Beyond the Backyard

Quiet Morning at MINWR

Posted on

All week long, I’ve been seeing these amazing sunrises in the east.  The colors have been extraordinary.  Each morning, I’ve wanted to drive to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and photograph the sunrise over the water.  But instead I had to go to work.  :-p  Funny how work gets in the way of birding and photography! So on my off-Friday, I drove over to MINWR in the pre-dawn hours.  I made sure I was there half an hour before sunrise, when the colors are the best.  I knew of a place on Gator Creek where I’d have a nice reflection in the water.  I had my 40D body all ready with my wide(r)-angle lens.  But the sunrise didn’t cooperate.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the spectacular sunrise that I’d been drooling over.  There were too many dense clouds.  So I was a little disappointed, but then as the sun rose higher in the sky, it peeked out from behind the clouds and gave me something to photograph after all: Note that this picture was an HDR combination of three shots, taken at +/-2 EV.  I used Photomatix Pro to combine the shots.  I’m liking Photomatix more and more, as […]

Beyond the Backyard

A Morning of Firsts at the Click Ponds

Posted on

I saw several birds for the first time this morning at the Click Ponds: two Wilson’s Phalaropes, Black Terns, Stilt Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper.  It was a fun morning to be out! I arrived at the Click Ponds (across from Viera Wetlands) just after sunrise.  The Click Ponds have all but dried up and now have “gone green.”  It’s so strange to see grass growing where the water is supposed to be.  The migrating shorebirds don’t mind it this way, though. There were at least fifty Sandhill Cranes roosting at the ponds when I arrived.  (According to Michael Libbe, I just missed the four Roseate Spoonbills and the Egyptian Goose. Oh well!)  Donna Faylo joined us and we all stood watching the cranes as they danced in the gorgeous morning light.  Most the cranes were adults, but there were a couple of juveniles mixed in. In small family groups, the cranes began to take off and fly away for their daily routine.  Most of them flew away from us.  We talked to the cranes and encouraged them to fly towards us. The light was gorgeous!  I used my zoom lens and dialed in an extra stop for compensation.  Finally […]