Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, HIFs & DIFs: Little bit of Everything (10/20/20)

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 33,263
Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, HIFs & DIFs: Little bit of Everything (10/20/20)

Continuing along with the wildlife selections from the local wetlands here in S. Florida, September 19th put the big 200-600mm lens through a workout.  Generally I intend to use it for the reach - and bring the 100-400mm for the closeup work and dark forest work.  But if you're out there on the trail nowhere near the car, and you've got the 200-600mm with you, and suddenly opportunities pop up for some dark forest birds, or closeup action - you're going to take the shots!

There was a good mix of diversity this day - not just birds, but the reptiles and amphibians were active too, and the bugs which are always around gave a few opportunities for a shot.  The birds weren't just the usual waders, but some early migratory birds passing through, and some lucky encounters with the elusive and tiny hummingbird - always a challenge to find out in nature without a feeder to draw them in.

All of the following shots were taken with the A6600 and FE200-600mm G OSS combo, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you click the originals:

First, the beautiful yellow-throated warbler.  Back in Florida for winter, these lovely birds were busy feeding on larvae and small bugs to get their energy back from a long flight - always in motion, I caught this one just as he was ready to jump to a higher branch

Even swamp water, if shallow enough, can be clear enough to see through - this Florida softshell turtle was mostly underwater, running along the sandy bottom, with little fish all about - and had just raised his head for a breath

That noisy, elusive creature - always sawing away at those wings and making the wetlands sound like a concert...they always hide on he shady side of a reed or leaf, so you have to really look close to find them - it doesn't help that they stop their wing song as you get close, going silent just when you're trying to hone in on their location!

A tricolor heron hunting its way through the shallows - plunging the bill every 10-15 seconds to try to stab at a fish.  It didn't get one while I was watching - but they play the numbers, eventually if you try 100 times you'll likely get one

Different bill for a different food - the roseate spoonbill prefers to eat crustaceans and smaller fish, bugs, etc that are down in the mud under the water.  So they us their spoon shaped bill to dig and sift around under there like gold panners to find their little snacks

A juvenile basilisk lizard mostly in the shade, with little dapples of light breaking through the canopy.  When it's cold out, they'll be right out in the sun getting heat, but when it's close to 100 degrees, there's no need!

Yes, the solitary sandpipers were still around...for most of September, though just the most recent visit I didn't see them, so they may have moved on from the wetlands and returned to the coast

Pig frogs are big and green, and still difficult to find in the algae and debris covered wetlands waters.  Even harder to spot are the tiny baby pig frogs - though a rich, golden color that you would think stands out, you can see there are other yellows in the water, and browns & greens, that still help hide the little fellas.  Though not quite good enough to evade me this day.

There's a distant dead tree where the spoonbills sometimes like to stand.  There's another much closer one about 1/2 mile away that's much easier to reach with shorter lenses, but they're not always on that tree.  This spoonie decided to use the distant tree to stay out of the paparazzi's reach - though the big 600mm lens plus lots of cropping can still pull him in.  Distance 290 feet.

Here's a HIF - hummingbird in flight.  I was lucky to hear the little 'chee chee' calls of two hummingbirds calling out to each other in the forest, and then spotted the little blur moving around - very heavy tree canopy and low light so not ideal - but I don't get all that many opportunities to shoot them completely wild and natural with no feeders around

It's a ruby-throated hummingbird.  After sampling a few flowers, it started moving around high up in the pine trees, likely looking for small bugs to supplement the nectar diet - always good to get a little protein!

Those who know hummingbirds know just how small they are - it's really hard to describe if you haven't seen them!  Using every bit of the 600mm lens, in a dark forest, with tons of branches and clutter around, and trying to pan and follow a hummingbird darting from branch to branch is quite challenging - and even at 20 feet away, I needed a lot of cropping!

Finally, the little gal took a break - finding a thin twig nicely in the shade about 25 feet from ISO 2,500 and a ton of cropping at 600mm, I could get it to just large enough in the frame for a little feather detail

Then again, that branch wasn't the greatest, so she decided to move to another - allowing me to get her throat (which confirmed her as a female, as the male would have the little red jewel-like feather cluster in the middle of the neck)

And now for the DIF portion of the post...when shooting dragonflies in flight, it helps when you find the larger ones, like this green darner.  It wasn't hovering, but actually flying past, though it was staying in a relatively straight line for a dragonfly, allowing me to get a couple of shots of it as it went by

Comments, questions, and critique always welcomed and encouraged!

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