Funny thing about photography. No matter where we have been or what we have photographed, it is usually the last pictures we make that are our favorites. From Gambel’s Quail to Roadrunners, and from Short-eared Owls to Crested Caracaras, I have been privileged to photograph a lot of different birds. What are my favorites? A few weeks ago I made some close-up, detailed preening shots of Ring-billed Gulls and Canada Geese. These birds are so common here that I can look out my window and usually see either species. They are not exactly difficult to photograph either. They were the last, so they are my favorites. Before that, some American Kestrel images. My favorite non-wildlife images are a sunrise series made in 2012. Before that another sunrise and a row of trees rimmed in fog. Macros ?. In spring of 2012 I made some detailed images of a small orange flower. I don’t even know what type of flower that was. These were among my last nature photographs. If the time comes that I make new images, then they will undoubtedly become my favorites. If not, the pictures I listed above will surely fade into the past, and more spectacular images of greater subjects, no matter how old, will pass those mentioned photos and climb to the top.
Today is here and then it is gone. Keep making those new favorites, or you’ll wish you did.
One of the most entertaining and photographically productive times a wildlife photographer can have, is to photograph migrating Caspian Terns. They are noisy and aggressive birds. They will court while in migration, with males bribing females with fish. They will also mate if the sushi was good enough for the female. They can be fearless. I once observed a diving Peregrine Falcon make repeated attempts at a water bound Ring-billed Gull while other gulls and ducks huddled in fear. A lone Caspian Tern flew over the breakwater forcing the Falcon to turn in mid-air. The tern chased the Falcon out of sight. He returned a little later to the applause (not really) of gulls, ducks and other Caspians.
Those of you in this area near Lake Michigan will find several locations in the Racine/Kenosha area to be excellent for this purpose.
Those of us who make pictures of birds have a tendency to ignore female ducks. Loons and Grebes are equally spectacular with both sexes. Mergansers have differences, but still those females are visually interesting with their crests and wild red hairdos. Even unusually shaped ducks like Northern Shovelers and Ruddy Ducks see the ladies getting a decent amount of attention. Then there are those normal looking species. The females are colored to blend in with the grasses as to not give away the location of eggs. I found this female Blue-winged Teal a few years ago and thought I would give her some recognition.
I’ll finish with a shot of a male Bufflehead Duck. If you know me you know that the patterns, and qualities of the water can mean as much to me as the subject. It’s all part of the picture. Of course that iridescent face & neck of the duck doesn’t hurt.
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