Friday, April 17, 2009

A Welcome Snowy Day!

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, again, snowy egrets, not the cold stuff. It's been so long since I've seen them in numbers on the Wacissa that I tended on this trip to keep taking photos of them. See, to me, they were all different--here's one by the spring, here's one by the big tree, here's one in the grass.....but of course in the computer, they tend to look alike. Guess you'll have to bear with me on this post!

This beauty was one of many in that first stretch of river after launching (how wonderful to have that not be barren any more!).

They are still fairly timid and that one showed me its tail feathers when I approached.

I drifted on toward Blue Spring and turned at the inlet. A short distance away was this one, who watched me carefully.

It was much less timid than the others and turned to show me a regal profile as I paddled by.

The spring is still completely brown and murky. And the resident gator is still there, enjoying his time on the swim raft, just smiling away.

I came to this snowy as it fished on one of the vegetation islands in the middle of the river.

I parked nearby and waited for a while. As I was approaching it, it was doing that wingspread method of fishing, and I wanted to get a picture of it doing that. It quit, however. I sat for a while and watched it poke its beak down here and there into the surface. And then it decided to go somewhere more private.



The wind came up a bit and it was blowing downstream so I decided to turn around after about 2 miles. An osprey flew by from behind me, carrying a fish. It was too far away when I finally got the camera. It landed in a tree and so I paddled over that way. You can barely make out the fish in its left foot--wish I had gotten it flying by!

I saw perhaps three large egrets the whole time I was out. This one still had the green breeding-mode color at its eyes.

On the way upstream I noticed a moorhen on one of the little leafy islands and suspected that it might make a run for it to get to the river's edge. Sure enough, it did.

This juvenile little blue heron is getting some of its darker adult coloration.

Apparently camera-shy, it left.

I went back into Blue Spring on my way back upstream. This little blue heron (which is what the juvenile in the photos above will ultimately look like) was perched along the edge.

I took more snowy pictures as I paddled back to the ramp. This one was sharing a log with a large turtle.

There are a lot of dragonflies swooping around over the water. I did not notice until I got home and saw the picture enlarged that two of them had ended up in this image!

And another "snowy takes off" photo--

I also saw a few more tricolored herons (when will the green herons return, I wonder?). This one was near the boat ramp.

What a great day to be on the river!

I have a trip to North Carolina coming up next week; I am not sure if I will be getting back out again before then. I'll let you know when I do. Stand by.


Beverly said...

As I say every time I come here, I never tire of your photos of these magnificent birds...gators too, although I don't think of them as magnificent.

Kimberlee said...

Love that snowy day! Just as peaceful and beautiful as we have up here, but yours looks much more comfortable temp-wise!

Love those reptiles too! :)

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

I think you simply don't know how talented you are. I just keep looking at the photographs you take, and wonder how perfectionist you are.

Forehead Stamp

Nature Girl said...

these are amazing Peggy, as always, but photo number 17 with the dragonflies...WAAAAAAYYYY cool!

cvpepper11 said...

That wingspan is so angelic! Great shot.

*I Donated to Cornell Ornithology!*

Karen Miedrich-Luo said...

Hello Peggy,
I found your blog thanks to Somerset mag and am thrilled with this post since I love love love egrets and cranes and herons and I'm trying to incorporate drawings into my artwork. Your beautiful photography will give me lots of inspiration and visual detail to draw from.

I also went back to your first posts to see the evolution of your photography since you mention that in the magazine. I'm curious what camera you use and how you get such beautiful detail while the birds (and dragonflies) are in motion.

I'll bookmark your sight and look forward to many more trips with you!

Peggy said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for visiting after seeing the magazine piece!

I am presently using a Nikon D300 with an 80-400mm lens. This camera takes about 6 frames per second so it is very fast, which lets me capture the detail as they move. If you like egrets, I hope you saw the two posts from the rookery--an egret extravaganza!

Thanks again~

Sue said...

I too found your blog through the Artful Blogging mag. Your photos are wonderful. I used to kayak some in central Florida, so it brings back memories as well.

Nancy said...

I found your blog through the Artful Blogging too. What kind of camera do you use? Your photos are amazing!!!! Keep treating us to the wildlife through your eyes!!! Thanks

Peggy said...

Hi Nancy, thanks for visiting!

I use a Nikon D300 with an 80-400mm lens.

I normally get out *much* more often than I have this spring, and this blog is usually updated far more regularly. We had a rainy early spring and now have high winds every day, which keeps me off the river. Stand by, though--I will get back out soon and return to regular updates!


Sandra said...

Peggy, if I ever get in your area,I will let you know. I would love to meet you. what kind of camera and lens do you use for these spectacular photos?
I love the osprey pic. My husband flies RC planes and 2 weeks ago, the osprey that lives in the park, sat on the goal post and watched the plane intently, all of a sudden he lifted straight up in the air and dove on the plane with his talons out to grab it, my husband said he was able to move the plane, as he was afraid it would hurt the Osprey. If I take my camera to the park, the osprey is not there, he only comes when I stay home.