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This Makes a Great Day of Wildlife Photography!

…..for me.

What makes “Great” day in your wildlife photography?  Do tell me.

I really enjoy photographing wildlife.  Moving to Nikon cameras from my old Hasselblad “V” System camera enabled me to get some long glass.  I started with the Nikkor 200.0-400.0mm f/4 lens primarily for birds and warbirds (i.e. anything that flies!), largely inspired by Moose Peterson.

It is nearly 5 years since I acquired the 600.0mm f/4 lens and since then it has been my most used lens of any.  Very much shooting wildlife and predominantly birds.

A good day is being able to do good work with the available species.  A Great day is capturing a new species.  Unlike “birders” who must see the bird through their bins or scope (and I believe a bird can be added to the list by recognizing its call) I need to get a good photograph that is tack sharp in order to add the species to my list.

So far this year I have photographed 24 new species for my list.  Here are images of some of those birds and a full list at the end.  Admittedly I have been in new areas of this continent – South Texas, South Arizona and mid Arizona, but I hope I keep having these great days.

Vemillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Gray Flycatcher (Empidomax wrightii)

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostome longirostre)

Curved-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)

Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicate)

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) a.k.a. Desert Cardinal

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

The images of the full list of “New Birds” together with the other non-new birds can be found on www.mothernatureimages.com on March’s New Images and April’s New Images

To acquire any of these images, click on the image, Add to Cart …..

Full List of New Birds

Altimera Oriole (Icterus gularis)

Annas Hummingbird (calypte anna)

Bendire’s Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei)

Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

Black-chinned Sparrow (Spizella atrogularis)

Bridled Titmouse (Baeolophus wollweberi)

Canyon Towhee (Melozone fusca)

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)

Common Pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Forsters Tern (Sterna forsteri)

Gambles Quail (Callipepla gambelii)

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons)

Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii)

Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus)

Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas)

Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)

Horned Lark (Eromophilia alpestris)

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)

Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostome longirostre)

Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis calata)

Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

Plain Chachalaca (Ortalis vetula)

Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)

Rufus-winged Sparrow (Peucaea carpalis)

Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)

Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps)

Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Locations

Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Reserve, TX

Lake Patagonia State Park, AZ

Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site, AZ

Mono Lake, CA

Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ

Santa Ana NWR, TX

South Padre Island, TX

Tombstone Area, AZ

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, AZ

Gear:

Nikon D4S, GP-1, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VR III, Nikkor TC-14 EII, RRS TVC-34L Tripod, RRS Full Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

The Votes are IN !

The Mountain is Out    4

Mesa Arch                   12

Aspens                          3

 

Thanks to all that voted.  I must admit that I was hoping to have many more sign up for the blog, but that’s OK.

When we have the shield delivered I will post an image so that you can see how it looks.

There were a lot of “shares” and a few RTs – thank you all.

As promised the names were put into my cowboy hat for each entry….

and Louise picked one out…….

 

And the winner is …….

Congratulations Colleen – you get to choose which image you would like, from any of the three websites, and in what format – Fine Art Print (colour or B&W images), Canvas (colour only) or High Gloss Aluminum (colour only).

Please just email your selection and it will be done!  Maybe a picture with you next to your finished print once installed? To share?

Warmest Regards to all and special thanks to my assistant.

Help Us Decide and get a Chance to Win One of My Prints

We have ordered a protective shield to go on the windshield of our Motorhome when we are encamped.  We are going to have one of my images printed on the shield – but we are having difficulty choosing.  Thus you can help us.  After agonizing over this problem we have narrowed the choice down to three images…

So how do you get a chance to win one of my prints?

  1. Subscribe to my photography blog www.richardkingphoto.com/blog
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post either: The Mountain is Out, Sunrise Mesa Arch or Aspen Trees in Fall Colour  (1 entry)
  3. Share this blog post on Facebook. (1 entry)
  4. RT this post on Twitter. (1 entry)

The winner will be randomly drawn from a hat (my new Cowboy hat) by Louise on 1st April.  The winner can choose ANY image from my three websites. It does not need to be one of the three selected for our Shield!

I will announce the winner and their choice of print and format once they have decided.

Formats:

  1. Fine Art print unmounted (Black & White or Colour images) gloss or matte finish 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.
  2. Canvas print unmounted, (Colour images only) gloss or lustre finish 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.
  3. High Gloss Aluminum, (Colour images only) 16″ x 20″ or 20″ x 20″ for square images.

