When people see you in the field with a 600mm they think that you can bring the freckles of person standing on the moon into view. I wish it was the case. A long lens is a great help, but you still have to get fairly close to wildlife for most photographs. This morning I tried again for the ducks on the freshwater at Huntington Beach State Park. I tried for longer than yesterday, but again the ducks just did not come in close enough for photographing. So towards the end of the morning, I took my licking and moved on to the saltmarsh. There were quite a few White Ibises foraging along with a Clapper Rail and a Great Egret fitted with a radio transmitter. I took a bunch of solo shots of individual birds, but my preferences gravitated towards images that showed that these birds feed in flocks.
The ibises fed for quite a while. There lots of chances for different types of photos – flight, portraits, environmental, and different behaviors. When opportunities like this come along, you can bet that I am not going to move! I was amazed when one of the ibises pulled up a young eel from the saltmarsh. I wouldn’t have been as surprised if it was a heron, egret, or stork – the eel would be a common food item for them. But with the ibis, it was a special treat.
After the saltmarsh, I tried to round up some songbirds. Once again it was the reliable Northern Mockingbird that cooperated. This time it was perched in an attractive bush. From looking at the photo you might think that the mockingbird is several feet up at about eye level. In reality, the mockingbird was maybe 8-10 inches off the ground.
For the afternoon, I took the long walk down the beach to the jetty again. I stopped for a while in the sand with some Sanderlings again. They’re just too cute! Sanderlings will run down to the water’s edge when a wave recedes and then race back away from the water when another wave comes. They do this so they can feed in the sand that was wet a second ago but is freshly exposed. This little one was running back to avoid an incoming wave.
The jetty didn’t have as much going on as yesterday, but there were still a few good birds out there. This Common Loon gave me a few wing flaps to straighten its feathers out after a long dive.