I’ve only seen a green heron one other time while out shooting but this past Saturday morning I had the pleasure of three. Compared to other herons I’ve seen they are quite a bit smaller and stocky with short legs. There color is quite striking up close, with a green back, chestnut body and dark cap. They occasionally raise there crown feathers which to me, makes them resemble a kingfisher from a distance (of course Kingfishers are a lot different in reality). Like other herons, they stand motionless for long periods, then strike suddenly, snatching their prey with there dagger like bill. Click on an image to view a slideshow of a few shots I was able to get.
“The largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas.”
Arguably the largest of the Eagles in the world and therefore the biggest predatory bird living today, the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a Neotropical species of eagle. It is sometimes known as the American Harpy Eagle to distinguish it from the Papuan Eagle which is sometimes known as the New Guinea Harpy Eagle or Papuan Harpy Eagle. It is the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas, and among the largest extant species of eagles in the world. It usually inhabits tropical lowland rainforests in the upper (emergent) canopy layer. Destruction of its natural habitat has seen it vanish from many parts of its former range, and it is nearly extirpated in Central America. In Brazil, the Harpy Eagle is also known as Royal-Hawk (in Portuguese: Gavião-Real).
Although the Harpy Eagle still occurs over a considerable range, its distribution and populations have dwindled considerably. It is threatened primarily by habitat loss provoked by the expansion of logging, cattle ranching, agriculture and prospecting. Secondarily, it is threatened by being hunted as an actual threat to livestock and/or a supposed one to human life, due to its great size. Although not actually known to predate humans and only rarely a predator of domestic stock, the species’ large size and nearly fearless behavior around humans reportedly make it an “irresistible target” for hunters. Such threats apply throughout its range, in large parts of which the bird has become a transient sight only: in Brazil, it was all but totally wiped out from the Atlantic rainforest and is only found in numbers in the most remote parts of the Amazon Basin; a Brazilian journalistic account of the mid-1990s already complained that at the time it was only found in numbers, in Brazilian territory, on the northern side of the Equator. Scientific 1990s records, however, suggest that the Harpy Atlantic Forest population may be migratory. Subsequent research in Brazil has established that, as of 2009, the Harpy Eagle, outside the Brazilian Amazon, is critically endangered in Espírito Santo, São Paulo and Paraná, endangered in Rio de Janeiro, and probably extirpated in Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais – the actual size of their total population in Brazil is unknown.
Globally, The Harpy Eagle is considered Near Threatened by IUCN and threatened with extinction by CITES (appendix I). The Peregrine Fund until recently considered it a “conservation-dependent species”, meaning it depends on a dedicated effort for captive breeding and release to the wild as well as habitat protection in order to prevent it from reaching endangered status but now has accepted the Near Threatened status. The Harpy Eagle is considered critically endangered in Mexico and Central America, where it has been extirpated in most of its former range: in Mexico, it used to be found as far North as Veracruz, but today probably occurs only in Chiapas in the Selva Zoque. It is considered as Near Threatened or Vulnerable in most of the South American portion of its range: at the Southern extreme of its range, in Argentina, it’s found only in the Parana Valley forests at the province of Misiones. It has disappeared from El Salvador, and almost so from Costa Rica. (From Wikipedia)
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I’d never seen a Bobolink before so I was pretty excited to get these pics. This is an adult male who was kind enough to give me several poses and even bend down so I could see the white markings on his back. The Bobolink is the only American bird that is black underneath and white on the back. They are extraordinary migrants, traveling thousands of miles each autumn. Bobolinks are also one of the few songbirds that undergoes two complete molts each year. Please click on the images to view them larger.
The Great Egret is a fascinating bird and one I’ve never encountered until just recently. When I was out taking photographs last Saturday I not only saw a Great Blue Heron but 3 great Egret. I wasn’t able to get close enough to the Egrets for any usable photos that day but returned to the same spot today and to my surprise…6 Great Egret! One in particular was so focused on his hunting that it let me get close enough for some decent pics despite the rain and dark overcast. Here is a series of 8 photos taken today. Click on the images to view larger.
After watching him in the trees for a while I left for just a bit and came back to find him down in the water hunting.
It was really fun to watch this one hunt. Standing perfectly still and then striking lightning fast. Although at times it would kind of wobble its head and neck. I’m learning quit a lot about them as I go. A good resource I use is The Cornell Lab of Ornithology @ http://www.allaboutbirds.org.
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You can view my entire Gallery of Great Egrets here.
I was out enjoying the fresh snow today and came upon several Robins having a good time snacking on berries. They actually let me walk right up to them to within about 5 feet. Here are a few of my favorites. I was using my Nikon D300s with Nikon 300 mm f4 lens and Nikon 1.4X teleconverter, handheld. Hope you enjoy them!
I’m sure every photographer has an image or two they thought was not quite good enough to post for one reason or another but just couldn’t get themselves to discard it. Well such is the case with this photo. This pic of a Canada goose I thought was just not sharp enough to post but liked it and I didn’t want to delete it. I’ve recently seen other photographers using a painting effect on their photos and thought it was really cool. So when I came across this Photoshop plugin which I learned about in Martin Belan’s (@MartinBelan) recent Blog post (http://blog.martinbelan.com/2013/02/using-akvis-artwork-to-create-gouache-paintings-from-your-photos/) I thought I would try it.
Here is the result I got applying an oil painting effect to the photograph using Akvis Artwork plugin in Photoshop.
I think the final result was pretty good. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.