This from the friendly park volunteer to hubby and I as we pop in to the J. N. "Ding" Darling Refuge Visitor's Center on our way home from golf. We just wanted to pick up info even though our plan was to tour the 4 mile stretch of wilderness road the next day.
Like good tourist on a quest for wildlife photo ops, we did exactly as instructed the next morning. Disappointment set in as we drove down the two-lane road out of our cottage bordered by beach residents on one side and the beach on the other. We knew the beach lay less than 100 yards away but we couldn't see it.
It was extremely foggy and hazy that morning until about 10:00 when the sun shone through and burned off all the grey density. Of course we were quite finished gawking by then --not to mention the birds which were quite finished with their morning foraging.
Talk about frustrating! I've never seen so many birds in the span of 1.5 hours and yet obtaining a clear photo was impossible. I took oodles of photos but all of them filmy (as above) or worse.
On our first day on the islands -while at the conservation center purchasing plants from the native plant nursery- I kept hearing a Red-bellied woodpecker and this Pileated woodpecker just beyond borders of the nursery. Fortunately I had my camera around my neck so I excused myself from the fellow helping me and slipped away to snap a few shots of both. He kind of laughed and mentioned his fellow worker was kind of that way too when she heard birds so he understood.
Back to the beach after the foggy morning when all was clear and bright there was no lack of shorebirds to snap. Here the Ring-billed Gull is looking for a hand-out so getting a close-up was not much of a challenge.
Patience and time proved to be advantageous for this magnificent creature. The fisherman tossed a fish in the shallow water and in the blink of an eye the Heron deftly harpooned it with its beak.
Making certain he moved far enough away from the flock of nearby begging Gulls that they weren't going to have the chance to taste even one morsel. Then with the same skill he snagged the fish from the water he quickly flipped the fish upright turning it head first into its mouth.
In about two gulps the fish was sliding into never never land as a partial meal for the Heron.
The Heron did some preening and what seemed like a little satisfactory gloating and then returned to its position waiting for more. Hmmm... you'd think an entire fish would be plenty but they will continue this process.