Photographing Birds

heronWatching and photographing wading birds, songbirds, or mostly any birds is a real treat.

I have been enjoying following Tootlepedal’s blog because he always takes a “flying bird of the day” photo.  And that is the treat, isn’t it?  To catch an in-focus flying bird — not always an easy photo.

While at Sanibel Island, I spent several mornings at low tide taking photos of the birds feeding in Ding Darling National Wildlife Sanctuary (see also DingDarling Society).  And to get different lighting, of course, I had to return near sunset to catch the birds then.

Primarily I went because the spoonbills are so striking in their colors and style of eating.  They are also fun to catch flying overhead or landing ingloriously because the sun highlights their pink wings wonderfully.  It is, of course, the joy of watching flight patterns and photographing birds that leads me to woodburn them on my kantele musical instruments.

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Great white heron with fish
Great white heron with fish
Sometimes five or six different species of wading birds were feeding together.

Roseate Spoonbills with their distinctive color and bill.

Anhingas that hold out their wings to dry after fishing under water.

Great Blue Herons that would stride purposefully through the water.

Snowy Egrets with their yellow-booted feet.

Great white herons.

A lone pelican.

But the Reddish Egrets really put on the show in terms of their fishing strategies.  There were two reddish egrets — each with a leg band.  They danced through the water, raising their wings and often twirling, then plunging their beaks into the water. If successful, their dance often yielded a fish.

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Taking their photo was somewhat like playing a video game. Setting the shutter speed and lighting to adjust to the conditions and then following the dancing egret.  Would I catch the prize fish in focus?  Would it all happen between the shutter clicks?  See one of the great dances below in a series.

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As I took photos, I started hearing the start of “The Reddish Egret Dance” – a song I’ll be developing for the flute.


  1. Thank, Lorena. Those spoonbills are so vivid, aren’t they? You will enjoy the pursuit of the bird in flight! I’ve always like the fast shutter speeds but the longer lens really helped (300mm).


  2. I love these! I’ve been doing a lot of bird photographing myself, lately, since moving to a new/more rural area, and hopefully a new camera will help me get some photos as lovely as yours (once I get past the learning curve with it).

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