A Snowy Egret at MNSA

Thursday, October 24, 2019,

This is an immature Snowy Egret. You can tell that it’s a juvenile by the legs. Adult birds have all black legs to go with those golden feet, while this one’s legs still have some dull yellow coloration. I took this photo at the Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside. Both of these images are the same photograph, just different crops. I couldn’t decide which I liked better so you get to see both. The closer crop above gives you a better look at this Egret’s features, including those lovely gams. Meanwhile, the image below showcases that lovely blue water that this beautiful bird is perched above. I hope you folks will enjoy both of these images. JK

JK

Hummingbirds Are Fast!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019,

Hummingbirds are fast. I mean really, really fast. This hummingbird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, has an average of 55 wing beats per second. During mating season, when the males are showing off for their female counterparts, that number can jump as high as 200 wing beats per second. Two hundred wing beats per second! That’s amazing. They even hold a Guinness World Record for that feat.

These photos weren’t taken during mating season so this bird is probably only working those wings at a mere 55 beats per second. Even still, that’s plenty fast. All three of these photos were taken in the span of a single second. I shot them with a shutter speed of 1/1600th of a second and it still wasn’t fast enough to freeze those wings. As you can see, some blurring of the wings still occurs. Hummingbirds are fast! JK

JK

Eastern Kingbird at the Marine Nature Study Area

Wednesday, September 18, 2018,

This is an Eastern Kingbird that I managed to photograph at the Marine Nature Study Area (MNSA) in Oceanside. I saw my first Kingbird several years ago at West Meadow Beach. The Audubon birders I was with made a big deal of the sighting, but I didn’t understand the excitement. It was just a bird sitting atop a tree that was too far off for me to get a decent photograph. At the MNSA, these birds, while perhaps not common, are regularly seen. The problem, for me, is that they tend to perch outside of the range of even my biggest lens. Luckily for me, this particular bird wasn’t too far off. It wasn’t exactly close but it was close enough. Close enough for me to get these photographs. Now that’s the sort of thing that excites this birder. It’s all about the photo op for me. JK

JK

More Beach Yoga

Thursday, August 1, 2019,

Two weeks ago I posted a photo of an Oystercatcher doing some stretches at Nickerson Beach. This is another Oystercatcher – a juvenile this time – doing a similar stretch. The adults are more striking looking than their kids but I think I like this photo better than the previous one. I believe the background is the major difference. The crashing surf and blue water make for a more pleasing setting than just a sandy beach.What do you think? JK

Snapping Turtles in Love

Wednesday, May 8, 2019,

These are two photos of a pair of Common Snapping Turtles mating, The female is only apparent in the top pic but, trust me, she’s present in both photographs. I’ve seen this at least four times before but every other time that I’ve witnessed this, I was in a kayak. This is my first “by land” sighting.

This occurred at Frank Melville Park in Setauket while I was waiting and hoping to find Green Herons nesting at the park. To answer your immediate question, yes, it does appear that the Green Herons are nesting here for at least the fourth year in a row. These Snapping Turtles are merely a bonus but, oh!, what a bonus. It’s not every day that you come across something like this. As this was going on – and it went on for at least thirty minutes – I was calling people over, not just fellow photographers, but folks with dogs and Moms and Dads with kids in tow. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show.

Despite appearances, this is a happy turtle. Now, as a matter of size and strength, his head is about the same size a grown man’s fist. Check out the size of his foreleg. That is mostly muscle. Imagine just how strong this guy is. And now, think about this: Snapping Turtles are the largest turtles in this and every other freshwater pond on Long Island, but this guy and his girlfriend are not the biggest Snapping Turtles at Frank Melville Park. Not by a long-shot. There are at least two much larger Snappers at the park and if you’re ever lucky enough to see them, they will take your breath away.  JK