Cornell Birds of the World

I use the Cornell Birds of the World Website often to identify and find out information about the birds that I “shoot” (with a camera). It is an easy to use site with lots of good photos and general information. According to their site, they are “dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of the natural world, the Cornell Lab joins with people from all walks of life to make new scientific discoveries, share insights, and galvanize conservation action.”

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Black-Necked Stilt

I took this image of a black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) at the Green Cay Wetlands.

“Black-necked Stilts are among the most stately of the shorebirds, with long rose-pink legs, a long thin black bill, and elegant black-and-white plumage that make them unmistakable at a glance. They move deliberately when foraging, walking slowly through wetlands in search of tiny aquatic prey. When disturbed, stilts are vociferous, to put it mildly, and their high, yapping calls carry for some distance.” Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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This Ivory-billed woodpecker was officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s move underscores what scientists say is an accelerating rate of extinction worldwide, given climate change and habitat loss, according to the Washington Post.

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Scarlet Rose Mallow

This photo of a scarlet rose mallow was taken at the Green Cay Wetlands in Boyton Beach, Florida. “Hibiscus coccineus is a hardy Hibiscus species is also known as Texas star, brilliant hibiscus, and scarlet hibiscus. The plant is found in swamps and marshes on the coastal plain of the Southeastern United States.” Wikipedia

I used the Olympus 75-300 mm telephoto lens at 300mm (600mm equivalent) to separate the flower from the background to produce this nice creamy bokeh, (1/1000 sec, f6.7, ISO 640, handheld).

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Jelly Fish

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I am a member of iNaturalist. Sponsored in part by National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences, the website collects images of nature taken by photographers around the world. Each is graded by curators according to their value to researchers. The site is free and open to anyone who loves nature and has a camera (or smartphone).

According to their website, “Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.”

Go directly to my observation page. Or type in my user name: photo-karl at the main iNaturalist page.

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Stunning Anhinga

I went to Green Cay leading a group of Bellaggio photographers. Lots to see. This lovely anhinga backlit is just stunning. At least, I think so. Taken with my Olympus EM5 II at 500mm. The anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) is sometimes called a “snake bird” because it has a quite long neck. The anhinga is very adept at fishing and I have often seen one diving into our lake for lunch. Florida is one of its year-round haunts.

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Nesting Wood Storks

Wood Storks are a Florida standard wading bird. While they look a bit gangly on land with their long legs and large body, they fly like raptors and watching a flock of wood storks taking off into the sunset is an amazing sight. These birds are the only native storks in the US. They nest in large flocks – and right now there are hundreds of them at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Egg incubation is about a month and so mid-April or so we would expect to see the fledglings in the nests.

In the photo that I took today, the female is sitting on the nest. The male stands watch over his family. The male tends to gather the nesting materials while the female actually constructs the nest. We are very blessed that Florida is a year-round habitat for the wood stork. Stay-tuned because I hope to take photos of the young storks to post here.

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Blue-winged Teal

A great day today. The first time in over a year I went to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands to take photos of birds. Having been vaccinated sure is liberating. Today, the place was overrun with Wood Storks nesting. By mid-April, the fledglings should be popping out of the nests. Although I did take pictures of these gigantic birds, I was looking for something different. And, boy did I find some other interesting birds, including this male Blue-winged Teal.

This guy was enjoying the early morning sunshine with his mate looking for his breakfast. Teals are one of the latest ducks to migrate north and are found in Florida in their non-breeding form. They inhabit ponds and wetlands. Notice the white crescent in front of the eye and the black bill typical of these dabblers.

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China Man

Using two images that I took in China, one of bamboo and the other of a gentleman who was kindly siting in a field posing for me, I created the attached digital painting. The original of the man was masked and the background replaced with a complementary color derived from the bamboo photo. The painting of the man was created in Corel Painter and compositied in Photoshop.

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