A serendipitous lens aberration added a nifty new moon to Earths heavens.
Florida! Vacation at last! Toothache? Yep. Suzanne and I arrived at the Holiday Inn Lido Key Sarasota last Wednesday and wouldn't you know it, a thousand miles from home on day one and my jaw starts aching. That's about as pitiful as vacation karma gets. We put a call into our Dentist and between Motrin and penicillin I was able to keep a smile on my face in spite of a tooth that would eventually require a root canal.
There was a lot to smile about.
About the last thing we were expecting to see was an Amish couple beach-combing for shells. What did we know? We're only tourists, shy and awkward on this brave new beach.
Skimming For a Living
We began to meet the natives right away. This fine fellow is a Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) who is built to fly low and drag his lower knife like beak through the surf in search of fish. Hardly a conventional design, the protruding lower lip fishing technique has been copied by only the Indian and African Skimmers and of course, several million pouting teenagers. The Skimmer warrants our concern because we humans covet the beaches these birds nest on. Folk here in Florida have been known to form human chains around breeding sites during fireworks displays to protect the young from marauding gulls when the frightened parents take to the air.
A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican
Another strange bird that is easier described with pictures than with prose is the omnipresent Brown Pelican. In the series that follows I hope to show some of the weird poses this miraculous animal assumes as it spends it's days dive bombing the surf for fish, the only one of the seven pelican species to do so. The fossil record indicates the pelican has survived as a coastal fish eating bird for close to 35 million years. We pause to remember the scare we had with their diminishing numbers in the 1960's brought on by our clumsy use of the insecticide DDT.
While a pelican looks like it was designed by committee, the brilliance of its functionality is awe inspiring. I have found a wonderful web sight that describes the California Brown Pelican if you are interested in its fascinating physiology and behavior.
A wonderful bird is the pelican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!
Dixon Lanier Merritt
Oh this is beautiful!!ReplyDelete
Beautiful shots!! Full of colors and life!!ReplyDelete
thanks for sharing :)
cheers from Uruguay
Great images of some beautiful birds.ReplyDelete
Beautiful series! My mom (who really was quite a proper person) used to love to tell us that silly pelican poem -- although none of us had ever seen one in real. I was thinking about posting that sometime when I put a picture of the one who lives on our canal. (Might still sometime -- I didn't even know there was an author!)ReplyDelete
Those are some amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
A very nice collection! Makes me wanna go there :) I really like that pelican portrait and the Black Skimmer fishing, great shots!ReplyDelete
Beautiful shots of both the Black Skimmer and the Brown Pelican Dave! Your in-flight shots are super and I love the close-ups too, especially that Skimmer. Incredible.ReplyDelete
Welcome to my state! Sorry about the pain. Based on your amazing pictures it looks like you are still having a good time. The picture of the couple is typical of Sarasota, even on the beach.ReplyDelete
Close-ups are amazing!ReplyDelete
Wonderful Photos!! The skimmer photo is super! Love to watch both of these birds when I visit the coast here.ReplyDelete
Good evening everyone! And thanks for stopping by the Pine River Review. I have been so excited about getting some Florida pictures up on the blog that I think I may have overdone it with a few to many. I am ecstatic you like them. These are some huge picture files I know. Don't be afraid to double click to enlarge them. I was using a rented Canon 70-300L image stabilized lens the latest technology that sells for $1600 bucks! It cost $104. to rent for two weeks.ReplyDelete
Suzanne and I loved our experience in Sarasota. We really felt like we got away from it all. Birds, Beaches, and free breakfasts are a great start to any day!
There's no such thing as too many photos...especially when you don't see any snow in them!ReplyDelete
By the way, how do you like that lens?
Sorry about your tooth. So glad you were able to stay and share all this beautiful sights with us. I felt like I was right there with you.ReplyDelete
The new Canon 70-300L lens did a great job and is a superb travel lens. It is very compact for that kind of reach. On camera it easily fit into the camera bag. I was kayaking with it strung around my neck! My Canon T2i shoots 18 meg images and it appreciates good glass. The IS is really helpful hand holding the camera in low light and though I had a tripod I seldom used it. I am not a very experienced Dslr user and I make up for it by taking tons of pictures and hoping for good ones. You need 1/1600th to freeze a bird in flight effectively. Sometimes the light is simply not there for these 5.6 lenses. I have to get that through my thick skull. Renting lenses is a great idea to get a taste of these expensive toys without breaking the bank.ReplyDelete
glad I have found your blog! nice images of cool birds & landscapes! Thanks for your kind words on my blog...I look forward to your future postings!ReplyDelete
Great shots of the skimmer and pelicans at rest and in action. I know those in flight shots are challenging. And hey, that one pelican looks to be giving you the eye! You are inspiring me to go out looking for birds. I like the inclusion of the Amish couple too.ReplyDelete
The sky and the beach are just TOO beautiful!! Your photos of the birds are awesome. MickieReplyDelete
wow! how awesome..I love these photos...:)ReplyDelete
Hope you can take a peek at my SkyWatch Friday entry as well. Thanks!
Beautiful radiant scene in that first photo! But the brown pelican is really fascinating because I am so used to black and white ones in Australia! Wonderful photos!ReplyDelete
Springman, you got some great images of the brown pelican, especially the one showing he bird dive-bombing into the water, and the close-up! And the black skimmers - wow!ReplyDelete
wow neat pictures! love the diving one! I need a vacation now!ReplyDelete
Great shots!! That picture of the Amish couple is interesting also. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon, River.ReplyDelete
wonderful photos .. makes me miss home (and the sunshine).ReplyDelete
What a treat, from beginning to end.ReplyDelete
More please :-)
Wonderful Skimmer photos. If you make it down to Punta Gorda, give me a call...I'll show you some local spots (941-626-0381).ReplyDelete
Springman... this is one seriously good post... a joy to read and a pleasure to indulge in some stunning images.ReplyDelete
Congratulations my friend!
Springman you make an imtresting comment about DSLR skills and light.ReplyDelete
I think they go hand in hand. I have the Canon 100-400 and believe me it takes some stunning shots, in good light I dont have to work or think too hard to achieve some reasonable shots but my lense needs light and lots of it, so when there is none I / we (me and the lense dont half struggle along!!).
Now where is that sunshine....?
Incredible photos. Do you do this for a living? I'd think National Geo would employ you.ReplyDelete
All shots are wonderful but the diving pelican is truly amazing! Well done, Springman.ReplyDelete
Fabulously feathered fotos ! A treat for those both near and far...ReplyDelete
Awesome stuff, Springman! Looks like you had a great trip. I love the skimmer shots -- they are such an interesting bird. The low portrait you have of just the face is great, with really nice background colors. Great pelican shots too, I always love watching them dive head first into the sea.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you got help with your tooth to make your vacation more enjoyable. Love all your photos but the ones of the Pelicans are my favorites. Like the poem that goes along with them.:)ReplyDelete
Are y'all participating in the Bird Count?
WOW! AMAIZING PICTURES!!!!!!!ReplyDelete
Last Monday we were Kayaking in Sarasota Florida..Why did we come back to Michigan???ReplyDelete
Wonderful pelican shots and a nice allusion to Ogden Nash.ReplyDelete
Amazing photos! And thanks for reminding me of an old limerick I had heard years ago.ReplyDelete
Fabulous images. I esp. love the pelican dive.ReplyDelete