Ducks, Geese & More

It has been way too long since I have been able to add images to my site, but I've just been unable to get away for adequate shooting opportunities. Fortunately that has changed recently, and I also hope for more time for photography in the future.

In any case, my wife and I spent a long week-end in the Miami area in early November. While she attended a Yoga conference, I was able to spend the days looking for birds to shoot. I had the great fortune of hooking up for a day with Sanford Mossberg and Alex Calzadilla, both excellent nature photographers, who live in southern Florida. I went with them to Crandon Park in Key Biscayne and the Everglades National Park (Anhinga Trail area). The next day I made a quick morning trip up to Wakodahatchee Wetlands, outside of Delray Beach. And before we flew out I was able to spend almost 2 hours at Butterfly World, north of Miami. Their main focus is butterflies, but they also have a couple of small aviaries containing a wide variety of incredibly colorful (and fast!) tropical bird species.

I was quite excited that the birds I saw and photographed were mostly completely new to me. In addition to the species included here, I also saw some Loggerhead Shrikes, Lesser Yellowlegs Sandpipers, Palm Warblers, Black-Bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Bar-headed and Ne-Ne Geese, etc. Also, I thought the guide I had from Butterfly World would enable me to identify the various exotic species I saw there, but unfortunately, it was minimally helpful. Please Note: A special thanks to 'trev,' 'Michael W' and 'cuckooroller' at the Birdforum website for the expert assistance in identifying these species!

Click on each thumbnail to open up a larger image in its own window. Just close these windows after viewing them.

These images, along with all the others present in the various galleries, are available for purchase as prints up to 13"x19". For more details on buying prints, please click here.

 

Egyptian Goose

Image # 01970

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L IS at 400 mm

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/3200 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

We were actually on our way out of Crandon Park when I kneeled down to get a close-up of this wonderfully colored goose. Not surprisingly, I was very drawn to the eye markings on this species.


 

Plumed Whistling Duck

Image # 01952

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L IS 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640 second

Evaluative Metering at -2/3, 500EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I have a number of shots of this species, but this is my favorite. Once again, the eye markings were simply stunning, and I love the way the sunlight highlights this feature.


 

Vermillion Flycatcher

Image # 01973

Outside of Anhinga Trail

Everglades National Park

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 1.4x II and 2x II Teleconverters

ISO 400, f/16, 1/100 second

Evaluative Metering at +1/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

Alex knew of a particular Vermillion Flycatcher individual, and where he tended to hang around. We were fortunate, and found him 'at home'. Lighting conditions and background were problematic (bright, overcast skies) and his perch is not what I would have chosen, but this is where he liked to be, so this is where we shot him.


 

Cormorant with Catfish

Image # 01979

Anhinga Trail

Everglades National Park

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 400, f/11, 1/800 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX/BB at +1/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

Alex had been watching this Cormorant fishing for quite a while, and as we were standing around, he finally came up with a fairly large catfish. We all quickly repositioned ourselves, and got a few frames of the action. (The flash setting was certainly an error, for those paying attention to that information.)


 

Spot-breasted Oriole

Image # 02000

Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Delray Beach, FL

Canon 600L/f4 IS with 2x II Teleconverter

ISO 200, f/11, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3

Gitzo 1329/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick


This was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I was near the end of my time at Wakodahatchee, and was focused on a Lesser Yellowlegs, waiting for him to stand up and show the feature it is named for. Out of nowhere, I saw a flash of yellow/orange go by, and land in a bush not too far from me. I quickly set up in the opposite direction, straining to see where it was. It started out deep in the bush, in an unshootable position, but gradually worked its way up and out, giving me only a few brief unobstructed views. I shot when I could, and was happy to come away with a few decent images. A more experienced birder shooting near me helped me with the identification, as I wasn't at all certain what it was. Quite exciting, for sure!
 

Red-crested Pochard at rest

Image # 01947

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 2/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I just loved the combination of the brown head, with the red bill and red eye, on this duck, and I took quite a few shots of various individuals. I love the serene feeling this image gives me.


 

Red-crested Pochard flapping

Image # 01956

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/800 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

I was fortunate to have this particular duck rise up and start flapping his wings while the sunlight lit up its face.


 

Common Shelduck

Image # 01943

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 285 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

Another of my favorite "exotic" ducks. The whites here are a tad 'hot' from the bright sunshine (I should have used -2/3 or -1 EV on the ambient), but I like the pose and reflection.


 

Radjah Shelduck

Image # 01957

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at -2/3, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

A tough bird to expose correctly as it swam in and out of the shadows, but I was able to get a few decent images, this being my favorite.


 

Wood Duck

Image # 01959

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

The colors and beauty of this species impresses me each time I see them, and I was glad to find one of them at Crandon Park.


 

Ruddy Shelduck

Image # 01964

Crandon Park

Key Biscayne, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at -1/3, 550EX/BB at -1 1/3

Monopod/ArcaSwiss B1/Wimberley Sidekick

The last (but hopefully not least) of the images taken at Crandon, yet another beautiful exotic duck.


 

Violet Euphonia

Image # 02009

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/160 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

At this point, I know very little about this exquisite little bird. It was quite fast, tended to stay hidden in bushes, but occasionally lighted long enough in a relatively clear area to allow some shots to be taken.


 

Madagascar Red Fody

Image # 02006

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 380 mm

ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/500 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

As noted above, the folks at the Birdforum website provided the i.d. for this and the other unknowns for images taken at Butterfly World.


 

Gouldian Finch

Image # 02018

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L/f4.5-5.6 IS at 400 mm36

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

The colors on these birds (which have many variations) has to be seen to be believed. They tended to stay fairly high in the aviary, and I always seemed to be shooting up towards them. This is one of the few I was able to get at more or less eye-level.


 

Red collared Widowbird

Image # 02020

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

This was a very difficult bird to photograph. It was quite skittish, so even when it landed in a decent location, it would rarely stay long enough for me to get a decent shot. And the very long tail feathers presented compositional challenges as well.


 

Paradise Tanager

Image # 02031

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/250 second

Evaluative Metering at 0, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

I generally prefer to shoot birds in the wild, and hesitated to post images of these captive birds. They were somewhat free in the aviary, and not that easy to shoot, but still considerably easier than finding and shooting them in the wild. But hopefully their unique beauty will justify including them here.


 

Red-billed Streamertail

Image # 02026

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/250 second

Evaluative Metering at +2/3, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

The way the greenish underbelly almost 'glowed' was simply spectacular. And like many of the other birds, sometimes they would flit right past you, quite close to your head. Very exciting.


 

Scarlet-chested Sunbird

Image # 02019

Butterfly World

Coconut Creek, FL

Canon 100-400L at 400 mm

ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/125 second

Evaluative Metering at +1/3, 550EX at -1 2/3

Handheld

This beauty is partially obscured by the out of focus vegetation between us, but part of me sees this as enhancing, rather than detracting from, this particular image.