Posts in Category: Merritt Island NWR

Painted Bunting again…

I had two encounters with the Painted Buntings that come to the feeders at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, near Titusville, Florida (USA) during this year’s Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. It is always way too dark under the trees at the end of the deck at the Visitor Center where the feeders hang, and my last day there and my last shot at the Buntings began with overcast, which meant even less light. I remembered this time to pack my little light cube and my small light panel…led devices which mount in the flash-shoe on my Sony Rx10iv. They are not flashes…they are intended for video and provide a consistent and much softer light…daylight balanced…so that most birds and animals do not respond to them at all, especially during daylight. Even at close distance, it is maybe like the sun just peaked out around a cloud as far as they are concerned, so I don’t feel bad about using the cube or panel for supplemental light when needed. Though I was still using Multi-frame Noise Reduction on the Sony Rx10iv with the well shaded buntings, the light panel provided just enough extra light to capture more detail and to further reduce noise in the background. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications plus MFNR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Also there is a poem 🙂

2/2

The male Painted Bunting came

4 times in the 15 minutes I could

give it between engagements.

The miraculous pallet of the painter

rewarded me past any reason or

expectation. It happens too often

for me to ignore. I am becoming

convinced the creator has a particular

fondness for both birds and birders.

Pink and white…

While I was at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, a fresh brine shrimp hatch brought all the wading species along Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Florida, USA) together in one 100 yard stretch of the roadside channel…making for some interesting juxtapositions. Here a Great Egret and two Roseate Spoonbills crown a bush. Sony Rx10iv at 315mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Black Skimmer!

I published a Day Poem this morning, based on this experience. I love watching Black Skimmers at work…and I certainly enjoy trying to catch them in action. I have my “birds in flight and action modifications” to Program mode programed into the focus hold button on the Sony’s lens, right under my thumb, so all I have to do is press the button to shift modes when I see a BIF opportunity. The Sony Rx10iv’s tracking auto focus makes Skimmers easier than ever before…but it is still a challenge. This Black Skimmer was working the ponds off the short Gator Creek loop at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida, USA. Sony Rx10iv as above, 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic.

And here is the poem.

Day Poem

1/31

Black Skimmers cut the water

the way the lady at the fabric

store cuts cloth…not scissoring

at all, but holding the blades

stationary and sliding, parting

the cloth effortlessly, easily,

as though it were an act of will

instead of muscle…of course water

(unlike cloth) is self healing and

no sooner has the Skimmers bill

parted the waters than the seam

seals, leaving hardly a ripple

behind the bird. I love to watch

them, and to try to catch them

in the act with my camera. Such

grace, such skill, more an act

of will than it is an act of muscle.

Red-shouldered Hawk

This Red-shouldered Hawk was sitting so still, close to Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, USA, that I almost did not see it. I was about to drive off, after checking a small pond where waders sometimes congregate, when I spotted it…sitting right there! It even let me slide the car forward to put it against a better background (after taking a first burst of shots just in case, of course). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Roseate Spoonbill

When the Roseate Spoonbills come in close…well there is nothing quite like it. This year the pinks are particularly intense…the brine shrimp hatches must be good. This is along Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, USA…in a stretch of ditch maybe 200 yards long where there were several hundred Egrets and Herons and Ibis feeding on the same hatch…along with a dozen or more Roseate Spoonbills. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting at the Visitor Center at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA. I had only a few moments to check the feeders at the Visitor Center for a male Painted Bunting…always a target bird during the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival…not because it is all that uncommon in Florida, but because it is so beautiful. The most reliable spot is the Visitor Center, and the males are the hardest to see there. I was blessed to have this male come several times in the 15 minutes I had before I had to head back to the Eastern Florida State College where the festival is headquartered to give a workshop. There is never enough light under the trees where the feeders hang, but I got this shot with Multi-frame Noise Reduction on the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Otherwise, program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. It is my ambition to find, someday, a male Painted Bunting in good light 🙂

Wilson’s Snipe in the open!

It is not often, in my experience, that you see a Wilson’s Snipe right out in the open, feeding. This one was on the back side of the Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, on the first day of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. It appears to sucking up a little wormy thing through the tube of water formed by its beak. Late afternoon on a rainy day. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Red-eye

There is nothing quite like a Roseate Spoonbill in breeding plumage. The bright pink body and wing feathers, the green skin on the head, the white feathers on the neck, and the bright, bright red eye, here caught in full sun for the full effect. Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas, Florida. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/1000th @ f5.6 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.

Wood Stork in a tree

Yesterday I posted a Wood Stork feeding from Orlando Wetlands Park, but the first Wood Stork of my last Florida trip was actually standing tall in a tree beside the road at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, near the Visitor Center. I pulled off in the chigger grass and walked back to get the shot. This is a juvenile, as you can tell by the feathers on the back of the neck and crown. Sony RX10iv at 535mm equivalent. My birds and wildlife modifications of Program mode. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. -1EV. Processed in Polarr.

Pelican in flight

One morning on Black Point Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, a small group of White Pelicans flew pretty much directly overhead. I was able to catch a few as they passed over. It was a good opportunity since the light reflected from the ponds illuminated the underside of the wings, which otherwise would have been in heavy silhouette. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds in flight and action modifications to Program mode. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. +1EV exposure compensation (to help with the wings). Processed in Polarr.