Saturday, June 4, 2011

Travel TidBits: Birds in Flight

Snowy Egret with nesting materials

After traveling to other continents in search of natural beauty, I am always so happy to discover or rediscover beautiful spots right here in my ‘backyard’. Interestingly, I started my photographic journey 10 years ago by capturing egrets and shorebirds during my early morning walks in Shoreline Park using my first small point-and-shoot digital camera. Focusing on wildlife, my equipment has morphed into bigger cameras and longer lenses and what a joy to rediscover that the egrets, night herons, avocets and American stilts, godwits and terns, gulls and once in a while a red tail hawk are still nesting near the water. Sadly, the white pelicans have so much diminished that we hardly see them any more.

Snowy Egret announcing his arrival

Red Tail Hawk

So learning that there is a hummingbird nest with a female Anna breeding, one late afternoon I grabbed my camera and with the friend who told me about the nest, off we went. Not having been at the Baylands for a while, the late afternoon light was wonderful, the birds were busy flying back and forth gathering nesting materials and the little hummer was sitting on her nest!

May 28th
June 4th
Hummingbird sitting on a nest with 1 egg

Since that afternoon less than 2 weeks ago, I have been drawn to the spot and it has highly rewarded me. I took on a new challenge by focusing on birds in flight. I quickly learned that some birds like the barn swallows are just going by in such a fast speed that I yet have to capture one on ‘film’. However, the snowy egrets and the night herons are beautiful carrying their nesting materials to build their home for the next generation.

Night Heron trying to pick just the right stick

Egret - delivering nesting materials to the waiting mate

Mating pair of Avocets

Avocets - mating

Oriole singing to the world

Egret Yoga - flying from one branch to a lower branch

Three night herons returning… A very unusual and special moment seeing 3 birds flying almost in formation!

American Stilt looking for little salt marsh critters

Snowy egret finding just the right stick

… and taking it home

Bad Hair Day!
A night heron trying to hold on when the wind was blowing strongly.

One afternoon, a pheasant appeared. I had seen pheasants before here, but usually in great distance. This fellow was just looking for his evening snack.

Elegance in the air!!

As the clouds became more menacing, the marsh lands became quiet; the birds tucked their heads under their wings, nestled in their home built for the season. I can’t wait for the fledglings to arrive.

So, till next time, look around in your own neighborhood for the wonders of nature; go out and photograph!! There is natural beauty all around us, we just need to open our eyes and mind!

The Baylands before the next storm

I bet she can’t wait to see her little new creation.