Monday, May 7, 2012

Bird photography challenges

Finally got out on Biscayne Bay on a beautiful, calm and mostly cloudless morning. Barely a hint of wind, it never felt too hot, although it did reach 86 degrees. Given the incoming tide all morning, it was a good time to head over to the rookery as no wading birds would be wading with the rising water levels (perigee moon effect making it stronger than usual).

This particular rookery is by far the most challenging of all the bird areas I photograph from the canoe. There are several of them (some unique to the canoe) but the greatest is the shyness of the birds. In short, they hide from me and their flight patterns are affected by my presence. Consequently I have to demonstrate extreme patience in hopes that if I sit still long enough they will forget me and come back into sight. Or I can face away from the tree island rookery and settle for only flight shots as the birds fly in and out. Even that is difficult as the birds' flight patterns are often affected by my presence.

At any rate, I try my hardest to capture the cattle egrets (mostly) in good poses and I am going for that particular shot where all the elements come together. Consider that these birds are mostly in the mangroves (unless it is a flight shot), so the elements I am looking for include the following: good lighting, frontal view of landing or take off, no mangrove leaves covering the bird in any way, sharpness, head turned enough toward camera, and enough sky background to see the bird well. With all these criteria, I rarely get "that shot".
Nevertheless, I keep trying and in the meantime, here are a few different poses of the nesting cattle egret, including one juvenile. None of these is "that shot" but they at least illustrate the busy life of a nesting cattle egret.

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