Greg Gard: Blog http://www.greggard.com/blog en-us (C) Greg Gard info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:50:00 GMT Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:50:00 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

 for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -

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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

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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

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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

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

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

- for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -

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

- for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -

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
American Wigeon - Cambridge, Maryland http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/american-wigeon-cambridge-maryland Close-up of a male American Wigeon in a calling pose:

Vocalizing drake American Wigeon on the Choptank River, Cambridge, Maryland bird photography Canon EOS 1Dx paired with Canon 600mm f/4 IS mark II lens and 1.4x extenderAmerican WigeonAmerican Wigeon - Anas americana Choptank River, Cambridge, Maryland

- for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -

 

I photographed this beautiful duck on the Choptank River in Cambridge, Maryland.

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird MD waterfowl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/american-wigeon-cambridge-maryland Thu, 12 Mar 2015 00:21:06 GMT
Great Horned Owl fledgling - New Jersey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/great-horned-owlet-new-jersey Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) fledgling on its first day out of the nest:

Great Horned Owlet perched on a top of the broken tree and looking straight to the camera - Northern New Jersey nature photography Canon EOS 5D mark III 600mm f/4 IS mark II + 2x extender mark IIIGreat Horned OwletGreat Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus

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

and a little bit tighter crop:

Great Horned Owlet perched on a top of the broken tree and looking straight to the camera - Northern New Jersey nature photography Canon EOS 5D mark III 600mm f/4 IS mark II + 2x extender mark IIIGreat Horned OwletGreat Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus Bergen County, New Jersey

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

I photographed this owlet in Bergen County, New Jersey in spring 2014. I hope that this nest will be active this year as well. 

Interesting facts about these owls:

- Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
- When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.
- If you hear an agitated group of cawing American Crows, they may be mobbing a Great Horned Owl. Crows may gather from near and far and harass the owl for hours. The crows have good reason, because the Great Horned Owl is their most dangerous predator.
- Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.
- Great Horned Owls are covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against the cold winter weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey. Their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest.
- Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark, and retinas containing many rod cells for excellent night vision. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction. They also have sensitive hearing, thanks in part to facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to their ears.
- The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.
- Occasionally, when Great Horned Owls kill more prey than they can eat, they cache the remains for later use. Great Horned Owls will incubate frozen food until it thaws and can be eaten. - source: CornellLab
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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 5D 600mm Bird NJ Photography bird of prey owl http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/great-horned-owlet-new-jersey Fri, 06 Mar 2015 01:38:55 GMT
Juvenile Peregrine Falcon - NJ Palisades http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/3/juvenile-peregrine-falcon-bergen-county-nj-palisades Juvenile Peregrine Falcon flying straight at the camera:

Immature Peregrine Falcon flying straight on towards the camera at the Palisades Interstate Park NJ / NY wildlife photography Canon EOS 1Dx and 600mm f/4 ISJuvenile Peregrine Falcon in-flightFledgling Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus Bergen County, New Jersey

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

 

Palisades Interstate Park, 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-palisades Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:55:05 GMT
Blue-winged Warbler - New York http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/blue-winged-warbler-ny Perched adult male Blue-winged Warbler showing its side colors/plumage:

Side view on a plumage of an adult male Blue-winged Warbler in New York State bird photography Canon 1Dx 600mm II 1.4x teleconverterBlue-winged WarblerBlue-winged Warbler - Vermivora cyanoptera

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NY Photography songbird http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/blue-winged-warbler-ny Thu, 26 Feb 2015 01:36:01 GMT
Juvenile American Oystercatcher - Nickerson Beach, New York http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/juvenile-american-oystercatcher-long-island-new-york Juvenile American Oystercatcher walking in the shallow ocean water at the Nickerson Beach, Long Island, New York:

Juvenile American Oystercatcher walking in a shallow ocean water - Long Island, NY bird photography Canon EOS 1Dx 600mm f/4 IS + 1.4x extenderAmerican Oystercatcher juvenileJuvenile American Oystercatcher - Haematopus palliatus Long Island, New York

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx 600mm Bird NY Photography shorebirds http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/juvenile-american-oystercatcher-long-island-new-york Tue, 24 Feb 2015 01:42:49 GMT
Close-up of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, Bergen County, NJ http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/close-up-of-a-juvenile-peregrine-falcon-bergen-county-nj Close encounter with a juvenile Peregrine Falcon at the Palisades Cliffs in Northern New Jersey:

Close-up of a Juvenile Peregrine Falcon at the Palisades Cliffs in Northern NJ nature photography - Canon 1Dx 600mm f/4 IS mark IIJuvenile Peregrine FalconJuvenile Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus Palisades, NJ

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

 

To get this shot, I was hidden in a portable camo netting/blind: www.amazon.com/kwikcamo  when this fledgling landed on its usual perch. For a while it was turned back to me but with the first camera clicks, this young falcon got interested, turned towards me and looked straight into my lens. It sat like this for a while, possibly wondering what is going on until one of the parents flew by with a food...

 

 

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info@greggard.com (Greg Gard) 1Dx Bird NJ Photography bird of prey http://www.greggard.com/blog/2015/2/close-up-of-a-juvenile-peregrine-falcon-bergen-county-nj Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:28:42 GMT