Greg Gard: Blog http://www.greggard.com/blog en-us (C) Greg Gard info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) Thu, 28 May 2015 00:28:00 GMT Thu, 28 May 2015 00:28:00 GMT White-eyed Vireo - New Jersey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/white-eyed-vireo-nj-spring-migration White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) photographed in Cape May, New Jersey during last year's spring migration:

Adult male White-eyed Vireo spring migration Cape May, New Jersey bird photography Canon EOS 1Dx camera and 600mm f/4 IS lens paired with a 1.4x extenderWhite-eyed VireoWhite-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus - Cape May, New Jersey

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Photograph captured with a Canon EOS 1Dx camera and 600mm f/4 IS lens paired with a 1.4x extender.

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography songbird http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/white-eyed-vireo-nj-spring-migration Thu, 28 May 2015 00:27:40 GMT
Northern Shoveler drake - New Jersey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/northern-shoveler-drake-new-jersey Close-up of a drake Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) showing its bill and lamellae:

Adult male Northern Shoveler swimming by at the close distance, Bergen County, New Jersey bird photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterNorthern ShovelerNorthern Shoveler - Anas clypeata - Bergen County, New Jersey

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Lamellae are a fascinating adaptation of the waterfowl bill. These small, comb-like structures along the inside of the bill act like sieves and look like teeth, even though ducks and geese don’t chew food. When ducks are searching for food, nonfood items such as mud and water can be expelled while seeds, bugs, or other food items are retained by the lamellae. The top part of the waterfowl bill is called the upper mandible, and the bottom part, the lower mandible. The upper mandible is affixed to the skull, but the lower mandible can move up and down. The upper and lower mandibles of most dabbling ducks have from 50 to 70 lamellae, but bluewings and greenwings may have 120 to 130 lamellae. Shovelers have about 220 lamellae on their lower mandible and 180 lamellae on their upper mandible

 

Interesting facts (source CornellLab):

- Northern Shoveler pairs are monogamous, and remain together longer than pairs of other dabbling duck species.

- When flushed off the nest, a female Northern Shoveler often defecates on its eggs, apparently to deter predators.

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/northern-shoveler-drake-new-jersey Wed, 20 May 2015 01:29:53 GMT
Camping under the Milky Way - Canyonlands, Utah http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/camping-under-the-milky-way-canyonlands-utah I can't wait to take my trusty REI tent for the first camping trip of the season.

So many good memories!

Camping under the stars in the Canyonlands, Utah:

Camping in the wilderness under the Milky Way / starry sky - Canyonlands, UtahCamping under the Milky WayTent under the starry night sky / Milky Way - Canyonlands, Utah

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 5D Photography landscape milky night way http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/camping-under-the-milky-way-canyonlands-utah Thu, 14 May 2015 00:47:53 GMT
Semipalmated Plover bathing - Jamaica Bay NWR, New York http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/semipalmated-plover-bathing-jamaica-bay-nwr-new-york Semipalmated Plover taking a bath in a shallow water at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York City:

Semipalmated Plover bathing in a shallow water at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York City shorebird photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterSemipalmated PloverSemipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York City

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NY Photography shorebird http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/semipalmated-plover-bathing-jamaica-bay-nwr-new-york Tue, 05 May 2015 01:24:16 GMT
Female Northern Harrier straight on - New York http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/female-northern-harrier-straight-on-ny Adult female Northern Harrier flying straight on at the Liberty Marsh Liberty Loop NWR, Oil City Road, New Jersey / New York boundary

Female Northern Harrier flying straight on, New York bird photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterNorthern Harrier femaleNorthern Harrier - Circus cyaneus Orange County, New York

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ NY Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/5/female-northern-harrier-straight-on-ny Sat, 02 May 2015 00:35:51 GMT
Bufflehead drake - Bergen County, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/bufflehead-drake-bergen-county-nj Close-up of a cute adult male Bufflehead swimming on the Oradell Reservoir, Bergen County, New Jersey:

Adult male Bufflehead swimming on the Oradell Reservoir, Bergen County, NJ duck photography Canon EOS 1Dx paired with Canon 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 2x extenderBufflehead drakeBufflehead - Bucephala albeola Oradell Reservoir, Bergen County, New Jersey

- for high-resolution photograph, please click on the image -

 

Bufflehead are North America’s smallest diving duck; they benefit by using old flicker nests that larger ducks such as goldeneyes and mergansers cannot fit into

