate with me a little.

Vesper Sparrow at Canal St.

I love Vesper's Sparrows. They seem like Savannah Sparrows with an extra dash of class. This guy was hanging out with a bunch of Savannah Sparrows at my favorite little sparrow spot in Oviedo.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

There's a little lake (or large pond) near my house. It's just a little community pond, but during the winter time, there can be as many as 100 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks there.  They are also very tolerant of people. They like to hang out on a little hill, and there's a fence which is perfect for resting my camera.  Then I can take photos to my heart's content.