A high key image of a Great White Heron inundated with flies while wading in the shallow ocean waters off the island of Holbox in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Great White Herons are not common and typically only seen in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. When I first sighted this bird, I thought it was a Great Egret. However, I later identified this beauty as a White Heron because its legs are yellow as compared to the legs of a Great Egret which are black. Other small but notable differences are that Great White Herons are larger overall and their bills are hefty in appearance as compared to the elegant slim bill of an egret.
Frankly, bird identification can be quite difficult, and at times can prove to be as challenging as photographing them! However, knowing that egrets are a type of heron but that herons are not egrets, that Red-bellied woodpeckers do not have red bellies, and that black birds are not necessarily black birds, the complexity of identifying birds does not come as too much of a surprise.
A young Harbour Seal peeking out at the world beyond from the ocean waters of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, B.C..
On this particular day while I was photographing birds I spotted a mother seal with her young pup navigating the ocean waters. Seals are curious creatures and I was delighted when this seal pup peeked out at the world beyond with those big sad eyes. Truly a precious moment in nature, and a most memorable moment for me. I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at a focal length of 300 mm, F4 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 sec and an ISO of 2500.
I am delighted to share that this image was published and awarded on the fine art photography website 1X. It was also featured on Global BC as photo of the week. It remains one of my all time favourite images, and that may be because of the memory of a truly precious moment in nature!
Brant Geese are handsome birds with blackish-brown and white plumage, short necks and stubby black bills. They are easily identifiable by the white necklace of feathers at the top of their necks and a delightfully distinct cackle.
Brant Geese arrive in flocks on the east coast of central Vancouver Island each Spring. They are seen in abundance on the shorelines of Parksville, Rathtrevor and Qualicum where they stop to rest and feed on eel-grass and other aquatic vegetation before continuing their migration from Mexico and California to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. The months of March and April are the best months to visit for prime viewing opportunities.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image
with a Nikon D8500 at focal length of 500 mm, aperture of 8, shutter
speed of 1/800 second, and an ISO of 180.
March brings the Herring Run to Vancouver Island, B.C. Therefore the featured image is a portrait of a California sea lion, photographed at the French Creek Marina in Parksville, Vancouver Island, B.C.. She looks like a Little Darling to me! French Creek is a great spot to view both Stellar and California sea lions which are found in abundance on the east coast of Vancouver Island during the annual Herring Run which typically begins in mid-March. California sea lions are smaller and darker in colour than Steller sea lions. Their vocalization resembles a dog barking which awakens me most every morning during the season! I have come to love watching and listening to sea lions, who are naturally inquisitive and seemingly playful. It is not uncommon for a sea lion to swim closer to shore seemingly in a quest to check you out.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image with a Nikon D8500 at focal length of 500 mm, aperture of 9, shutter speed of 1/250 second, and an ISO of 800.
February is the month of love so it is only fitting that the featured image is one I have titled “Mating Dance,” featuring a pair of Pigeon Guillemots in breeding colours engaging in flirtatious play over the ocean waters of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, B.C..
Pigeon Guillemots are seabirds that can dive to depths of forty-five meters! They use their wings to propel themselves through the water in search of aquatic prey. I adore observing these birds for their bright red feet and especially for their acrobatics while in flight and at play.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at focal length of 300mm, aperture of 4, shutter speed of 1/1600 second, and an ISO of 720.
This image of a mother deer and two her fawns in a farmer’s field brings back fond memories of a vacation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. During my visit I would often glimpse deer on the road and in the fields, and it soon became apparent that White-tailed deer are shy. The deer would spook just at the sight of me!
Capturing this moment entailed formulating a plan which included arising before the crack of dawn, hiding in a tent on a field, and waiting for a deer to show up. I imagined that I was a photographer for National Geographic on assignment and much to my delight this beautiful doe showed up with her two fawns to graze on the greenery in the field.
Taking cover in the tent allowed me to be near without spooking the deer. Indeed, because I was sight unseen they hung around for a while. I captured a few images, but this was my favourite for the golden light and because they appear to be looking at me. Even though they could not see me it appeared to me that they had some sense of my presence.
White-tailed deer are also referred to as Virginia deer. Their coats are a beautiful reddish brown in the summer months and the underside of their tails are white. The fawns are born with white spots which provide camouflage.
I captured this image with a Nikon D80 at shutter speed of 1/60 second, F5 and an ISO of 400 at a focal length of 75mm, with a Nikkor DX 18-200mm lens at 5:15 a.m.. I used a tripod as the light was low.
Much to my delight this image was featured by Your Shot National Geographic as one of the daily dozen. So yes, it was worthwhile arising before the crack of dawn!
In honour of National Bird Day my first blog post and featured image is one I have titled “Racing the Surf,” showcasing the beauty of a Brown Pelican in flight displaying the beauty of its wings as it evades the white water of a crashing wave at Los Ayala beach in Nayarit, Mexico. I am very fond of Brown Pelicans, a bird with Pterodactyl-like wings, a bird that appears rather plain and clumsy on land but I think is magnificently beautiful in flight. On this particular morning the surf was up and the crashing waves made for a unique background.
Pelicans are the birds that instilled my passion for photography and will always hold a special place in my heart. Therefore I was delighted when this image was published and awarded by 1X Photography.
For those interested in the technical details, I captured this image with a Nikon D7100 at focal length of 300mm, aperture of 8, shutter speed of 1/2000 second, and an ISO of 900. It also entailed waiting patiently for a pelican to take off in flight in front of a crashing wave, all the while avoiding getting myself and more importantly my camera wet!
National Bird Day is every January 5th and a special day created to celebrate birds! In 1970 Brown Pelicans were declared endangered due to environmental pollutants such as DDT. In 2009 they were removed from the endangered bird list as a result of the conservation efforts of the Endangered Species Act which protects the habitat of birds. Another great reason to celebrate National Bird Day!