Thursday, April 2, 2015

Postcards from the Ponds

Security Detail

I am always looking for little "tells" that might indicate what a bird is going to do next. There are very few that I have observed. You would think that when a bird it ready to jump into the air and take off, it would bend it's knees. Not. But I have seen one tell recently common to at least two different species. Just before flying, both species of bird stretched their neck and stood as high as they were able. Perhaps they were attempting to see the danger they suspected might be present. Anyway, that is what tipped me off to the fact that these Northern Shovelers were about to take flight. The female is flanked by four males.

No Entry

Many photographers cannot tolerate having any evidence of humanity in their images. Some are so hyper-environmental, I think they would be happy if there were no human beings inhabiting the planet! I am pro environment, but I believe you have to find a balance and, no, I don't think we have found it as a species.

I don't know what spooked the Green-winged Teal, but they took their craziness on the road. They have some of the craziest looking flight I have seen in waterfowl. I don't know how anyone could shoot one. I had estimated the flock at fifty. I think I counted forty-nine in this image after making the guess.

The stretch of beach beyond the sign use to be private property, but the owner permitted people to enjoy the stretch of sand. Many people walked their dogs. Plus, there was room for a couple of cars to park right there. I use to park there and walk across the street to film the marsh inhabitants. Then, the owner sold it to the town of North Beach which immediately put the entire area off limits. Why? I wish I knew.

Approaching Storm

I saw a crow land in the highest reaches of a dead tree on the edge of the marsh. When we first arrived, it was bright and sunny. Within the hour, storm clouds and a front began to move in. When I spotted the crow, I knew immediately I wanted to get the image because of the ominous feel. I was able to take several, but liked this one captured just after the bird took off about best.

Islands in the Sun

If you set the exposure correctly, it is possible to blow out the water and make it featureless leaving the birds to attract most of the attention. I don't like the background water towards the top of the photo so I am going to try it again with another image. Who says the color has to be true to Life? I pushed the warmth of the color on a cold day.


Sometimes, it is difficult to know what has spooked the birds. The sandpipers were all peacefully probing the mud flats when, suddenly, the entire flock took off en masse. At the same time, all the teal also took to the air. When that happens, I will look around to see if an eagle has entered the area because many birds respect it's killing ability. I didn't see one, though, and after flying back and forth a few times, they resettled on the water again.

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