Some Bird & Wildlife Temptations for those of you coming in Spring

Discussion in 'Non Disney Photos / Mobile Phone Photos' started by zackiedawg, Nov 29, 2021.

  1. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I haven't posted updates in a while, but of course still actively photographing out in the wetlands every weekend when I'm in town. Since we're getting a little closer to the planned TMIP South Florida wildlife trip, I figured I'd share some of the action from the wetlands over the past month or so. Of course, I can't guarantee what will be there come Spring, but there will be plenty of species to see and shoot and from ridiculous up-close distances. Late fall into winter is when things start to really pick up and when we get the chance to see some different species than usual with all the wintering residents, and some of the secretive critters coming out into the open more. Enjoy:

    Momma bobcat, early morning - she wanted to get past me on the levee, and crept cautiously while keeping a wary eye - just 15 feet away:
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    A wonderful barred owl, not the usual owls we get in our wetlands - he spent several months enjoying the cypress forests and allowed me to get within 10-15 feet of him:
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    North America's largest woodpecker, the pileated woodpecker:
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    Big Florida softshell turtle trying to get out of the water for a rest, using a downed tree as an island:
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    Curious young raccoon, coming through the forest and encountering...me! He wasn't too sure if I was safe, so stared me down for a beat, before deciding I wasn't a threat:
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    The excellent fisherman, the osprey, seems to come up with a fish at least once in every 3 or 4 tries:
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    This big guy must have thought I was his dentist, because he seemed to want to show me his tonsils:
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    The northern harrier making a pass over the wetlands, scaring pretty much every other bird and reptile below:
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    These things are supposed to be 'elusive', but this American bittern didn't get the memo and decided to walk right up onto the levee with his neck stretched out:
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    A nice pose from the red-shouldered hawk:
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    The yellow-bellied sapsucker, busy drilling holes in the local cypress trees to get at that sweet sap:
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    Another bird that's supposed to be elusive - but this Wilson's snipe didn't seem to mind me standing there 10 feet away photographing it as it fed along the shore:
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    The very pretty black-bellied whistling duck, especially in flight when you get to see those wings out:
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    Female belted kingfisher showing her rusty chest coloration that the males don't have:
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    One of my favorite wintering ducks, the northern shoveler, with that giant bill:
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    The last 4 were taken just this weekend. Tempted yet? :)
     
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  2. gary

    gary Member

    oh yeah, looking forward to being there
     
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  3. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    A few more shots from the past month or so - picking up from Nov 27th where I left off, just to share some of the year-end action and first few shots of the new year...the wetlands are waiting for you all!

    Napping roseate spoonbill (600mm):
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    Napping alligator (600mm):
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    Belted kingfisher getting ready to plunge on a fish (400mm):
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    American bittern, puffing itself all up - maybe not the smartest thing to try to look like a turkey so close to Thanksgiving! (430mm):
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    The kingfishers have been very active so far this winter (600mm):
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    Red-shouldered hawk flying past (456mm):
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    Blue-winged teals are beautiful when they fly, where you get to see those colorful wings (600mm):
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    A green iguana, showing that lizards can be beautiful too (200mm):
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    River otter popping up on the levee for a look around (600mm):
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    Common yellowthroat male, showing his bandit mask and colors (600mm):
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    The last alligator was napping - this one was just waking up with a nice big yawn (452mm):
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    The pine warblers are back in town - they're one of the last of the winter/migrating warblers to arrive (582mm):
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    The osprey are everywhere - always flying overhead and plunging into the water for fish (459mm):
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    We've had a great year with the Wilson's snipe last year - so far, this year is kicking off pretty good with three of them hanging out in one area, and not trying very hard to hide (209mm):
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
  4. gary

    gary Member

    post some focal lengths if you know them so i can get an idea of what i should bring, i am tempted by the 200-600, but flying, so have to think more towards 100-400
     
  5. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I've added the focal lengths to that last batch - but don't let that throw you off too much. If I have 600mm, I use it - but you can shoot a lot of stuff at 100mm to 200mm full-frame. You'll see I've got a few taken at 200mm on the crop body, which would be 300mm. If I bring the 100-400mm along, I can still do just fine, except for the occasional rare distant target.

    I'd say if you brought the 200-600mm, you'd definitely use it, but if you brought the 100-400mm, you'd still do just fine and get a lot of excellent opportunities - especially with the extra crop room of the A1.
     
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  6. I cannot wait for this trip! I just took delivery Saturday the 8th of my Nikon Z9. I have the 24-70 f2.8 and the 70-200 f2.8 S series lenses.

    Why they call the lenses for the Z camera "S" series is beyond me.

    I've still got a lot of work to do to figure out all the settings on this camera but it's extremely customizable.

    My favorite thing so far is that Nikon placed a histogram in the viewfinder, so as you're composing you can check your exposure when you reposition yourself and the lighting changes.

    I love this feature!
     
  7. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Get to practicing - when you get down here, you'll just want to shoot away!

