Saturday, November 10, 2012

Birds of a feather ...

I developed a habit while completing a Project 365 during 2010 of making mental notes of places to visit, or re-visit, where I thought there were photographic opportunities. [editorial note: a better practice is to carry a notebook to jot down the info since, if your memory is anything like mine - good but short - you greatly increase your chances of finding the place again].

While on an expedition recently to get another check mark on our Christmas gift list, I saw a spot along a highway where a large number of birds were gathered. Mentally noted. Three fortunate things then happened - 1) I remembered by the time we got home; 2) I had the opportunity the next day to go back there; 3) the birds were waiting for me.

There was a bit of a logistical problem, however. The birds had congregated in a lone pine in the middle of a field. There would be little cover to allow me to get close. I parked a hundred yards or so away and assumed my best nonchalant stealth shuffle. I paused every so many feet to get a few shots in case I lost the whole flock suddenly. All went well until I got a sand spur (those of you living in Florida know what those are) lodged between my sole and the sole of my sandal. I managed not to do a crazed pain dance as I balanced on one foot, removed the sandal and sand spur, and continued my advance. Amazingly I managed to get within about twenty feet of the tree. Now and then a bird would depart but another would come in to take over the vacated spot, while most of the others just stared curiously at the slow-moving creature below them.

I'm no bird expert but I think most or all the ones I spotted in the pine tree are known as wading birds. Maybe they just appreciate a change of view. I'll show you them over the next few posts.

The first one is an ibis which I affectionately call a pinocchio bird.



Here's a partial shot of the tree, and an incoming ...


24 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Oh wow! What a find. The birds obviously were not concerned about your presence.

Stephanie said...

Those were nice finds.

Lúcia said...

Well done Rick, these shots are great!
Especially the "Pinocchio" shot! :D
Have a good Sunday!

Noushka said...

A very successful approach!
Congratulations!
That a species of Ibis I would to see for myself!
Pinocchio suits them well! LOL!
The bird in flight is a brilliant shot!

Bitch said...

A very good hunting, dear Rick!!
Excellent shots!!!
What's about the sand spur??

teca said...

Ufffffff... how beautiful, honey!!!

Have a nice week!
Warm hug, flowers and so much love.
Beijos!!!!

imac said...

Great shots my friend, learn NOT to wear sandles agin while on a photo shoot,lol.

Lisa Gordon said...

Rick, these are magnificent!
I especially love the first one.
Perfect timing for sure.
Happy Sunday to you!

Petra said...

Wow, quite an unbelievable gathering, I can't believe they are all alive! :) You were really lucky they weren't suspicious of your figure approaching them.

As for the mental notes, my husband always tells me that a good photographer should carry a jotter and pencil everywhere and make notes regarding photographic opportunities, good light etc. I always laugh but there is a point.

Cheri said...

Amazing!

Fábio Martins said...

So many in just one tree :-)
Good catch

Pamela Gordon said...

You sound like me creeping around trying not to scare my subject off. :) You got some beautiful shots. It must be nice to be wearing sandals and walking on sand. Enjoy!

S. Etole said...

Looks like a Christmas tree in the making. Beautiful sight.

Michelle said...

Really exceptional! I love the feather and beak detail on the first shot!

Rosemary said...

Such an unusual sight, beautifully captured! I wish we had birds like this in Quebec.

darlin said...

Well hello Rick, as I was driving past the 3 Sisters on Saturday I thought of you, it's good to hear from you here... you and your stunning photos have been missed. Speaking of stunning photos, you've done it again... beautiful, crystal clear shots of some amazing birds. I'm glad you didn't scare them away with your incident, the things we do for our photos eh? lol

Have a wonderful week, it's my last night in Canmore and tomorrow it's off to Calgary! I get to wear my new dress tomorrow. :-)

Joyce S said...

Never heard of a sand spur, but I'm thinking they're like burrs that get stuck in dogs' fur. What funny looking birds, especially with that droop at the end of their beaks. The endles variety of animals I have never seen before continues to amaze me, thanks for sharing these.

Linda said...

How gorgeous, Rick! Thank you so much for sharing.

Marty said...

l'oiseau en plein vol est une image superbe ! on that blue sky it is really gorgeous !
Rick I love your french which is not "broken" ! it's good ! and you always make me smile ! merci !
smiling bisous...

Amelia said...

Hi Rick, love both the pictures, excellent click!

The 2nd picture, nice catch! The birds are so relaxing and they are kind of like "mind your own business" among their friends.LOL

Have a nice week ahead.

teca said...

I forgot to tell you the feeling I had when looking at the second picture, honey: it looks like a Christmas tree bird! :D

Beijos and lots of brazilian spring flowers.

Betty Manousos said...

awwwwwwwwwwww!

oh, what a find!
what a spectacular!
i love the feather detail and the great angles.

well done:)

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Yea you're welcome I've asked them to wait up for you. Cause I knew you would forget about them otherwise. So again your welcome.
:0
Great shots my friend.
En hebben ze al babies rondgebracht?
Hugs Dag.

Here I Am/Carrie said...

Rick I am so glad you took the time to come back and crept up on these guys for a photo. They are amazing. Too see so many in a lone pine like that makes such a contrast. The one you got in flight in just perfect. I also love you new header. thanks for sharing.