Lovely Day for Birds, Bugs, Mammals, & Reptiles (1/27/22)

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zackiedawg
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Lovely Day for Birds, Bugs, Mammals, & Reptiles (1/27/22)
10

For the following set, I headed out to the wetlands on a lovely Halloween Sunday - I had been out the day before and often just shoot one day a weekend, but the weather was too lovely to not head back out.

There was also a fair mix of critters to shoot - some very lovely colorful birds who posed in nice warm light, showing off their wonderful feather details, but I also found a bug, a mammal, and a few reptiles worth shooting too.  Always nice when you get a mix of things to shoot.

All of the following were shot with the A6600 and FE 200-600mm G OSS lens, handheld, and are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view them in original size:

I started off with this distant little blue heron, just standing on a bent branch and overlooking the wetlands, with some nice background separation at that distance

The wonderfully camouflaged American bittern can blend right into that background of reeds and shadows.  In this case, he was on the move and looking around for food, so he wasn't lining his pattern up perfectly with the background and I could spot him - but you can see how he could move back a few feet into those reeds and his striped neck and dark mottled back would disappear

On a dead tree sitting out in the middle of the wetlands water, this pileated woodpecker was working its way around the trunk - it was from about 75 feet, but the light was lovely that day and at 600mm I could still get some nice detail on the big guy

Honestly one of the more difficult birds to catch in flight, despite being so common here.  The green heron will take flight with no warning at all, flies very low and fast, often clucking loudly, and drops back down as fast as they lift off.  I was lucky to catch this one just as he launched out of the reeds when another bird got too close to it

Another common bird that's uncommonly hard to photograph around here is the common yellowthroat.  They spend all their time sneaking through the grasses and reeds down by the water, and with the reeds as thick as they are here, that makes them hard to catch in the open.  This lovely male was showing his bandit mask face

The white peacock butterflies are all around from summer through fall - tiny little bugs, but very pretty to see up close.  This one was facing a bit towards me when I took the shot - the 200-600mm isn't a macro lens, or closeup lens - but if you back up enough and use all 600mm, you can still get in pretty close with bugs

The male of this species gets all the attention for its gaudy color palette, but the female is lovely in her own right.  Though only shades of green, the female painted bunting caught in nice light is a pretty little bird and has fine detailed little feathers

Even popping through the shade, this bunting was so close that using 600mm I could fill the frame and still get very nice fine detail

While an invasive species that was generally not wanted, the grey-headed swamphen is fully established in S Florida and they're everywhere.  At least they're quite pretty in their blues and teals and purple hues and those red face details

This rather large Florida softshell turtle was trying to take a break, resting on a partially submerged log -  and exhausting excess heat through its open mouth.  And in case you didn't figure it out on your own, there should be a sign right above the mouth that says 'keep hands away' as that jaw can do a number on fingers!

Raccoons have been very common all through this year - I think they had a bumper crop of them over the pandemic.  One thing I like about raccoons is that they can't help but look at photographers...at some point or another, they'll lock eyes with you whereas some birds and other critters will completely ignore you.

Looking down into the reeds, I saw this basilisk lizard looking back up...I liked the pose and the side-eye he was giving me as he paused his climb to make sure I wasn't going to be a problem.

This green heron seems to think the sky is falling!  Actually, he was just tracking a dragonfly that was flying over his head, to see if there was any chance he could snag it out of the air

He didn't catch it, but while following it around, I caught the green heron in one of my favorite angles - head on.  Like most birds, but especially herons and egrets, they look very funny and googly-eyed when you are looking straight at them

Wrapping up this set with a tricolored heron, wading close by in the shallow waters, showing that piercing red eye

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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Justin
galleries: www.pbase.com/zackiedawg

 zackiedawg's gear list:zackiedawg's gear list
Sony a6600 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake +21 more
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