Bufflehead dive for aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, and mollusks. They typically swallow their food while still underwater. Dives last on average about 12 seconds and rarely more than 25 seconds, typically staying on the surface another 12 seconds or so before diving again. Bufflehead forage in open, shallow water over sparse submerged vegetation or over mudflats that would be exposed at low tide. On freshwater they mostly eat damselfly and dragonfly larvae, midge larvae, water boatmen, mayfly larvae, caddisfly larvae, large zooplankton such as amphipods, and snails and clams in winter. They eat some plant matter in fall and winter, mainly seeds of pondweeds and bulrushes. In saltwater, Bufflehead eat shrimp, crabs, amphipods, isopods, snails, mussels, herring eggs, sculpins, and ratfishes. Downy ducklings sometimes dabble at the surface rather than diving.

 

Interesting facts:

- The Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in holes excavated by Northern Flickers and, on occasion, by Pileated Woodpeckers. - Unlike most ducks, the Bufflehead is mostly monogamous, often remaining with the same mate for several years.

- Bufflehead normally live only in North America, but in winter they occasionally show up elsewhere, including Kamchatka, Japan, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, Belgium, France, Finland, and Czechoslovakia. In some of these cases, the birds may have escaped from captivity.

- The oldest Bufflehead on record was at least 18 years and 8 months old. It was caught and re-released by a bird bander in New York in 1975. - (source: CornellLab)

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/bufflehead-drake-bergen-county-nj Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:58:56 GMT
Yellow-crowned Night Heron - New Jersey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/yellow-crowned-night-heron--nj Yellow-crowned Night Heron standing in the middle of the gravel road in a quick draw challenge pose :)

 

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron standing on the gravel road New Jersey bird photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterThe Face OffYellow-crowned Night-Heron - Nyctanassa violate - New Jersey

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography wading http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/yellow-crowned-night-heron--nj Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:49:37 GMT
American Avocet in breeding plumage - San Francisco Bay Area, California http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/american-avocet-breeding-plumage-san-francisco-california Adult male American Avocet in the breeding plumage standing in the shallow water with an open beak, San Francisco Bay Area, California:

Adult male American Avocet in a breeding plumage standing in the water at the San Francisco Bay Area, California bird photography Canon 1Dx 600mm f/4 + 2x extenderAmerican AvocetAmerican Avocet - Recurvirostra americana San Francisco Bay Area, California

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird CA Photography shorebird wading http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/american-avocet-breeding-plumage-san-francisco-california Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:33:06 GMT
Drake Common Merganser - Bergen County, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/male-common-merganser-bergen-county-nj Curious adult male Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) swimming on the Passaic River, Bergen County, New Jersey:

Common Merganser drake swimming towards camera, Bergen County, New Jersey duck photography Canon 7D mark II 600mm IS f/4 + 2x extenderCommon Merganser maleCommon Merganser - Mergus merganser Bergen County, New Jersey

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 600mm 7D Bird II Photography waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/male-common-merganser-bergen-county-nj Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:20:48 GMT
Short-billed Dowitcher - Jamaica Bay NWR, NYC http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/short-billed-dowitcher-jamaica-bay-nwr-nyc Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus - feeding in a shallow water at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York City:

Short-billed Dowitcher feeding in a shallow water Jamaica Bay NWR, New York City bird photographyShort-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseusShort-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York City

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NY Photography shorebirds http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/short-billed-dowitcher-jamaica-bay-nwr-nyc Fri, 10 Apr 2015 23:57:36 GMT
Male Anna's Hummingbird - San Francisco, California http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/male-annas-hummingbird-san-francisco-california Adult male Anna's Hummingbird displaying its iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throat in San Francisco, California

Adult male Anna's Hummingbird showing off its emerald pink throat - San Francisco Bay Area, California bird photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterAnna's Hummingbird - Calypte annaAnna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna San Francisco Bay Area, California

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird CA Photography http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/male-annas-hummingbird-san-francisco-california Thu, 09 Apr 2015 00:04:49 GMT
Peregrine Falcon - State Line Lookout, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/peregrine-falcon-in-flight-state-line-lookout-nj Dorsal view on an adult Peregrine Falcon flying by, with its beak opened, at the State Line Lookout, Palisades Interstate Park, Bergen County, New Jersey:

