Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Year In Review I

The Little Blue Heron above was photographed at San Carlos Bay: Bunche Beach Preserve in January 2009.

The beginning of the year was an exceptionally exciting time as I was getting the feel for some newly acquired photography gear that would give me great pleasure and grief. I made a trip to San Carlos Bay: Bunche Beach Preserve (SCBBBP) early in the month and one to Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve towards the end.

The Red-shouldered Hawk above was photographed at Picayune State Forest in February 2009.

A number of Great Florida Birding Trail sites were visited in this month including those in the area of the Florida Everglades while nearly getting lost in Picayune State Forest. I also made a trip to "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge where I observed the Common Merganser for the first time. I made a trip to the east coast where I visited Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center (both venues highly recommended at this time of year). Shore and wading birds were observed in beautiful breeding condition at SCBBBP.

The Northern Mockingbird with Bald Eagle and juvenile above was photographed at Lovers Key State Park in March 2009.

I made six trips to Lovers Key State Park to observe the successful nesting of a pair of Bald Eagle fledglings. One of the most exciting sights I've made in all my birding was simply watching an Osprey aggressively defending its territory against an adult eagle. The aerobatics were stunning and never to be forgotten. My trips to National Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the middle and towards the end of the month offered some extraordinary views from the boardwalk of the wading birds and alligators in very close proximity to each other in the dwindling waters of the "swamp." It was at this time I realized how essentially critical it is to be using flash with one's photography there. To end the month, I made a "day" trip to Key West visiting three clusters of the South Region of the Great Florida Birding Trail and six venues within them. I captured an image of a Palm Warbler at Crane Point Museum and Nature Center in Marathon that I would later enter in Audubon's inaugural photo contest.

The Great Egret juvenile above was photographed at San Carlos Bay: Bunche Beach Preserve in April 2009.

I visited Lovers Key State Park, Lakes Park, SCBBBP, Bowditch Point, and Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area, at least once. Without doubt, the highlights were the visits to "Bird Island" at SCBBBP including one with fellow wildlife enthusiast and photographer, Alena King, whom had earlier told me of the prolific breeding activity at Bunche Beach Preserve. It was at this time that there was a shutter mechanism failure with my Canon 1dm3 camera coincidentally three months to the day after my first shots with it.

The Black Skimmer above was photographed at Tigertail Beach in May 2009.

A follow up trip was made to "Bird Island" with Alena at the beginning of the month. The experience for me was extraordinary in the observation of hundreds of nests and the diversity of bird species using them. I used the Nikon D80 solely on these trips to the island with ease of carrying it and the accompanying 70-300mm lens on the Kayak. Also in the early part of the month I visited 16 venues within five clusters of the West Region of the Great Florida Birding Trail (slightly North of the Tampa Bay area and South). An image of a pair of Laughing Gull taken at Sand Key Park in Clearwater would be a second of four images submitted to Audubon. Three trip to Lovers Key State Park were made with hopes to observe the Least Tern breeding on the beach. Their numbers were dramatically lower than those seen in 2007. My first trip to Tigertail Beach was also made for the first time early in the month.

The Reddish Egret above was photographed at Lovers Key State Park in June 2009.

Early in the month, I made my second trip to Tigertail Beach that was cut short by a thunderstorm that began to unleash a maelstrom a mere hundred yards from the car. A final trip to Lovers Key State Park was made, not to happen again for six months. The nesting Least Tern activity at Lovers Key was regrettably minimal. Three additional trips were also made to Bunche Beach Preserve. While I've yet to visit Tigertail Beach in the winter months, I greatly favor Bunche Beach by far for its wildlife opportunities in comparing these two similar venues as I've experienced thus far.

1 comment:

  1. Love the reddish egret shot. Fantastic coloration in those birds...