Wildlife: Does It Do Anything But Eat?

June 25, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

It seems like most of the wildlife I photograph is looking for food.  I guess if we weren't fortunate enough to know where our next meal is coming from, we too would spend more time hunting for food.

A couple weeks ago I posted a photograph of a Great Blue Heron standing in shallow water.  I stated it was the closest I was ever allowed to approach the big bird.  That day, the Heron was spooked by a nearby boat and flew to a far shore before I could witness it making a catch.  This week I returned to that same area to find a Great Blue Heron that didn't seem to mind I was there.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/800, ISO 200)

 

This time I got to watch the bird catch its breakfast.  The bird only moved about ten feet in an hour but my patience, and the bird's, paid off.  It plunged into the water and came up with a fish.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/800, ISO 200)

 

After securing the fish in its jaws, it took flight to a shore and walked into the woods. 

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/800, ISO 200)

 

I was walking a deer trail between one of my favorite Lake Arthur coves where I've had success photographing all kinds of birdlife and another clearing next to the lake when I saw movement of a large animal about six feet off the ground.  I've always known that groundhogs can climb trees but never saw one actually do it.  The groundhog in the photo below was perched about six feet off the ground in a shrub eating the flowers.  You can see its two little hands holding the branch and the flower head is almost completely devoured.

Groundhog (Woodchuck)

Groundhog In Tree (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/320, ISO 800)

 

I'll be honest, until last month I never heard of a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.  These little birds are so fast I don't know if I will ever be able to photograph one in flight.  Even when they are in the trees they move pretty fast.  This one gave me the opportunity to get this shot.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/640, ISO 200)

 

The area of the woods I was photographing in was slightly dark because of the heavy foliage.  I changed cameras from the Canon 7D to the Canon 5D Mark III because the 5D has better quality at higher iso's than the 7D and I needed it in this situation.  I didn't even know I got the image below until I viewed it on my computer.  This Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher was jumping around the branches and it appears in this image it wasn't even opening its wings for the branch to branch journey.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/5 @ 420mm, 1/1250, ISO 800)

 

The Chestnut-sided Warbler is an April to October resident with a few coming earlier or staying longer.  Their black, white, yellow, and chestnut red colors you see in this photo disappear in the fall when they undergo a transformation and look more like the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in the photos above. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1000, ISO 800)

 

Last but not least is what I believe to be a juvenile male Baltimore Oriole. The reason I think its a juvenile is because of the spotty black feathers on the head.  Adult males have a jet black head.  If anyone has an opinion otherwise, please leave a comment.

Baltimore Oriole (Juvenile)

Baltimore Oriole (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/5 @ 420mm, 1/320, ISO 800)

Until next time,

Dan

 


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