Adult Peregrine Falcon flying by at the State Line Lookout, Bergen County, New Jersey bird of prey photography over the Hudson River / PalisadesPeregrine FalconPeregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus - flying by - New Jersey

- for larger size photograph, please click on the image -

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/peregrine-falcon-in-flight-state-line-lookout-nj Mon, 06 Apr 2015 00:19:03 GMT
Ring-necked Duck - San Francisco Bay Area, California http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/ring-necked-duck-san-francisco-bay-area-california Adult male Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collars) swimming on a lake in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California:

Swimming Ring-necked Duck drake on a green background, San Francisco Bay Area, California waterfowl photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterRing-necked DuckRing-necked Duck drake - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Bay Area, California

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Cool Facts (source CornellLab):

- This bird’s common name (and its scientific name "collaris," too) refer to the Ring-necked Duck's hard-to-see chestnut collar on its black neck. It’s not a good field mark to use for identifying the bird, but it jumped out to the nineteenth century biologists that described the species using dead specimens.

- During fall migration, Ring-necked Ducks can form immense flocks. Several hundred thousand congregate each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice.

- Ring-necked Ducks on their breeding grounds occasionally get attacked by the much larger Common Loon, the Red-necked Grebe, and even the much smaller Pied-billed Grebe.

- The oldest known Ring-necked Duck was 20 years 5 months old. It was banded in 1964 in Louisiana and was shot during hunting season in 1983, in Minnesota.

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird CA Photography waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/4/ring-necked-duck-san-francisco-bay-area-california Fri, 03 Apr 2015 10:35:00 GMT
Female Canvasback - Cambridge, Maryland http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/female-canvasback-cambridge-maryland Female adult Canvasback swimming straight on:

Canvasback hen swimming towards the camera - Cambridge, MD waterfowl photography Canon 1Dx paired with 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x teleconverterCanvasback henCanvasback - Aythya valisineria - adult female

- for high-resolution photograph, please click on the image -

 

I photographed this hen on Choptank River in Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird MD Photography waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/female-canvasback-cambridge-maryland Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:09:53 GMT
Northern Harrier - Liberty Marsh NWR, New Jersey / New York http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/northern-harrier-liberty-marsh-nwr-nj-ny Northern Harrier flying low over the marsh at the Liberty Marsh National Wildlife Refuge New Jersey / New York boundary:

Bird in its environment - Northern Harrier flying low over the marsh - New Jersey / New York wildlife photography - Canon 1Dx 600mm f/4 IS 1.4 extenderNorthern HarrierFemale Northern Harrier -Circus cyaneus Liberty Marsh NWR, NJ / NY

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ NY Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/northern-harrier-liberty-marsh-nwr-nj-ny Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:01:44 GMT
Anna's Hummingbird - California http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/annas-hummingbird-california Here is my first ever hummingbird that I had a chance to photograph. On my very short trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, California I was amazed how people friendly Anna's Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are and I absolutely took advantage of the situation :) 

Anna's Hummingbird perched on a twig San Francisco Bay Area, California bird photography Canon EOS 1Dx 600mm f/4 IS mark II 1.4x extender Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte annaAnna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna San Francisco Bay Area, California

 

Cool Facts via CornellLab:

- In the first half of the 20th century, the Anna's Hummingbird bred only in northern Baja California and southern California. The planting of exotic flowering trees provided nectar and nesting sites, and allowed the hummingbird to greatly expand its breeding range.

-On rare occasions, bees and wasps may become impaled on the bill of an Anna's Hummingbird, causing the bird to starve to death.

- Hummingbirds are strictly a New World animal. They fascinated the first Europeans who arrived on the continent. Christopher Columbus wrote about them and many wondered if they were a cross between a bird and an insect (at one point being called “flybirds”). Later, their feathers became fashionable ornaments in Europe (a practice that has thankfully fallen out of favor).

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird CA Photography http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/annas-hummingbird-california Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:09:35 GMT
Immature Bald Eagle - Conowingo Dam http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/immature-bald-eagle-conowingo-dam-md Immature Bald Eagle flying overhead at the Conowingo Dam, Maryland:

Immature Bald Eagle spreading its wings - Conowingo Dam, Maryland nature photography Canon 1Dx 600mm f/4 IS mark IIImmature Bald Eagle Immature Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus Conowingo Dam, Maryland

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird MD Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/immature-bald-eagle-conowingo-dam-md Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:15:47 GMT
Juvenile Peregrine Falcon - Bergen County, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/juvenile-peregrine-falcon---bergen-county-nj Juvenile Peregrine Falcon perched on a branch with its wings widespread:

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon spreading its wings wide, Bergen County, New Jersey nature photography Canon 1Dx 600mmJuvenile Peregrine FalconJuvenile Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus Palisades Interstate Park, New Jersey

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I photographed this young falcon at the Palisades Interstate Park, State Line Lookout, Bergen County, New Jersey.

