Tricolored Heron hunting in the surf of the Gulf of Mexico – D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
Waves, warm sand, a camera in hand and a Tricolored Heron. Such simple things but they bring such great pleasure. The Tricolored Heron paid no attention at all to the woman laying in the wet sand with one glassy eye pointed at it as it foraged along the shoreline with waves crashing around it. It was focused entirely on finding prey which allowed me to create a great series of images of it.
Taken at Fort Desoto County Park, Florida in 2008
Mountain Plover on Antelope Island State Park – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
Eight months ago I spotted two Mountain Plovers on Antelope Island State Park and I am still blown away by seeing and photographing those beautiful shorebirds who are uncommon in Utah. Uncommon enough that my sighting of these two birds was only the tenth record accepted by the Utah Bird Records Committee.
I have to wonder since these plovers winter in California and Arizona and breed to the north and east of Utah if they aren’t in Utah more often than we know. Maybe in the spring they rest for a bit on golf courses and sod farms in Utah which would provide the low vegetation they prefer.
I know that I will be keeping an eye out for them in the spring but it is possible to see them even in December as the 9th confirmed sighting in Utah of a Mountain Plover before mine was by Mike Hearell on Christmas Day of 2012.
I am very glad I trained my lens on a pair of tiny birds in the distance to see what they were otherwise I might have missed these lovely Mountain Plovers.
Semipalmated Plover on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
I do love shorebirds and right now there are only a few left in Utah but in Florida there are plenty at this time of the year. I photographed this Semipalmated Plover as it foraged along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida in 2008 while I laid flat on the wet sand getting soaked as the waves pushed onto the shore around the sand bar in the distance. When the shallow waves wash over the wet sand they have an almost mirror-like effect for creating wonderful reflections.
American Avocets at rest – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
The first time I went to Antelope Island State Park was on July 28, 2008 and among the wonderful things that I saw and photographed that trip were hundreds of American Avocets along the causeway to the island. The American Avocet photo above was one of the first images I took on that first visit to what has now become one of my favorite locations to photograph birds and wildlife. The avocets were resting in the shallow water along the shoreline and the island itself is reflected above the blue of the water.
Who couldn’t help but fall in love with Antelope Island?
I know I couldn’t resist.