    This past weekend, I could only get out for a few hours on Saturday - about 2 1/2 hours. But that's all you need for a good selection:

    The vibrantly colored purple gallinule (239mm):

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    A shy raccoon - must be a youngster who hasn't yet learned from the other raccoons that they aren't supposed to be scared of people in these wetlands (600mm):

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    When you walk along the grass levees and see a grey bumpy log...check to see if it has eyes, or teeth, before stepping over it! (600mm):
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    The Wilson's snipe, a bird I considered a rare sighting, the past couple of years has been as common and easy to find as a pigeon (362mm):

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    A green heron stalking along a branch, trying to find a good perch over the water to strike at fish (576mm):

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    A roseate spoonbill trying to take an afternoon siesta (600mm):

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    The American bittern - beautifully camouflaged and lovely despite being mostly shades of tan and brown - the pattern is so intricate (200mm):

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    Good camouflage and good sneaking techniques result in getting a fish snack (200mm):

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  8. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    And I thought I really should post a few more photos taken at shorter focal lengths, just so you don't feel like you're not going to get anything unless you bring 600mm with you. Here are some recent shots taken in the 100mm to 300mm range...

    Pine warbler (232mm):
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    Neotropic cormorant in flight (250mm):
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    Male blue-winged teal (282mm):
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    Green heron hunting (230mm):
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    Sora (250mm):
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    Great blue heron landing (270mm):
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    Tricolored heron flying close by (257mm):
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    Young alligator floating (200mm):
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    Racco0n about 12 feet away (200mm):
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    I posted the barred owl earlier - it was taken at only 282mm:
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    The bobcat I posted earlier in the thread was only at 192mm - it passed within 5 feet of me as it ran past:
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    Raccoon just 10 feet above my head, taken at 200mm:
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    I had to shoot at 200mm and back up a few feet to fit this roseate spoonbill in the frame:
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    Most gator shots look like they're taken at long focals, but you can get nice gator shots even at 100mm, like this pair - the big one is George, the largest and oldest male gator in this wetland around 12 feet, and the female is his chosen mate:
    [​IMG]


    Often when I take really tight closeups of the birds, it's not just being artistic or cropping heavily...it's because I'm standing 4 feet away and that's all I can fit in the frame! I could stand less than a foot from this cormorant and he wouldn't care at all...this closeup was not cropped and taken at 291mm:
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    This little blue heron closeup was taken from the lens' minimum focus distance at 209mm:
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  9. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    If you don't want to fly with big glass, remember that you can have LensRentals ship to any FedEx Office location and pick it up when you arrive. I did it once on a WDW trip and it worked fine. (Or you could ship it to a Friendly Local, if you know one.)
     
  10. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Also Gary - I can bring both my lenses along so if you want some shooting time with the 200-600mm, I can swap over to the 100-40mm for a bit and let you use the big lens. It's not like I can't just go back again every weekend, so I can sacrifice not using it for a few hours!
     
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  11. gary

    gary Member

    i am really excited for this, you have such diverse wildlife here

    i will have my 100-400 plus teleconverter along so i can get out to over 500 with that alone. i think i'll be fine
     
    jbwolffiv likes this.
  12. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I'm going to try to keep an eye on one of the northern parks up in nearby Wellington for Birdmania...it's an alternate spot we might visit if you all have the extra time and get what you need from Green Cay and Wakodahatchee and want to try a different spot. But only if it's still got some good action going on. I visited Peaceful Waters this past Saturday as I hadn't been out there in 6 months, because in winter this park tends to get a few wintering species that don't come down to my local area. It's like there's a line for migration and these birds get to Wellington and just stop cold. It was pretty stocked with wintering ducks and geese this weekend, so I'll try to work in a few visits in the weeks before Birdmania to see if there's enough there to still be worth the trip, so we have an extra bonus option to visit...here are a few of the wintering species there, that are not at our two local grounds right now (some may show up by March though):

    The lovely American wigeon:
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    This is actually a lifer for me...my first ever sighting and photographs of a gadwall:
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    A pair of Egyptian geese:
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    The gorgeous male wood duck in all his breeding color glory:
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    This was interesting...maybe we'll end up with gadwigeons soon! The gadwall, who was the only one in the pond, seemed to have paired up with an American wigeon...they were super-close, and seemed to really like each other:
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    The lovely hooded merganser male was cruising around - they rarely ever make it down to southern PB county - just one time in 20 years that I can recall one at Wakodahatchee. But at Peaceful Waters, they are annual winter visitors:
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    And just to throw in something else, on my way in by the perimeter fence, I spotted this female painted bunting hanging out on the barbed wire:
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  13. gary

    gary Member

    do you get male painted buntings by you??
     
  14. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    Indeed we do - they're here most of the winter. Here's a nice closeup I got of one last Feb 27:
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  15. gary

    gary Member

    that's on my want list for the trip, hopefully we can get one
     
    Joanie Eddis-Koch likes this.
  16. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    They should be around still in March. At Green Cay, they have some feeders near the entrance that the buntings seem to like, so if you can't spot one in the wild, you can usually find them at the feeder at least. I took this shot just this Sunday. GrnCy Wako 17jan22 0060.JPG
     
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