The Images (in no particular sequence)

The Mountain is Out

Sunrise Mesa Arch

Aspen Trees in Fall Colour

Good Luck.

A Shore Birder’s paradise

I just love watching and shooting shorebirds.  As regular readers know I even travel to Churchill, Manitoba to shoot the shorebirds in their striking breeding plumage.

I have had great fun at Fort DeSoto County Park in Florida – working a Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) when my spotter (Louise) points out a Long-billed Curlew (Numinous americanus).

Well, you can imagine the thrill of moving out onto the beach at Moro Strand State Beach in California.  Dozens of Long-billed Curlews (Numenicus americanus), dozens of Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa), flocks of Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus), a few Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) among the Royal Terns, many Willets (Tringa semipalmata), the occasional Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), lots of Whimbrels (Numinous Phaeopus) and an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) flying over!

The beach has a gradual slope, so the tidal difference was magnificent and the tide was very slow to come in.  Providing a lot of opportunities to capture the birds and the water slow draining down the beach – reflections – I cannot resist reflections!!

So Moro Strand State Beach is definitely a birding location that I will return to many times.

These are some of the photographs I made, to see more click on THIS LINK to go to the new image gallery.

Click on an image to go to the gallery for that bird on my Wildlife Portfolio Website.

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvalis squatarola)

Long-billed Curlew (Numenicus americanus) finding lunch.

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) fishing

Whimbrel (Numinous phaeopus)

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

Passing Osprey (Pandion heliaetus)

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4.0 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, Really Right Stuff Tripod and Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film.

A Taste of the Old West – A Feast of Black and White

Photographs of Genuine old log cabins and businesses from the Wild West

Click on image to see complete blog post

A recent post on our travel blog about The Old Trail Town in Cody, WY.  For me a feast in black and white photography – going back in time to get the feel of these old, original, cabins, stores, schoolhouse, stables, etc. from the Wild West.  Including Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’s cabin.

The non-Shorebirds that go to Churchill

My previous blog was about the shorebirds in their gorgeous breeding plumage that make their way to Churchill, Manitoba.  But there are plenty of other types of birds and species that travel all the way to Churchill in order to breed.

Many of these birds also “dress up” in order to attract a mate!  Here are some images of these other categories and species of birds I photographed in Churchill.

It was FANTASTIC to see a King Eider because it should not have been there!  When we informed the birding experts at Parks Canada – they sped down to Cape Merry to add it to their Life List.

King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) – Who Should Be Somewhere Else!

The Common Eider looked quite splendid, but not as impressive as the King Eider!

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) on an Ice floe

There were three species of Loons.  The Common Loon (which is quite rare in Churchill), the Pacific Loon and the Red-throated Loon.

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) pair showing

Common Loon (Gavia immer) which isn’t common in Churchill

Of course the Arctic Tern, which has the longest migration of any bird – from Antarctica to the Arctic to breed then back again!

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradise) all the way from Antarctica

The American Bittern also comes up to breed.

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

The Horned Grebes looked most impressive in their breeding plumage.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) puffed up a little

There was an abundance of Yellow Warblers, but they just keep jumping around in the grasses, reeds and bushes, making it difficult to shoot one!

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) jumping non-stop in the grasses

The Ptarmigan, an upland game bird, is pure white in the winter (perfect Arctic camouflage) but the male is in his breeding plumage and the female expertly camouflaged for the Tundra.

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) male in breeding plumage, nice red combs!

Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) female in breeding plumage – perfect camouflage

I managed to photograph the non-shorebirds on the following list:

  1. Gruiformes
    • Sandhill Crane  (Grus canadensis)
  2. Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
    • Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
    • Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephia)
    • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
    • Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
    • Sabine’s Gull (Xema sabini)
  3. Icterids
    • Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)
  4. Jaegers & Skuas
    • Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
  5. Loons
    • Common Loon (Gavia immer)
    • Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)
    • Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)
  6. Raptors
    • Red-tailed Hawk (Bueto jamaicensis)
  7. Sparrows
    • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
    • White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leugophrys)
  8. Swallows
    • Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
  9. Swans, Ducks and Geese
    • Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
    • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
    • Canada Goose (Branta canadersis)
    • Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
    • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
    • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
    • Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
    • White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
    • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
    • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
    • American Wigeon (Anas americana)
    • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
    • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
    • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
    • Common Goldeneye (Somateria mollissima)
    • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
    • Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
    • Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrated)
    • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
  10. Upland Game Birds
    • Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus)
  11. Wading Birds
    • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
  12. Wood-Warblers
    • Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

Gear: Nikon D4s; Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VR II, Nikkor TC-17 EII, RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

Why Go to Churchill, Manitoba, to Photograph Birds?

