One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2019—Laughing Gull

Because of the weather, the winds, the tides, and the birds, we had only one morning of “beach panning” while we were in Florida.  On that day, my beach panning was a little rusty and I had to relearn the technique when I discovered that because of the smaller size of my new 500mm lens, everything was quite different.  When things finally got sorted out, the Laughing Gulls were my most cooperative subjects.

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2019—Joining the Colony

A juvenile Laughing Gull joins the rest of the colony of gulls at Frank Rendon Park in Daytona Beach, FL in late February.  There were Ring-billed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Herring Gulls and a couple of other gulls I didn’t manage to photograph.

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2019—Atlantic Brown Pelican

There are two subspecies of Brown Pelican, Atlantic and Pacific.  They differ slightly in size and in breeding colors.  Since I was on the east coast of Florida when I took this photograph, I must assume it is an Atlantic Brown Pelican although my Sibly Guide to Birds indicates there is some movement of these populations across Central America.  A few of the Brown Pelicans we saw were in breeding plumage but this bird is still in its non-breeding plumage.

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2019—Willet

I love getting down low on the sand to photograph shore birds.  But sometimes, it’s not practical to get down as low as I’d like.  On Saturday afternoon, the tide was already coming in on Daytona Beach and the sand was very wet.  I still knelt down on one knee in the hopes of getting that unique view but that seems only to be possible laying flat, just a few inches off the ground.  Since it was near the end of our day and we were going to dinner soon, I didn’t want to get completely wet so I compromised.  I like the shot of this Willet but I still wish I had gotten down lower.

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2019—Flight Practice

Gulls and Terns on the beach in Florida gave me a chance to practice panning for birds in flight and I’m loving the Nikkor 500mm PF for this purpose.  It’s light as a feather and even using it with the Nikon D5, it’s easy to hand hold.  It is now my new favorite flight lens.  It gets me closer than my other ‘birds in flight’ camera lens combo, the Nikon D500 and Nikkor 300mm PF lens, and if I turn on Nikon’s high speed crop feature, I have a 750mm reach without using a teleconverter so I still have the use of all of auto focus functions.

Here are a few of the birds I photographed Saturday afternoon.

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Ring-billed Gull:
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2019—Snowy

This Snowy Egret, with its distinctive yellow feet, flew by us at the Orlando Wetlands Park on Sunday.  I was doing some hand held panning practice with my Nikon D5 and Nikkor 500mm PF lens.

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2019—Cotton Ball on a Stick

While we were “beach panning” on Huguenot Memorial Beach near Jacksonville, FL the shorebirds were mostly snoozing in the morning sun.  Instead of darting back and forth near the surf, they were statue-like perched on one foot. They looked like cotton balls on a stick.  This bird is a Dunlin.

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2019—Candy Corn Beak

Candy Corn is one of those sugary confections that appears briefly in the fall in time for Halloween and disappears until the next Halloween rolls around.  It is pure sugar with little flavor other than sweet, has absolutely no redeeming qualities, and I’m not sure anyone actually eats them.  I do know, however,  that it looks just pretty much like the beak of a Common Gallinule (formerly known as the Common Moorhen) and that must have been what it was modeled after.

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2019—Snakebird

The Anhinga, also known as the Snakebird, is a large regal looking waterbird.  This rather exotic bird uses its long, dagger-like bill to stab fish under water.   On our last day in Florida, we visited the City of Orlando Wetlands Park and this male Anhinga perched cooperatively at the tip of a skeletal tree branch while we photographed him.  He kept his eye on us as the winds began to pick up, rustling the feathers on his back and touseling the feathers on his head.

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2019—Blow in My Ear …

As one Laughing Gull said to another, “Blow in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere.”

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