Cattle Egret, Bulbucus ibis

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Pretty day! Plenty of Ospreys around, I found one that would pose. The cross is on the grounds of Mission Nombre De Dios, next to Hospital Creek. At 208 feet it stands over all of St. Augustine.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Here Comes Winter Again!

Below freezing temps predicted tonight and tomorrow, but the Sun will be visible! Photography inside a cloud bank isn't much fun, all the colors get lost.
I installed a new ballhead on my tripod, the original was poor quality, just wouldn't hold steady enough for long shots. Stabilized optics only do so much, a solid tripod is needed. I often hang extra glass on my cameras, and that makes things even trickier.

It's time to start planning for nesting season at the St.Augustine Alligator Farm. A great way to keep up with what's happening there is
You can take pictures that would cost many thousands of dollars in travel expenses, if you actually set out across the boonies, and you'd be unlikely to get as close to the action.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've had a Photobucket account for a long time, I've weathered the changes as they came, even when I didn't like them, and watched as Photobucket moved away from an image host for halfway serious photographers, towards a baby sitter for teeny boppers! Well, they know where the money is, I reckon, but, Photobucket becomes less friendly to me with each passing day.
At this moment the Photobucket Forum is locked, while they make "upgrades", and there seems to be no way to make contact. I have no idea what they are doing, but,I have seen some changes in the way my images link, and if these changes predict the future I ain't looking forward to it!
Once a year they just grab some bucks right out of my checking account, they don't even need to ask, and they don't even need to worry, unless I die, the money will be there!
Oh, well, I wouldn't have needed to post this rant, except that Photobucket has turned off it's ears, who knows, maybe they'll read this blog?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Things started out bright and blue this morning, but at a little after 1 PM a bank of fog rolled in from offshore, sat down, and started to thicken. No used trying any long shots, you couldn't see them anyway.
I made my rounds, all the usual places, and found a few depressed looking critters to aggravate, they were standing around, almost dozing. The tide wasn't right for feeding, next good tide cycle will be after dark.

Monday, January 26, 2009



Recently, on a blog I commented on, I related a story from my younger days, when I hunted. Very shortly, someone else came on and posted a snarky reply. I didn't see it, the blog owner deleted it.
I try not to stereotype, I don't like it when it happens and I am the victim, and I don't expect that anyone else does, either.
Someone obviously doesn't know much about me, or about most of the hunters I've known throughout my life. I'm not a blood thirsty killer, never have been. I don't have any friends who are, either. Whatever I hunted ended up on my families table, as did the clams I raked, the oysters I gathered, and the fish I caught. The creatures I hunted and fished for ended up no deader than like food purchased in plastic wrap is dead, and likely put less strain on our environment than commercial production would have. I know I certainly was more aware of my part in the food chain than had I simply run to the butcher shop. I started with a respect for all life, and I'll end with that respect.
Some of y'all are urban folks, you grew up with an alternate reality, one where you call an electrician to change an electric receptacle, and a plumber to unstop your drain, and you also pay someone else to process and provide your food, well, that's fine, with me. I'm sorry you missed the joy of long days afield, the days when I saw nothing, as well as the days I brought food home, all good days! I'm sorry you missed the pride in doing the plumbing and electrical work for your home. Any difficulty I might have, in understanding just how you can be so dependent on other folks, for so many things, is something I don't talk about much, it's none of my business, and you obviously like things that way. For the most part, I don't talk about it, because it would be rude!
My feelings about our environment are expressed in the pictures I take.
I will make no apology for my history as a hunter. Please take care not to lump me in with the idiots you hear about on the news, they aren't me, nothing like me!
My people, some of them, anyway, were hunting this land thousands of years ago, with love and respect, and a sense of belonging!

Tsiya {otter}

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Today started out sunny, but that didn't last. I managed a few shots coming home from grocery shopping, but the light was failing fast. I won't complain too much, I could be up to my ears in a snow bank!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Change of pace.

I pulled some flowers and bugs from the archives, with a couple taken in 2007 with my little old Olympus C2100UZ. The "UZ1" was the first really successful ultrazoom camera. It used a Canon lens assembly, image stabilized, went from 38mm to 380mm equivalent. It's only 2.1 MP, but every one of those pixels sizzles! It handles macro shots with ease, great saturation, yeah, I love this 9 year old camera. I have a junked unit for parts, but with my luck the parts I will need will be broken on the junker. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and take good care of it.

ID Change

Based on the advice of experts I've changed the ID on my most recent hawk capture, from a Cooper's hawk to a Red shouldered hawk.I am always grateful for help, ID can be tricky with young birds.
Thanks, folks!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Mall Photography Issue Resolved

Dear Bob:

We were sorry to learn of your recent unpleasant experience at St. Augustine Premium Outlets. It was certainly not our intent to prevent visitors to our center from taking photographs as a memento or for personal use. Among other responsibilities, our security officers are charged with checking with photographers who are taking photos at our center. In addition to homeland security concerns, we also need to ensure that photos are taken for personal (non-commercial) use, and that any media who may be visiting our center is properly welcomed and escorted during their visit. While this appears to be a simple matter of poor judgment by our Security officer, unfortunately oftentimes what may appear to be an innocent activity could in reality not be the case. In observing your actions, however, our officer should have simply confirmed that your wildlife photos were for personal use and permitted you to continue. We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention and will review the intent of our photography policy with all Security personnel immediately in order to hopefully avoid similar unpleasant incidents from occurring again in the future. Again, we sincerely apologize for the apparent lack of judgment and for your inconvenience, and hope that you will continue to visit our Center for your outlet shopping needs. Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any questions or wish to further discuss this matter.