Simply to see the shorebirds in their breeding plumage as they arrive in, or pass through, Churchill.  These birds have a completely different appearance at this time of year in this location compared to the rest of the year in their usual habitats on the East or West coasts of the USA.

The males are bright and vibrant in order to attract a mate. The females are camouflaged in order to blend in with their surroundings as protection while on the nests and caring for their young.  Some breeds, both males and females, have a solid black breast in order to radiate heat while sitting on their eggs which are laid on the cold Tundra.

I first came to Churchill four years ago on a photography workshop with Moose Petersen, fell in love with the birds, the opportunity to shoot, the town and the community.  So for this return I have stayed longer, seen more species of birds and have better images than before.  I am sure that this is not my last visit to Churchill.

Here is a sample of some of the species photographed on this visit and a couple of species with the contrasting images with their non-breeding plumage.

To see more CLICK ON THIS LINK and view my new images for May and June.

To purchase an image please CLICK on the image.

 

Two breeds for comparison: American Golden Plover, males and females have the black front and the Short-billed Dowitcher with a magnificent display of Rufus!

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) in non-breeding plumage

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) in breeding plumage

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) in non-breeding plumage

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) in breeding plumage

Other species of Shorebirds in Breeding Plumage:

Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) – Good Camouflage

Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)

Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17, RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

I’ve Got Lunch Honey – Well Almost!

I am in Churchill, Manitoba, on the Hudson Bay, to shoot the migrating birds (with my Nikons).  Churchill is one of my favourite places to visit.  It is a remote community of about 800 people that was established over 300 years ago to defend the Hudson Bay fur trade.  You can only get here by plane or train (except the train lines have been washed out at the moment and are unlikely to be restored before August!).

It is a very relaxing place to be and I love the Tundra and the Boreal Forest (and at this time of year the long days).

The Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaca) have the longest migration of all birds.  They fly from Antarctica to the Arctic to have their young. They arrived here in significant numbers two days ago.  I was on the shore at Cape Merry photographing various birds in the water and resting on ice floes when I saw this Arctic Tern on the tip of a small “sculptured” Ice berg.  So I started “clicking” and this sequence happened.

I love this sequence and laugh when I see it.  Hope you enjoy it too.

Hey Honey I’ve brought Lunch

About Time Too, It has been a very long Journey from Antarctica!

You haven’t left me much room to land!

Oops

Sorry !

What Just Happened?

Gear: Nikon D4s; Nikkor 600.0mm f/4; Nikkor TC-17; RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head; Lexar Digital Film

March’s images – a great opportunity for black & white

Yes, I just love black and white.  I started in photography with Kodak black and white 120 film in my Father’s box Brownie camera at the age of 10.  More recently I enjoyed using the same film type in my Hasselblad cameras, now using my Nikons and the digital darkroom I still love the results!

These are from two magnificent places in California that we re-visit as often as we can.  Yosemite National Park and Lone Pine.

Here are a few of those black and white photographs (and some colour images) from my processing last month.  I Hope you enjoy!

Click HERE to visit the complete gallery

Click on an image to add to cart.

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View After Sunset

Water Patterns, Bridal Veil Falls

Boulders, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

Alabama Hills, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, CA

Winter Landscape photographs of Yosemite National Park, CA, USA

Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada, Lone Pine, CA

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikkor 24.0-70.0mm f/2.8, Nikk0r 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII; Lexar Digital Film

February Images, Back to Landscapes

Most of February was spent visiting Death Valley National Park and then Lone Pine, one of our favourite towns just outside of the Park.

Here are a few images from the month.  Click HERE to visit the whole collection from February’s processing.

Click on an individual image to go to acquire one of these images.

Zabriskie Point, Manly Beacon, Sunrise

Ubehebe Volcanic Craters, Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley from Dante’s View at Sunrise

Death Valley from Dante’s View just after Sunrise

“Tee Time” The Devil’s Golf Course, Death Valley

Rainclouds and Godbeams, a rare sight, Badwater, Death Valley

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikkor 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5, Nikkor 24.0-70.0mm f/2.8, RRS Tripod & Ball-head, Lexar Digital Film