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/juvenile-peregrine-falcon---bergen-county-nj Wed, 18 Mar 2015 01:06:26 GMT
American Avocet - San Francisco Bay Area, California http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/american-avocet-san-francisco-bay-area-california Male American Avocet, in a breeding plumage, wading in a deep water:

Male American Avocet in a breeding plumage wading in a deep water at the San Francisco Bay Area, California bird photography Canon 1Dx 600mm f/4 + 2x extenderAmerican AvocetAmerican Avocet - Recurvirostra americana San Francisco Bay Area, California

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I photographed this stunning wader in San Francisco Bay Area, California

Interesting Facts (source CornellLab):

- In response to predators, the American Avocet sometimes issues a series of call notes that gradually changes pitch, simulating the Doppler effect and thus making its approach seem faster than it actually is.
- Nesting American Avocets aggressively attack predators, sometimes physically striking Northern Harriers or Common Ravens.
- A female American Avocet may lay one to four eggs in the nest of another female, who then incubates the eggs. American Avocets may parasitize other species' nests too; single American Avocet eggs have been found in the nests of Mew Gulls. Other species may also parasitize avocet nests.
- Avocets have incubated mixed clutches of their own eggs and those of Common Terns or Black-necked Stilts. The avocets reared the stilt hatchlings as if they were their own.
- American Avocet chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching. Day-old avocets can walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators.
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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird CA Photography shorebird wading http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/american-avocet-san-francisco-bay-area-california Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:35:00 GMT
Wilson's Snipe - Meadowlands, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/wilsons-snipe-dekorte-meadowlands-nj Wilson's Snipe standing in a shallow water at the DeKorte Park, Meadowlands, New Jersey:

Wilson's Snipe standing in a shallow water in the Meadowlands, Bergen County, New Jersey bird photography Canon 1Dx + 600mm f/4 + 1.4x extenderWilson's SnipeWilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicate Richard W. DeKorte Park - Lyndhurst, Meadowlands, New Jersey

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Interesting facts (source: CornellLab):
- Wilson’s Snipe look so stocky thanks in part to the extra-large pectoral (breast) muscles that make up nearly a quarter of the bird’s weight—the highest percent of all shorebirds. Thanks to their massive flight muscles this chunky sandpiper can reach speeds estimated at 60 miles an hour.
- Wilson’s Snipe feed by burying their bills deep into soft, wet soil to probe for insect larvae, worms, and other invertebrate prey. The bill’s flexible tip can open to grasp food while the base of the bill stays closed. Snipe can slurp small prey from the mud without having to remove their bill from the soil.
- Because a Wilson’s Snipe’s eyes are set far back on its head, it can see almost as well behind as in front and to the sides. This arrangement makes it difficult for a potential predator to sneak up on a feeding snipe—it almost literally has “eyes in the back of its head.”
- The word “sniper” originated in the 1770s among British soldiers in India who hunted snipe as game. The birds are still hunted in many countries, including the U.S., though their fast, erratic flight style means they are difficult targets.
- Although only the female tends the eggs and nestlings, Wilson’s Snipe parents split up the siblings once they’re ready to fledge. The male takes the two oldest; the female takes the younger two with her. After they leave the nest the mates have no further contact.
- Researchers have done wind tunnel tests with Wilson’s Snipe feathers to try and duplicate the “winnowing” sound that’s made as birds fly with their tail feathers fanned. They found that it’s the outermost tail feathers, or rectrices, that generate the sound, which apparently happens at airspeeds of about 25 miles per hour.
- The oldest known Wilson’s Snipe was 9 years, 3 months old, based on a band recovered from a bird that was shot in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

 

If you need help with finding birding hotspots in New Jersey, these two books are a perfect start:

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NJ Photography meadowlands shorebird http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/wilsons-snipe-dekorte-meadowlands-nj Sat, 14 Mar 2015 15:42:09 GMT