Who you calling ugly! The Wood Stork, seen here close up at Orlando Wetlands Scenic Park in Christmas, Florida, USA, is, it is safe to say, not a pretty bird. It is majestic. It is interesting. It is, for those who appreciated such things, even beautiful. But it is not pretty. I remember how excited I was to see my first Wood Stork, years ago, in Georgia. It was only a glimpse through dense brush, but it was certainly memorable. In Florida, they are common in most any wetland, and I have, by now, been really close on several occasions. Every sighting is still memorable! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
A kind of supplement to my Pic for today. A close-up of the wing patterns of the Anhinga. Orlando Wetlands Scenic Park, Christmas, Florida, USA. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I have extolled the virtues of Dave and Dave’s Costa Rica Nature Park for bird photography already, but these shots demonstrate what is possible there once more. Raining hard but I was dry, and the birds are close. They do put out natural banana rounds to bring the birds in, but that is the only way you are likely to get this close to a Green Honeycreeper. This is the female, and it is the “green” in the name. The male is blue-green at best, and most people would call it blue. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications, plus Multi-frame Noise Reduction. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
One of the problems with my yearly Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventures in Costa Rica is that the first day is always so spectacular that it sets a high bar for the remainder of the trip. We start in the morning birding around the hotel grounds above San Jose, and then move on to the hummingbirds and barbets and and warblers and butterflies of La Paz Waterfall Gardens…then stop at at the little back deck at Soda Y Mirador Cinchona for toucanets and more barbets and tanagers and guans and more hummingbirds and arrive at Selva Verde in time for the 5 o’clock Howler Monkey serenade. Most people see more birds in that single day than they see in several months in North America. If Costa Rica was not so rich in birds and wildlife and scenery, and it each day did not top the last, the trip might be all downhill after the first day.
I am writing and posting this tonight, for tomorrow morning, since we will meet at 5am to bird the entrance road…the world famous entrance road…to the La Silva Biological Station. La Silva is often sited as having one of the highest biodiversities of anywhere in the world. And then in the afternoon, we will go hunting owls and bats and wood rails, iguanas and glass frogs, with Cope, around his little half acre paradise and the further neighborhood. Better and better.
What we have here is an Emerald, or Blue-throated Emerald Toucanet at Soda Y Mirador Cinchona. There were three, at eye-level and at about 12 feet. Then one came into the fruit feeder at the corner of the porch and sat less than 4 feet from our fascinated and happy faces. I could literally have petted its head as it feed on the fruit. Happy faces indeed.
Posting may be erratic and in the evening instead of the morning as I have a few more minutes after supper than before breakfast. There is no place in the world for bird photography that is better than Costa Rica 🙂
As we were turning the boat around after our first Shoebill sighting in the Mabamba Wetlands near Entebbe, Uganda (no easy task as the channel was choked with water plants), one of the African Jacanas that had been feeding nearby decided to come really near. This shot, taken at 1200mm equivalent (2X Clear Image Zoom) is cropped only for composition. The bird was close! Note that unlike most water-weed-walking birds, the Jacana does not have webbed or lobbed toes. It relies on the huge spread of its foot to support it on floating vegetation. Sony RX10IV. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr. #Epic_Uganda_Vacations.
There are always a few “clusters” of Grass Pink Orchids (when there are Grass Pink Orchids at all), and it is common for one plant to have several blossoms, but this year in the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms the orchids seemed uncommonly clustery and particularly prolific. And who can object to such a display, especially when dealing with a beautiful flower that, due to lack of habit, is becoming rare? Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (top panel) and 62mm (bottom panel). Macro mode (in the Scene Modes). Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
I apologize in advance, but you are probably going to have to endure several days of Grass Pink Orchid posts (with maybe a few Rose Pagonias thrown in. 🙂 I rode down to Laudholm Farms yesterday, on a somewhat foggy, misty morning, as a front came through bringing rain, to see if the Orchids were in bloom in the little remnant bog they have preserved in the lower fields at Laudholm. They were…both Rose Pagonia and Grass Pink. And, I have not seen a bloom like this year’s in all the years I have been watching this little bog. There were many clusters of both orchids…half a dozen to a cluster…and the total number of blooming plants had to be above 50…and that is just what I could easily see from the boardwalk. Last year I found only a few Rose Pagonias and only 2 Grass Pinks. What a difference a year can make. The Grass Pinks were fresh, so very purple pink, and the subdued light helped to bring out the intensity of the color. I probably said this last year (and maybe the year before) but they really need to come up with a better name for this orchid than “Grass Pink.” The Greek generic name is “Beautiful Beard”, but this is not, upon reflection, much better. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful bog orchids I have seen. It is also relatively unique in the orchid world because the stem twists to present the flower upside down, with the tongue at the top. There is more of interest here…but I don’t want to tell you everything today, as I have more pics for tomorrow. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
A friend drove up from Concord to visit for the day yesterday and I took him to Saco Heath…the southern-most peat bog of any size in Maine…protected and maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Over the past 3 years they have completely renewed the boardwalk across the bog, and upgraded the trail, so it is a pleasure to visit. The Sheep-laurel is in bloom, but there (as in Southern Maine in general) it is not looking good this year. The blossoms are small and bit weathered looking. However the Pitcher Plant was also in bloom and there were lots of them, way more than I have seen in past years (at least near enough to the boardwalk for photography) and they were looking very healthy indeed. This is one of the larger specimens…about 3 1/2 inches across. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm optical with some Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
The Common Whitetail is not a particularly elegant dragonfly, and, true to its name, it can be among the most common dragons on the wing in early summer, but it is still a fascinating creature. This, taken at Emmon’s Preserve in rural Kennebunkport, is an immature male, which has not developed the pruinose on the tail that will turn it white with time. (Pruinosity is a waxy power that forms on the surface of the dragonfly.) Females don’t have the solid black bars across the wings. This one was posed so nicely for a perfect portrait shot. Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Another very common dragonfly all over southern Maine, but especially at the ponds on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area: Slaty Skimmer. Not the most attractive dragon, and very similar to the much more showy (at least in flight) Spangled Skimmer with which it shares habitat. Still, it has an understated elegance all its own. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.