bird photography

Saint Paul Island (Pribilofs), Alaska, USA - Part 6

The Wandering Tattler is an uncommon migrant on St. Paul Island and our group was fortunate to get some excellent looks at this species. The photo below was made during one of our seawatch outings. Initially the Wandering Tattler was spotted from our cliff top vantage point and it appeared to be resting among the rocks. One of the birders in my group pointed out a reasonably safe pathway to the bottom of the cliffs.

Saint Paul Island (Pribilofs), Alaska, USA - Part 5

Seeing, comparing and photographing kittwakes on St. Paul Island was another of the highlights for me on this trip. Especially when you consider that St. Paul Island is one of the few places in the world where you can view red-legged kittiwakes. Our local bird tour guides provided us with excellent viewing opportunities of both red-legged kittiwakes and black-legged kittiwakes on nesting grounds as well as fly pasts during our seawatches. Seeing and observing both species side by side gave me ample time to compare and contrast each species.

Saint Paul Island (Pribilofs), Alaska, USA - Part 2

Saint Paul Island’s reputation as a major birding hotspot is well earned. The potential to see rare vagrants is very real, although it is somewhat dependent upon weather patterns during or just prior to your visit. For example, storms or winds coming from the west may bring Asian vagrants. One of the major highlights of my trip was locating and photographing the Oriental Cuckoo, an accidental species according to a checklist of Birds of the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. The legend defines Accidental to mean usually only one or two observations have been recorded in this region.

Direction of Light

It’s always a good day whenever you add a new species to your life list. In my case, I was fortunate to add two birds to my life list, namely Sedge Wren and Willow Flycatcher. Both species were found in the same vicinity and around the same time, however, the photos made were significantly impacted by the different quality of light available.

A Secretive Bird

In mid-April, while checking some area eBird reports, I was made aware of Virginia Rails being heard in a wetlands area, which is about an hour's drive west of home. I hopped in my SUV and headed out in search of this secretive bird in the hopes of adding a tick to my life species and with some luck capture a good photo or two.

Delayed Surprise

As I arrived at LaSalle Park near the marina one recent morning, I noticed a Horned Grebe (HOGR) making its way towards the shore on the opposite side of the small bay from where I was standing. I quietly picked up my tripod with attached camera and lens, placed it over my right shoulder and made my way over to the other side of the bay closer to the HOGR.