Here are some more images from the SW Florida trip. The Painted Buntings,Woodpecker, Anhinga & Raccoon were at the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon center near Naples, Fl. The Little Blue Heron and Alligator were at Ding Darling, Sanibel Island and came within a few feet of me, feeding in the shallow water.
We just returned from a trip to SW Florida including Ding Darling Preserve on Sanibel Island, Corkscrew Swamp (Audubon) near Naples, Fl, and Cape Coral, Fl where the Burrowing Owls and the Bald Eagle nest was located. Winter from Nov until March is the best time to go before some of the birds leave and the weather gets hotter and more humid. Sanibel Island (Ding Darling) is best early in the morning at sunrise and low tide. Forget the middle of the day as the light is too harsh and the birds are not very active. You need at least a 300 mm lens or 400-600 for more distant birds. Some birds are not very afraid of people so they come within 10 feet at times if you stay still but I used 420 mm most of the time. ( I used my new 300 f2.8 IS II with a 1.4 extender most of the time giving me 420mm with my Canon 7d mark II.) On the Bald Eagle nest I used the 300 with a 2x extender as I was over 150 feet away (as close as allowed with signs protecting the nest).
I will post more photos including Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Painted Bunting, an alligator, and a Red-Bellied Woodpecker soon in the next blog.
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At San Jacinto Wildlife Area I observed a Northern Harrier on Prey and then another appeared to try and steal the Prey, a Coot. I managed to photograph from my van about 40 ft away. As long as you stay in your vehicle the birds are not disturbed. Then I saw a dark large shadow overhead and a Golden Eagle flew over the kill, but did not land. Maybe 2 Harriers were too much for the Eagle, although he was much larger !
Recent photographs taken near Tucson at Desert Museum outside of Saguaro National Park and San Pedro River near Bisbee, Arizona with new Canon 300 mm f2.8 IS II lens on Canon 7D Mark II body.
Here are some new photos taken in the last few weeks with my new Canon 300 mm f2.8 IS II lens and 2x extender. All the birds are wild and taken at San Jacinto Wildlife area. I saw the N Harrier near the prey and waited until it came back as it flew off at first. After a long wait it started circling near the prey ( a coot) and then hovered over the prey when I got a few shots off. The Pheasant was near the road and I shot from my van out the window.
I noticed these 2 Flickers at San Jacinto Wildlife Area pointing their beaks and bobbing, flashing tail feathers, and finally mating on the ground. I missed the actual act by a split second (the length of time it takes).
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More raptors are starting to arrive at San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Perris, CA. There were N Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, a juvenile Bald Eagle, a Golden Eagle, lots of ducks and shorebirds, and this Vermilion Flycatcher. The skunk was preening himself and then searching for food near some water. I had to walk within 10 feet to get by on the trail but he was not concerned and just ignored me- Relief !
Here is a good example of staying with a subject and getting a variety of poses to show behavior or personality. I spent at least 45 min to an hour on this one Merlin, photographing from my van with no concern on the bird’s part. Canon 7d mark ii with 400 mm f 5.6.
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These are all new photographs taken this past week at Torrey Pines , near La Jolla, CA. There are 4 juveniles and 2 adults and are amazing to watch when they fly within sometimes a foot away. The young ones are practicing their flying skills and try to lock talons in mid air or out- maneuver them while flying at incredible speeds. They are the fastest animal or bird on earth and in a dive can attain over 200 mph! All images were taken with a Canon 400mm 5.6 lens. The parents transfer their bird prey in mid-air and the young have to master the technique quickly. You can see the food transfer in one of the above images.
On our latest trip to the Chiricahua mountains in southeastern Arizona, near the town of Portal, there were some spectacular birds. I was able to photograph Western Screech Owls, Whiskered Screech owls, and Elf owls.The Elf Owl is the smallest owl in the world at 5-6″ high and weighing only 1 ounce. Other birds include the Elegant Trogon only found in a few mountain ranges in southeast Arizona, Mexico and Central America with an estimate of only 100 birds in the U.S. These were in the south fork of Cave Creek Canyon south of Portal. The Pyrrhuloxia is a subspecies of the Northern Cardinal found only in S Texas, New Mexico, and S. Arizona. The Gambel’s Quail were in a breeding ritual with the female jumping in the air and making different vocalizations. Two males fought over the right to mate with the female.