Feathers (all blog posts)

May 20th, 2016

While on a riverboat one beautiful sunny morning, I came across an Osprey that had just captured a fish and landed on a small tree stub along a mud flat in the river (see photo below). Although it was a fair distance away, the riverboat captain headed in the Osprey's direction.


Although common in the U.S., Neotropic Cormorants don't make frequent apearances in Ontario. In fact, I've only had one occasion (actually two occasions but it was the same bird) when I observed this species, and that was from quite a distance. As a result, my photos of this species until now were not of high quality and required significant cropping due to distance to subject. A few of these photos can be viewed by clicking on this gallery.

The Common Black-Hawk subspecies anthracinus found in Costa Rica is the same subspecies found in the states of Arizona, Utah, central New Mexico and parts of Texas in the U.S. Most withdraw from the U.S. for the winter. I observed and photographed a Common Black-Hawk on two days during my January trip to Costa Rica. It's always exciting to see a new species of hawk, which Common Black-Hawk was for me and I was fortunate to rattle off several clicks during my encounters.

Brown Pelicans are social birds that hang out in groups ranging in size from a few individuals to over 100 and are perhaps best known for their massive bills. On my January trip to Costa Rica, Brown Pelican was the most common species I spotted flying along the Pacific coastal waters in Puntarenas.

While standing along a cliff overlooking the Pacific, I spotted the Brown Pelican below flying low over the water. I like this photo because the similarly coloured background blends well with the pelican.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a beautiful bird and one that had eluded my life list until my recent trip to Costa Rica in January. On my first full day of birding Costa Rica, I stumbled with delight upon this stunning bird. In Canada, it is a rare but widespread vagrant, so I was both nervous and excited to slowly exit get the vehicle I was travelling in and use the SUV as a "blind" to make some portraits. I was nervous because I didn't want it to fly away before I got a chance to make some images. I lucked out as it proved to be fairly co-operative.

I've had precious few opportunities to see, nevermind photograph a Northern Shrike. It is an uncommon to rare winter resident across southern Canada and the northern United States (Dunne 2006). On February 6, I spotted a winter resident of Bronte Provincial Park in Oakville, Ontario perched at the top of a bare tree close to an open field. I managed to click several frames, a few of which I've included here.

The chance to see Manificent Frigatebirds displaying is a very special opportunity. While in Costa Rica one morning back in January surrounded by gorgeous early morning light, our river boat came across a gathering of Magnificent Frigatebirds in a bare tree. I was able to step ashore and get some excellent views and set up my camera and tripod to capture the moment. The male Magnificent Frigatebird has a striking red gular sac (an area of featherless skin on birds that joins the lower mandible with the bird's neck), which is used dramatically during courtship display.

As I make my way through my editing process of my pictures from birding in Costa Rica in January, I have reached the point where I've begun a new Special Projects Gallery entitled Costa Rica, which can be viewed here. I will be adding a number of images from my trip to this gallery over the next while and as I do, I will note additions in the New Gallery Photos section of my blog posts. If you spot a species that interests you, I would encourage you to check out the related photos in the Costa Rica gallery. 

Prior to my January trip to Costa Rica I had never seen any caracaras, so naturally I was excited to have the opportunity to photograph both a Crested Caracara and a Yellow-headed Caracara on the same day.

Observing and photographing Scarlet Macaws on my first full day visiting Costa Rica got my visit to this Central American country off to a memorable start. These beautiful and colourful birds will stop you in your tracks.