Saturday, February 15, 2014

Birds and backgrounds

Too often, I strive for the perfect "field guide" photo of a bird, side view, in perfect light devoid of shadows and showing all pertinent plumage features. I crop away the surroundings, which often could have added beauty and told more about the bird.

Including a bit of habitat adds texture, color and more information. Even a plain bird such as this Palm Warbler seems to glow. Its long legs are an adaptation to terrestrial foraging habits, as seen here in the shade under a Cypress tree that has dropped most of its needles.

Palm Warbler in cypress litter 20140124

Although common and raucous, this Blue Jay is beautifully juxtaposed to the dark recesses of the dried fronds and fruit as it moves secretively near the crown of a Royal Palm.

Blue Jay on Royal Palm 20140127

Is this a photo of an American Goldfinch, or of the graceful willow branches?

Goldfinch on wilow 20110803

While the side view of a Gray Catbird is monochromatic, the bird provides a bit of vibrant color as  it faces away. Look closely to see the Trema berries that attract so many birds during the Florida winter.

Gray Catbird 20140102

Adding a bit of habitat balances the beauty of a Great Egret in the still water.

Great Egret 20131224

The soft light and the out-of-focus Palmettos enhance the image of a Tricolored Heron in flight.

Tricolored Heron at Green Cay 20131210

Sepia tones predominate in this image of an immature Red-shouldered Hawk in early morning flight.

Red-shouldered Hawk 20131117

A Great Horned Owl in a bare tree is silhouetted against the dying sunset.

Owl at sunset 20130906

Despite lack of cover, this American Bittern freezes in place, perhaps believing itself  to be invisible.

American Bittern Botaurus_lentiginosus 20121218

A Green Heron is perfectly at home at the edge of a small clearing in the marsh.

Green Heron 20121216

This Great Blue Heron is almost invisible against a backdrop of herbicide-killed Melaleucas that were taking over the wetland. They will no longer provide it with nesting places.

Great Blue Heron vivid 20140118

White Ibises enjoy the shade on man-made perches in our next door neighbor's yard.

White Ibises next door 20120608

Even close up, not only its habitat, but my own image are reflected in the eye of a squirrel.

My reflection in squirrel eye 20131215


  1. these are all great - the last one was a nice surprise, too. :)

  2. Ken, these are all amazing images and great bird sightings. I love the Bittern shot! Cool reflection capture. Great post, have a happy weekend!

  3. The backgrounds add such depth, beauty and interest Ken. Marvellous shots, I especially like the Bittern and Great Blue! The reflections in the squirrel eye are amazing!

  4. Really nice set of images! The bittern is so secretive; I'm impressed you were able to get such a sharp shot. The catbird I've heard--never seen. Great capture!

  5. Great reflection in the squirrel's eye! All great shots.

  6. You haven't linked up at I'd Rather B Birdin' for a while, and I miss your shared photos. That egret in the still waters is extraordinary!!

    Also, I was elated to read and catch up on your eagles in the previous post!!

  7. I have given up taking perfect photos and am happy for the memories the photos spark, but your photos are amazing.... Michelle

  8. Wonderful photos! I love the reflections in the eye of the squirrel.

  9. ...well then, know you were missed....and hope you're recovering from sickness! Nice to know you're up to getting out to your 'wetlands'

  10. These are so beautiful. And what you say so perfectly correct.

  11. Some great pictures here. Congratulations.

  12. I like the birds in their habitat and their surroundings - I can look at perfect bird photos in a book but blog postings can tell me much more and be more interesting too! Too bad about those melaleucas - they should have been left at home where they stay in balance with the rest of the habitat!

  13. Wonderful and great series of photos and birds.

  14. What a really nice series, Ken! Not only superb photography but keen advice on not overlooking the habitat of our subjects! (I have to work at remembering my bag has other lenses in it!)

  15. an ecclectic mix and so interesting

  16. Beautiful set of photos, love all the birds and the backgrounds as well. Wonderful!

  17. Wow! Great photos! I like the reflected Great Heron best. And I love your blog header photo!

  18. Such a great pleasure to see all these amazing photographs and yet to get them identified. Thank you so much for sharing them all. Have a great weekend!

  19. Your photos are both beautiful and informative!


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