Posts from the ‘kingfisher’ Category

Top Ten Action Shots 2013

Action images are always one of the goals of a wildlife photographer. Nature is in constant motion, and capturing a frozen moment in time is always exciting. Here are my favorite action shots of 2013.
Blue-winged Teal Fond du Lac Bridge area Duluth MN IMG_9912Blue-winged Teal in flight. As you can see, even 1/1600 of a second didn’t entirely freeze this duck’s wings. But that’s okay. I think a bit of motion blur in the wings adds to the photo, making it a bit less static. Of course, this wouldn’t be acceptable for the head. Near the St. Louis River, Duluth, Minnesota.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f6.3 at 1/1600 second, ISO 200, handheld]

Trumpeter Swans 3 landing backlit Monticello MN IMG_0073480Backlit Trumpeter Swans coming in for a landing. If you are anywhere near Minneapolis, Minnesota, you’ve got to make a mid-winter pilgrimage to this tiny city park in Monticello. This stretch of the Mississippi River stays open and ice-free the entire winter due to the nuclear power plant upstream. And the swans love it! They also get a free hand out from one of the local residents. I like the backlit wings and blue shadows of this image. See the full story here.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f5.6 at 1/1250 second, ISO 250, handheld]

Sharp-tailed Grouse lek blind Kettle River Twp Carlton Co MN IMG_7856
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f6.3 at 1/1600 second, ISO 320, tripod from blind]

Sharp-tailed Grouse lek blind Kettle River Twp Carlton Co MN IMG_7840This is a shot that I’d dreamed of for quite a while…a Sharp-tailed Grouse dancing atop the snow in morning light. It happened this year (2013) on my first trip out to the DNR blind near the lek (dancing grounds). It was April 26th and there was 8 inches os snow still on the ground (We’d had 48 inches of snow in April alone!). It was cloudy on my drive out but the clouds cleared soon after I got there. Long enough to get my dream shot. Carlton County, Minnesota.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f6.3 at 1/1600 second, ISO 320, tripod from blind]

Killdeer CR201 Sax-Zim Bog MN IMG_8053I like animal behavior shots. This is a pair of Killdeer mating soon after returning to the North Woods in late April. Sax-Zim Bog, Minnesota.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f6.3 at 1/1600 second, ISO 100, handheld]

Common Merganser flight St. Louis River Fond du Lac Duluth MN IMG_6969Common Merganser flying through a snowstorm in April. Duluth, Minnesota near the St. Louis River.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f5.6 at 1/640 second, ISO 160, tripod from blind]

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5805I placed this perch in a marsh in hopes a Belted Kingfisher would use it…and within 10 minutes or so, one did! It even caught a fish from the perch. See the full story here.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f5.6 at 1/2000 second, ISO 320, tripod from blind]

Bald Eagle nr nest Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_7764Out on a spring walk, I evidently got too close to a Bald Eagle nest. This bird made several passes at me, giving its very squeaky alarm call. Douglas County, Wisconsin.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f5.6 at 1/2500 second, ISO 200, handheld]

American Kestrel male Hawk Ridge Duluth MN IMG_7609A plastic owl festooned with feathers from a feather duster enticed this American Kestrel to come in for a closer look. The male of this small falcon species is rusty-red and blue, an attractive combo. Hawk Ridge, Duluth, Minnesota. See the full story here
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, Manual exposure f7.1 at 1/2000 second, ISO 500, handheld]

Northern Hawk Owl Kolu Ave Sax-Zim Bog MN IMG_0072702Northern Hawk Owl hovering. These owls of remote bogs from Minnesota to Alaska hunt during the daytime…A very convenient trait for the wildlife photographer! Sax-Zim Bog, Minnesota.
[Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 lens, f6.3 at 1/2500 second, ISO 640, handheld]

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Place it, and they will come. Belted Kingfisher

Belted KingfisherWith apologies to Kevin Costner and the creators of the movie, Field of Dreams, I have modified the phrase “Build it and they will come.” to “Place it and they will come” and by “it” I’m referring to a convenient perch for a bird.
In this case, I had often seen and heard Belted Kingfishers at a nearby marsh. But they were usually perched far out in the water (Where there were perches!). Not great for photos. Plus, Kingfishers are one of the most spooky of all birds…Meaning they fly at the first sight of a human. So I found a spot on the edge of the marsh where I could get a clear view of the water. I found a good looking perch in my woods at home, hauled it to the spot and stuck it in the mud. I set up my pop-up blind about 20 yards away and waited….But I didn’t have to wait very long as a Belted Kingfisher found the perch within 15 minutes!

SHOOTING WITH SPARKY: PLACE IT AND THEY WILL COME. Join Sparky in the field as he shoots Belted Kingfishers.
Note the series of photos where the Kingfisher misses the perch and makes an amazing recovery!

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5801I froze the second she landed ….I did not want to spook her…so I waited until she was relaxed and fishing. Then I started shooting. My leg fell asleep and my neck got stiff from trying to remain motionless in the blind.

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5809

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5828I knew it was a female because of her orange breast band…Females are actually more colorful than the males…Rare in the bird world!

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5851

Belted Kingfisher Kimmes-Tobin Wetlands Douglas Co WI IMG_5852
[All shot with Canon 7D and Canon 400mm f5.6. Aperture-priority f5.6 and ISO 320 so shutter speed would be 1/1600 or 1/2000 and I could freeze any action]
[Wide angle video shot with Canon 7D and Sigma 10-20mm lens]