Sunday, February 28, 2010

Florida Day 2

I've had pretty limited internet connectivity but here is my day 2 update from Florida. I had a chance to run back down to the lake with the Ring-necked ducks. This time I had quite a bit more luck. The wind was much calmer and I was able to get pretty good sun position. Above is one of my favorites so far, but its not easy editing on this laptop, so I will hopefully have more up when I get back. Enjoy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where it all began

Memorial Park in Shakopee is where Chad and I would go to photograph "wildlife" when we first started. Why did we go there? Well, the pond doesn't freeze in the winter and people constantly feed the ducks. That means you can get very close without the ducks, geese,trumpeter swans, and other water birds flying away. This female mallard photograph is my best to date.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Florida Day 1

I have been chasing Ring-necked ducks in Minnesota for a while, but they have eluded me because they are quite skittish here. Recently I got some good information on an area in Florida where these ducks spend the winter. There is something about Florida that makes many birds much more tolerant of people. So I checked the area this morning and sure enough, there they were! They were cautious, but they allowed me to get some shots. I was hoping for some calm water and it happened to be very windy. Not perfect images, but my best Ring-necked ducks images to date!



Monday, February 22, 2010


Grey Jay

Male Pine Grosbeak

I have finished going through my photos from last weeks bog trip. I was happy to end up a with a good photo of a male Pine Grosbeak. Also I was pleased to get another photo of a Grey Jay. As I mentioned before we spent most of the day waiting and photographing Boreal Chickadees, but I did turn the camera around looking for other species.

I don't think Chad and I will get up to the bog again this year, but we do have some other projects in mind. In the next week Chad will be in Florida photographing Great Egrets in breeding plumage, Osprey, Wood Storks, and red-lored Snowy Egrets. Once the ice clears off the lakes we plan on shooting Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Personally, I'll be looking for Eastern Blue Birds this summer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bog pt. II

Boreal Chickadee

Once again Chad and I went up the a bog in Northern Minnesota. This time we just went for the day that means were up really early. Chad Gustafson ( came along with us, a fellow Nikon user and Cameratalker. We were lucky that the Boreal Chickadee hung around for most of the day. Birders and photographers come from all parts of the county to catch a glimpse of these small birds.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I took another trip to Monticello for Trumpeter Swans, but there was a slight problem. The swans weren't anywhere near the shore. I did get a good surprise in a flock of Cedar Waxwings that flew in and landed within a couple feet of me. Although they were close they didn't land on any good perches with a good background. Finally one landed on some brush that had a nice orangish background. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

There is No Bog About it

There isn't much more to say to what Chad has already said. We had a great trip, good lighting, a little snow, and a great guide! One of my goals was to see and maybe make a good photo of a Northern Hawk Owl. We did see a couple of Hawk Owls, however, we would have needed the Hubble Telescope attached to our camera to make a good photo. As Chad already mentioned, we saw a Great Grey Owl and let me tell you how impressive those are. They average length a of 27 inches for females and 26 inches for males. The wingspan can exceed 60 inches, but averages 56 inches for females and 55 inches for males (From Wikipedia).

Great Grey Owl

Yesterday while shooting Chad said something to me that I really didn't think of at the time. He said we probably each have our best 100 bird photos to date. When I was going through the 500 photos from the trip, I thought about what Chad said a little more, and I have to agree with his statement. We were able to stand and wait for birds to land on perches that had nice clean and smooth backgrounds.

Pine Siskin

After lunch Chad set up to get a good photo of a Boreal Chickadee and I was working on getting a Grey Jay (similar to a Blue Jay). The Grey Jays kept swooping out of the trees gliding to a low perch close to the food they were after. I had a few photos of the Jays sitting on the perch, but I wanted a flight shot with their wings spread to get a little different look. I told Chad what my goal was and that I planned on sitting in the middle of the road until I got what I was looking for, Within 2 minutes of telling Chad what my goal was I GOT IT!!

Grey Jay

Bog Wrap Up

Boreal Chickadee
In a word... Success! What a couple of days it was. The trip exceeded my expectations. I figured seeing some new species of birds was worth the drive and getting some images would be a bonus. Not only did we see some new species, but we got GREAT images. Much better images than I had ever anticipated.

Black-capped Chickadee

New species of birds I'd never seen before Monday: Great Gray Owl, Boreal Chickadee, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Pine Grosbeak, Gray Jay, and Common Raven. On top of that I got better than expected images from almost all of them. The little Red Breasted Nuthatch eluded me, but I'll be back.

Great Gray Owl

What a treat it was to see the Great Gray Owl. I had low expectations of seeing any Owls. Here in the Twin Cities, I hardly ever them. So to see some in a two day period, I could only hope right? Well first first thing Tuesday morning, there she was, a Great Gray Owl no less! It was dark and snowing so the photos weren't great, but that didn't matter. We even got some video (we'll post that later.) Then again in the evening on our way out, there she was again! Same spot, same tree! This time the sun was still up and we were able to get some shots.

This was a great experience that we will be repeating, hopefully soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog from the Bog

Derek and I are "up north" photographing some pretty cool birds. We came to see and photograph Boreal Chickadees, Red Breasted Nuthatches, Pine Grosbeaks as well as the normal Black Capped Chickadees and Pine Siskins. If we get lucky, we also hope to see Great Gray Owls and Northern Hawk Owls.

Due to some great guidance from our new friend Jim we got some wonderful shots of Black Capped Chickadees and Pine Siskins. While we saw some Boreal Chickadees and Red Breasted Nuthatches, we just didn't get any great photographic opportunities.

We're getting up early tomorrow to spot some Owls then shooting some more little birds. Hopefully we'll have more to share soon.