Flexible Bill. No, Not The Carny Sideshow Contortionist

Wednesday, August 8, 2012,

Now this is a very cool thing. Well, at least to a nature geek like myself. A couple of weeks ago I managed to take some decent pics of a Least Sandpiper on the Nissequogue River. These shots are of the same bird on the same chunk of mud taken only one second apart. In the second shot I captured the bird yawning. Check out its upper bill. How cool is that? I see these little guys on the river quite frequently but this is the first time I’ve been able to grab a shot like this. It’s one thing to read that many shorebirds have flexible bills but to actually see in it action is another. JK


Trigger Happy

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I went out for three hours in the morning yesterday. 808 pics, 500 of them in the first 31 minutes. I may be a little trigger happy. Maybe a lot. But I did have plenty to shoot. And, besides, what do I bring extra memory for?

The bird pictured above is a female Red-breasted Merganser. This is my best shot of a Merganser yet, not that it’s a particularly great shot. This past winter I photographed three couples from the shore but the shots were very distant and blurry. This lady was swimming along with a flock of Brant Geese, with no mate in sight. According to all of my field guides, Kaufman, National Geographic, Peterson, and Sibley, she should be well north of here. Apparently she reads different field guides than I do.

At my launch site there was a large mixed flock of Great and Snowy Egrets. I counted 35 birds. The majority of them dispersed as I put in but I came across them again just a little upriver on the west bank. This time I could count 41 birds. This guy admiring his reflection is a Snowy.

This is a close-up of a Great Egret in his breeding colors. Their faces are yellow during the rest of the year. This may be the greenest Great Egret I’ve ever seen. He was greener than any of the others I saw him with at the very least.

I went as far as Terrapin Station before heading back. This Diamondback Terrapin was sunning himself on one of the islands. I saw only two turtles the entire trip but I had to include this one because the chicks love terrapins.

On the return trip I came across the mixed flock of Great and Snowy Egrets again. This time there were some Black-crowned Night Herons and this Great Blue Heron as well. The Great Blues are very impressive birds.