Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CRANE UPDATE PLUS "YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ME, OFFICER??" OH OH

Less than an hour after I awoke, I headed out to the ponds with the nests. When I arrived, I went right to the pond with the crane's nest. The good news is that there was not much going on. One of the parents was sitting on the eggs keeping the incubation period moving along. The island was even bigger than the other day but still not as big as before the flood. The rain we had yesterday didn't last that long and did not appear to raise the water level at all. Here are a few images I took.



Then I went over to the pond with the heron's nest. As I approached it, I saw one of the heron adults fishing on the far shore line. I set up my camera and waited. It is amazing how long they will stay frozen in one spot before attempting to spear their prey. This is a sequence of their technique. You really need to have a fast lens to capture this. My speeds on these shots were between 1600-2000th of a second. You need that speed to catch a stop action image. 
                You can see how it stays completely still waiting for the right moment to strike.
                                 When it is right, it plunges its bill and head into the water!!
                                   It's now spearing the prey and bringing it to the surface.
                                  The previous three images were all taken in under a second.
                          You can see the fish in its bill as it walks away from the water.
In the last two images, you can see it walk up on the lawn with its catch firmly in its bill. In the last image, look at its throat. See how extended it is compared to the images before he catches the fish. That's the whole fish being swallowed. Click on the image to see a larger version of the throat being stretched.
I caught one more sequence but this time it either didn't catch its target or it was small enough to swallow on the way up from the water. Notice how its neck is in a s shape curve allowing it to generate speed as it launches it' bill at the prey.





This sequence took place in the shade and you can see the different color balance in the images compared to the last images taken in the sun. After this attempt, it walked back up on the lawn a few feet. I kept my lens on it because I had an idea it was getting ready to fly. When it did, I was ready and I captured one of my favorite images of a heron flying. In all honesty, I don't have to tell you this was one of a four image sequence. The others were either not sharp or was missing part of the heron, like his body lol.  But I did capture this one image that made the whole morning a success.
I decided to head back home and packed my gear in the back seat. I then saw one of our community security SUVs pull up behind me. The officer was inside waving me back to the sidewalk. The officer exited her vehicle and started walking over to me. She said, "We have been looking for you. We have some residents complaining about you taking pictures of their houses." 

I quickly explained that I was taking pictures of both the herons and the cranes and not people's houses. I explained that I was also a resident and showed her my driver's license with my address on it. She called the information into her dispatch and explained what I was doing. She was very nice and while smiling explained that some people thought I was trying to see inside their windows.  Laughing, I told her that the only things I was interested in was the birds!!! ("The birds and only the birds, Officer") I explained that we had just moved in and how much we enjoyed living here. She then asked for a business card saying that she knew of an eagle's nest and would check to see if it was still there and would call me if it was. All in all, it was a very pleasant encounter with a very nice officer.  I'm glad to see that our security force is both diligent and very polite.

I will end this day's post with an image showing the young herons. You can see how much they have grown in the three weeks since I have been documenting their lives.





18 comments:

Mitzi said...

Awesome as always...

Lucylastica2 said...

Am so pleased the eggs are still safe for now. Not to detract from your fab as ever images, but this has been a traumatic week for me waiting for your crane updates! lol

Rimly said...

Thank god they are safe still. Those pictures of the blue heron diving to catch its prey are spectacular.
http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.com/2011/04/memetagged-by-alpana-jaiswal-jim.html

Alfandi said...

love the crane flying pic...not an easy attempt to get the wings in the exact position to make a worthy picture...great selection of pics anyway..

Debra said...

Jim, you are in your element here - and everywhere you shoot.
Fantastic blue heron photos!
Glad the officer favored you in the end :)

Aaron said...

Jim,
The pics are just amazing today. Some of your best yet of them I think.

It is funny you got stopped by a police officer, I have just been waiting for the day I get stopped by someone and it happened to me yesterday too. I was shooting a fly fisherman in a local river and as I walking back someone came up to me and asked if I was the one shooting photos of the fisherman. All I could think was crap, they are going to be pissed. Turned out he was so happy I was because he was trying out a new casting technique and just wanted a copy of the photos.

Looking forward to continuing to watch this little family grow.

Jim said...

Great photos as always Jim. Hey, I'm concerned the heron eggs may have been too cold for so long they may not be viable. Here's hoping they will hatch!

melissa said...

i was about to start with dear jim :P...as if writing a letter...anyways, the whole series of photos really really engaged me in different emotions... one, i was...am... very glad seeing those cranes...wow...i was just writing you last night how i liked a particular photo in your post, then i get to see it again the whole time you were there...so i guess, i had also developed intimacy with those cranes :P...

then the herons...which i earlier wrote as 'heroins'...:P hahaha...
it's really amazing how God endowed them with such skills in order to survive... the suppleness and flexibility of the neck makes me wonder, how long it could stretch it out to catch its prey...

then i was somewhat waiting for it to put the fish on the grass, but it never did...perhaps i was thinking of vultures :P... but i eat your photos one by one, so see how i also excite myself following your stories ?:P...

plus, i had to go back on those reflection pictures...the colors are so alive...water has a different effect on me... :P...

then i truly admire how you anticipated its next move..."flying"...so you got the perfect shot... if i get to stay there like you did... geez, i think i'll never ever get tired of exhausting God's beauty in these creatures...

oh i was wondering about those young herons... wow...they do look bigger in a few weeks... :D

yes, the time of the day gave me two things to think of...one, they affect the photos' qualities...two, it says you were out the whole day :P...

i'm glad you met that officer now... your neighbors might have thought you were creepy, with those lens..."paparazzi-ing" those birds :P...just kidding... somehow, having that encounter was right on time, so it lifts suspicions off you and phyllis whenever they get to see you with cameras...

oh geez, i wrote a whole post in your comment section...:P...

okay, okay last:P... i like those shades of green, on the first photos...you brought my eyes to relax on the last photo...with that blue background...

again...first and last photos are important;)...from incubation to giving birth...

last last please :P...thanks for introducing me to these different kinds of birds:P...

meravigliose :D

Jenni said...

I have to start off this comment with a LMAO because the whole "taking pictures inside their window" thing is killing me. Seriously, aren't there curtains or something out there? LOL
Loved the pictures as always, I am glad the eggs are safe. Too bad there isn't a Red Cross Bird Division though.

Nancie said...

Lovely series of shots.

JIM said...

Thank You everyone I am so impressed how the fortunes of these cranes have captured so many peoples interest.
Melissa I think your comment is longer then my post loll
Alfrandi I think I might do a post on photographing birds in flight what do you think?

I love it, never stop . Thank You

JIm

sweepyjean said...

I think people are interested in the cranes and herons because of your lively descriptions and the gorgeous pictures! And yes, those chicks are growing up fast!

sheril benedict said...

Awesome pics

FAYErydust said...

Great combinations. May I request for flowers next time? :) My forte in my work is about flowers. :)

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

I'm glad you didn't get arrested - we'd miss the heron and crane adventures!! Your photos are beautiful and very inspiring as always.

Nelieta said...

Awesome photos Jim! It must have been very difficult to capture those action shots! Glad you didn´t get into trouble :)

Prasad N said...

Good pictures and a good encounter with the law enforcement!

Jewell said...

OMG - I am so far behind! I loved this (as always). My favorite was the shaded version of the heron's fishing expedition. It really shows off how blue they can be, and the reflection on the water was perfect.

LOVE that you had a run in with the po-po! Who knew you were such a naughty man! =) LOL Glad you didn't end up with a new set of bracelets!