Friday, November 26, 2010

The British Are Coming . . . To Harns Marsh Preserve

Belted Kingfisher in flight was the first species of bird seen in my initial follow up visit to Harns Marsh Preserve this past week.

The Belted Kingfisher above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The kingfisher, near the end of my visit to the preserve, would offer its characteristic hunting technique for observation by hovering over the lake for a brief moment and then flew into the cypress stand.

The Snail Kite and Limpkin were viewed as expected with a surprise in seeing about a half dozen juvenile Limpkin well camouflaged in the reeds I often hear the Limpkin calling from.

The Limpkin above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Killdeer were frequently seen in the grass along the shoreline of the marsh and in flight as well.

It was hoped to see waterfowl that I have yet to have the opportunity to observe in my study of birds.

The Killdeer above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Harns Marsh Preserve seems fitting to be an ideal place to do this although no previously unseen sightings were made this week.

I also failed to see the Redhead again this week, nor did I see or hear any Sandhill Cranes on my first visit although a pair were seen flying west to east directly overhead nearly immediately upon arrival on my second visit to the preserve two days later.

The Common Moorhen above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Tree Swallows were in great abundance again and I couldn't resist the challenge of attempting to photograph them effectively with the long lens.

At the spot the swallows have favored most as noted earlier, I entered the water to get closer to the action and get lower to the ground.

The Wood Stork juvenile above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The lens was about 18 inches above the water's surface for about a half hour worth of observation.

The water was of course uncomfortably cold with no obvious presence of the alligator I had seen a few months ago.

The Tree Swallow above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The Tree Swallows were at one point congregating on a stand of tall grass which I took advantage of as best I could.

It was interesting to observe what appeared to be a concerted effort on the part of the birds to flatten the grass for a more comfortable perching opportunity over time.

The Tree Swallow above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Flight shots remained extremely challenging of the Tree Swallows as the lens wanted to focus on the vegetation more than the birds.

I am aware that I can adjust the lens' focus distance range to minimize this problem, but opted not to experiment at the time.

The Tree Swallow above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

As I again contemplated a walk around the preserve, I was offered the opportunity for flight shots of the Snail Kite.

Further along my walk I caught sight of several Red-breasted Merganser.

The Snail Kite above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Shortly thereafter I would again have the chance to observe an Eastern Phoebe.

In its company was a Red-bellied Woodpecker working a stately pine in a small stand of trees.

The Red-breasted Merganser above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

A solitary Blue-gray Gnatcatcher remained shyly in the shadows.

Other movement within the tree stand would lead to a sighting of Pine Warbler.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The more fortuitous second visit to Harns Marsh Preserve led to observation of feeding behavior of a Limpkin which was accommodatingly close to the shore line.

The bird had to go relatively deep for its quarry and came up with a meal.

The Palm Warbler above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

I'm not sure if the Limpkin senses prey with its feet or forages simply with its bill or a combination of both . . . yet.

The decision to attempt to capture the bird entirely in focus at close range unfortunately led to the slower shutter speed that defeated success at the critical moment with the Limkin's head in motion at the time of consuming its meal.

The Limpkin above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Minutes later it was a great pleasure to meet BPNer, Chris Baker, and his wife Rachael, visiting the area from the United Kingdom.

In a review of a few of the images of the Limkin's feeding behavior, I noted a particular image seemingly showing movement of the bird, Chris offered subtle criticism without saying a word pointing at my choice of an f/9 aperture setting of the lens noted on the camera's monitor.

The Limpkin above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Chris told me that he and Rachael were staying adjacent to Little Estero Lagoon.

He noted that Roseate Spoonbills were flying in about 45 minutes before sunset quite predictably at the lagoon.

Chris and Rachael Baker above were photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Chris was evidently at Harns Marsh Preserve for some good Snail Kite and Limpkin action.

He was using Canon gear and noted that he typically uses all focus points in his photography successfully.

The Roseate Spoonbill above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Chris mentioned observing a Limpkin at Corkscrew Swamp which I've yet to encounter at that venue.

He spoke of his Snail Kite observations at Joe Overstreet Landing and was disappointed with Venice Rookery before its recent manicuring.

The Snail Kite above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The kites at Harns Marsh Preserve were prolific, but tantalizingly out of range for stellar photography of the species.

I believe Chris was content with capturing three of the kites in a single shot.

The Great Egret above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

I'm looking forward to seeing the image at his newly created Pbase site where it can be determined additional details of the birds.

An overflight of Rock Dove was a treat for me last seen at the preserve in the spring while I've otherwise only observed these birds on highway light poles in the local area.

The Rock Dove above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Glossy Ibis were very active and it what interesting to hear Chris note that he has yet to capture an image of the species he is overly pleased with as is the case for me.

As Rachael sported a pair of binoculars, she was keen to point out to us a Bald Eagle that got no closer than a quarter mile from our observation point in my estimation.

The Blue-winged Teal above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

Another avid birding couple joined us for a while as the action unfortunately began to quite down in the waning hours of the morning.

It was interesting to hear the birder, with nearly 700 species seen, describe a purpose of the untold possibilities that exist with future observation.

The Glossy Ibis above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

I was perplexed in attempting to identify his recommended resource referred to as TAM which was described as offering recent sighting alerts which he followed.

I think he meant to refer to TAS- or the Tropical Audubon Society which greatly benefits the east coast of south Florida.

The Blue-winged Teal above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

He was sporting an out of the box 80-400 Nikkor lens that he appeared very excited to make good use of.

At about this time, the unexpected happened with the approach of a shepherd mix at good speed.

The Green Heron above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

The dog was very inquisitive with a playful nature that didn't comprehend the command to sit.

Its owner would arrive about twenty minutes later with a plea that someone grab the dog's collar.

The Common Moorhen above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

He apologized for the dog's behavior noting that it knew it was in trouble.

On the drive home, I passed an American Kestrel flying parallel to me on the north side of the highway.

The unexpected above was photographed at Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

I pulled over to see that it had landed on a fence post well behind me.

As I got out of the car, a motorized dirt biker blazed by at his top speed which had caused the falcon to take flight into the field.

The American Kestrel above was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

I drove the car back to attempt to see the extremely colorful predator again and was lucky to see it had landed on another fence post and observed it briefly in flight over the field.

This experience with the falcon was hurried and will think better of the opportunity in the future.

The American Kestrel above was photographed near Harns Marsh Preserve in November 2010.

If you encounter Chris and Rachael in your travels, you're in for some very enjoyable company.

4 comments:

  1. Very informative blog. Has been of great help as we plan our trip to Miami next month! Btw you have labelled your American Kestrel as a pergerine :-) Keep up the great work.

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  2. Your comment is greatly appreciated, Michael. Imagine my excitement in seeing this bird for the third time in as many years of wildlife observation. There are opportunities on the east coast of Florida that are not typically found over here on the west coast, notably at the time of your visit. You should not be disappointed with your endeavors. Onward to correct the blog entry . . . ; )

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  3. Wonderful photography!
    You would be welcome to contribute and help to begin a new endevour called "World Bird Wednesday" a chance for bird photographers to share and spread word of their blogs to others!
    Visit http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/ and check it out!
    Springman!

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  4. Peter Shapiro & Nanette SchorrDecember 4, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    We (the "avid birders" with the new lens) join the other commentators who have expressed their appreciation for the beauty (photography) and value (wildlife information) of this site. And we are grateful for the discretion of the author in omitting reference to the "feedback" directed at the dog owner whose animal ended our otherwise wonderful day at the marsh. We intend to consult this site before all future birding visits to Florida.

    ReplyDelete