Beyond the Backyard

Juvenile Shorebirds from Last Summer

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Mommy! Make me a Sandwich!

I found some images from last summer that I had never processed.  In August I spent several mornings at Indian Rocks Beach photographing the nesting Black Skimmers, but the skimmers weren’t the only birds who posed for me.  The juvenile shorebirds also put on a show for the camera.  I especially liked the juvenile terns, who had reached the point that they were almost-self sufficient, but they didn’t know it yet.  They begged and begged for food! The birds above are Sandwich Terns.  The juvenile on the right was begging nonstop for food.  The mom on the left just didn’t seem to care!  The juvie threw his head back and forth and cried out constantly.  Juvies often continue this behavior, even after they have learned to fly and catch their own food.  Sometimes it’s just easier to have Mom bring you food than to find it for yourself! This Royal Tern parent was about as sympathetic to her desperate offspring as the Sandwich Tern.  It’s such fun to watch the juvies dance as they demand attention.  Once you spend any amount of time near a baby bird, with its constant nagging fuss, you recognize the same type of call in […]

Beyond the Backyard

The Chase

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Sandwich Tern chases fish in mid-air

While at Fort De Soto over Labor Day weekend, I captured a fun sequence of images.  The Sandwich Terns were in a feeding frenzy over the ocean.  I tried to photograph them as they grabbed their fish from the ocean.   One grabbed a huge fish, dropped it in mid-air, then dove and caught it again.  It was a very exciting chase, and I was very happy when I checked the back of my camera and saw that I’d caught the whole sequence!  

Beyond the Backyard

Feeding Frenzy at Fort De Soto

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Doin' the Twist!

I had such a good time photographing the terns and gulls in their feeding frenzy at Fort De Soto over Labor Day weekend.  I got to North Beach just after sunrise.  The feeding frenzy from the night before continued as hundreds of birds dove into the waves and pulled out their breakfasts.  There were so many birds!!  It was hard to know what to shoot first.  There wasn’t a lot of light, so I started with group shots… It was a nice breezy morning.  I followed the flock up and down the beach as they fed.  My still images weren’t capturing the masses of birds as well as I wanted, so I switched into video mode.    I chuckled as the gulls all walked to my left to get out of the way of a beach-walker. The sun took its time to peek out that morning.  I didn’t have enough light for good flight shots, so I put my wide-angle lens on and tried for some pleasing blurs.  Some well-known photographers pride themselves on making pleasing blurs, and often I look at their images, carefully crafted to be blurry, and think to myself, “hey, those are the accident shots that […]