Best regards,

Terri Mannes

Director of Operations - Southeast Region

Chelsea Property Group

A SIMON Company

Monday, January 19, 2009


About an hour ago I was sitting in the parking lot of the St. Augustine Premium Outlet Mall, and, I took several pictures of a Little Blue Heron and a pair of Hooded Mergansers that were in the retention pond. One of their security guards came up and told me that no one was allowed to take pictures there. I'm not sure how the actual law reads on this, but I won't bother them any more, either with my shopping, or my photography.
I will make sure that every wildlife photographer I communicate with, a considerable number, is aware that while they can spend money at the St. Augustine Premium Outlet Mall, they dare not pull out a camera and point it at a bird!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ailing brown pelicans may be victims of frostbite

FAIRFIELD – Pelican No. 4 has a typical injury for a California waterbird: a puncture from a fishhook in its left wing.

But No. 93 has no visible injuries; it's just weak and hungry. And the condition of a third pelican shows that something is seriously amiss with this weary flock: dead, black skin on its webbed feet.

Friday, January 16, 2009


The images I posted today aren't what I want them to be, but they are the best I've done yet with American Kestrels. They are tiny and they are spooky, a shoot fast situation. I don't like pictures of birds sitting on wires, but for now I'll take what I can get. The male Kestrel has blue/gray wings, they are pretty little critters, if you can get close enough to notice!


I do a lot of shooting from a blind under a big Oak in my yard. It is dark under there, but the birds like it, and the seed the squirrels dump from the feeder. The built in flash is often just not enough. I use 2 units that are triggered by photocells, I can set them out where I predict I'll need the light. One is an inexpensive unit, OK, just a bit fragile, the other a Vivitar 283 with a photocell trigger added.
A note on the Vivitar and other older flash units, they often have trigger voltages high enough to fry a digital camera, when in doubt, DON'T use them in your cameras hot shoe. The little Phoenix unit is digital safe, the Vivitar isn't, although newer Vivitar units work just fine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunshine is back!

We had a sunny Wednesday, clear and calm, the ponds were like glass. Not many birds around, I went looking for the pair of Osprey I watch, found them, but couldn't get set with a good light angle. I moved down the creek and there was a young male Osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. The light was about perfect, the bird was calm, and I just sat there taking pictures. The tide cycle will begin to get more favorable as next week goes on, good for finding wading birds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1.99 inches of rain

Some of the ponds have been low, some even dried up, so, this rain should help freshen things up. The weather service predicts 2 days of cold but sunny weather, then back to cloudy again. Tomorrow and Thursday will find me moving around with a camera, for sure!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kamikaze pelicans baffling Calif. scientists

Scores of weak and disoriented California brown pelicans have been slamming into cars and boats, landing on highways and airport runways, and turning up dead in back yards and parking lots many miles from their normal coastal habitats.

This behavior is far from ordinary, say wildlife experts. A lapel-grabbing press release from the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro says that something has gone seriously awry with the birds.


The Sun was hard to find today, as were models. I found a small flock of Hooded Mergansers behind a big mall, set my little folding stool on the bank and just stayed a while. I-95 runs just East of the pond, you get reflections from passing cars and trucks, never know what will roll by next.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


My Picasa album is all messed up, pics will be back later, I hope!


I'm no biologist, but I see the massing of Ibis as a sign of the coming breeding season. In the coming days the younger, nonbreeding birds will find themselves kicked out of Ibis social affairs, left to fend on their own. You will find them all over the place looking for dinner. This is a good time to find first year waterbirds in general, momma is going to cut the apron strings to start a new brood. The first year birds aren't as cautious as mature birds, this makes for some great photo opportunities.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where do I find models?

A couple of times a week someone will ask me where I go to find my models. They rell me that they never see things worth photographing near where they live and work.
My last two photo expeditions were really exotic, a couple of retention ponds behind big shopping malls. You just have to slow down and look, sit still for a while, something is likely to show up.
One of my most productive sites is a retention pond at the corner of a boat ramp parking area, when it contains any water it draws birds from miles around, the sea birds love a bath in fresh water and a drink. It's dry right now, we need some real rain, but when the rain comes the birds will follow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


A friend showed me another access point for the Moultrie Creek Eagles nest. The range is a lot shorter than where I tried last week. It is still long enough to work my camera and lens hard, makes me want a DSLR, but they don't grow on trees. I made this shot in mid afternoon, morning would have been better, with the Sun behind me.
I had the tripod set up on a floating dock, not the most stable place around, but the clearest view. I kept hoping to catch one of the birds on the edge of the nest, all I got was a head shot. The shot is not cropped, image quality just isn't good enough to do much with. A morning shot will be much better.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


TALK TO ME! this blog is getting visitors, but, they take a peek and run! I really enjoy discussion of wildlife, and wildlife issues, and photography, so, say something!
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Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major fem

Wood Stork Mycteria americana

Wood Stork Mycteria americana


MALLARD Anas Platyrhynchos



Tricolored heron Egretta tricolor

Tricolored heron Egretta tricolor

Tricolored heron Egretta tricolor


Brown Pelican chestnut neck

Brown Pelican white neck

Brown Pelican juvenile

What Do You Get?

What Do You Get?

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura