I was able to spend 7 full and simply amazing days birding and traipsing about south-central Florida at the invite of my good friend Judy Rapp who joined me on this adventure. and what a fantastic adventure it was! My primary impetus in choosing late February/earl March to go to Florida was to photograph the displaying egrets and herons who are engaged in mating rituals and nesting at this time. The picture above is exactly what I was hoping to see. Another benefit beyond the breathtaking scenes I was able to bear witness to through my lens was I go t to escape the Wisconsin winter weather!
I was able to come up with 4 life birds during this trip: Nanday Parakeet, Egyptian Goose, Muscovy Duck, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Purple Swamphen (Gray-headed Swamphen). In addition, I reacquainted myself with old friends such as the Snail Kite, Purple Gallinule, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tri-colored heron, Painted Bunting and more.
Because I have 8 days worth of pictures, I will just create posts covering every day or two and locations of where I took photo’s.
I have been on many fantastic boardwalks in various parts of the country but there is nothing that compares to being on the three-quarter mile boardwalk at Wakodahatchee during the nesting season for many wetland birds such as the Wood Stork, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron and American Anhinga. It was an amazing spectacle to behold. The clumps of shrubs found throughout the pond areas become the nesting grounds for all of these birds. I was provided an up close and personal look at the whole nesting process , from stick gathering and mating displays to rearing and fledging young…and all at extremely close range.
January 8, 2017
I made the trip up to Petenwell Dam near Necedah to photograph the wintering Bald Eagles. Although the dam was not ope, which resulted in a very limited supply of fish, there were around 50 eagles present. They did limited feeding and most of that was not anywhere near the shore. Despite that, I was able to get a few decent pictures.
I was fortunate enough to get to some great places during 2016, including Nicaragua and the Southwestern United States; both first-time trips .
I have finally gone through all of my pictures and picked out some of my favorites. Enjoy!
I made the trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin during a snow storm on Sunday December 11th to see the Green Bay Packers play the Seattle Seahawks. In a nice case of perfect timing, a first-year Black-legged Kittiwake was reported at the mouth of the Fox River (only five miles from Lambeau field!) the day before. Needless to say, I left an hour earlier than I had planned to so that I could try for this rare visitor from the arctic north.
It took me about five minutes to locate this beauty once I arrived as it was very close to the shore and would fly right over my head as it searched for fish. Despite dozens of ring-billed gulls in the area as well, the kittiwake really stood out with its distinctive “M” pattern on the back of its wings.
Following are some of the images I was able to capture of the Black-legged Kittiwake, a Common Merganser and a Ring-billed Gull in the snow storm.
I have been absent from birding and photography for the last couple of months as I was in the process of purchasing a house, moving and getting settled. I was finally able to get over to the convention center and photograph several migrating Common Loons as they hunted right at the steep drop-off that is just offshore. I seem to always get much better pictures when they are in their rather drab non-breeding plumage but they are still great birds to interact with. Below are several of the images I took.
I was able to go out to the Southwest (and Northern Mexico) for 17 days during the latter half of July to do some birding and landscape photography. I began the trip spending six days with Gordon Karre seeing a lot of Southwestern Arizona and at Rancho el Aribabi in Northern Mexico. We spent two days in Madera Canyon, during which we also saw Miller Canyon, Ash Canyon and spent time on Mt. Lemmon with Chris Rohrer. During the trip from Madera Canyon to Miller Canyon we saw a Bobcat (my first ever) cross the road in front of the car. Then, while walking up Miller Canyon in pursuit of a Mexican Spotted Owl, I saw a Mountain Lion walking parallel to us just above us in the canyon and about 70 feet away! When it realized I had spotted it, it nonchalantly loped away. I was definitely very excited to see my first Mountain Lion but would be lying if I did not say I did look behind myself much more frequently during the remainder of the hike.
Gordon and I then sent over to the Chiricahua Mountains to look for some specialty birds, including the Mexican Chickadee which, in the United States, can only be found at high altitude in the Chiracahua Mountains in Arizona and the Animas Mountains in New Mexico. After a very difficult ascension to the very top of the Chiracahua’s, we were able to briefly spot two of these birds, which, becasue of the difficulty of accessing their territory, made them one of the absolute highlights of this trip for me.
Chris, myself, and Gordon at the top of Mt. Lemmon after seeing Olive Warblers
Days 1-6: The Phoenix Valley area and Southwestern Arizona
Juvenile Yellow-eyed Junco (note the dark iris)
Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard