Sunday, January 30, 2011

Photo of the Day

One of the biggest problems I have is sometimes trying to identify what in the world I just took a photograph of. I have always considered myself to be an avid outdoorsman, and fairly knowledgable about identities of many of the plants and animals I saw. When I really got back into photography and started photographing the birds, mammals, insects, and plants in detail, I wanted to be able to correctly indentify them. It is pretty embarrassing to take a good photograph of something and then not know what it is. I soon learned I was not nearly as smart as I thought I was. Even though I had been to Florida many, many times in my life, the first time I went as a passionate nature photographer I photographed this strange looking bird on the beach at Lovers Key State Park. The problem was I had no clue what it was. So when I got home I started looking through my numerous bird books to try and identify it. I soon got it correct and had my first photograph of an American Oystercatcher.  You see, we do not get those in Illinois, and it does not resemble anything close to what flies of those millions of acres of corn fields.

 Entomology,Orinthology, Botany,or Biology were not my fields of study. What I did do when I should have been studying is probably better left alone right now. Needless to say, I still often struggle to identify the many species of living things I photograph. The good thing is I do like to read, and the internet is a great resource for finding things faster than looking in outdated books. I have a lot of sites bookmarked on my computer to help me now.

Cute Little Bird taken on Ft. Myers Beach

I am pretty happy with this photograph that I posted today. The problem was it took me a while to correctly identify this little bird. I took this on Ft. Myers Beach in Florida. I was out there in the late afternoon to shoot shore birds and pelicans when I saw this little guy flitting around in some driftwood. At the time I was using an 800mm lens that I had on loan from Canon Professional Services. I backed up until I could get him in focus and then tried to track him and get some good photos of him. This was another new species for me that I had never laid eyes on that I could recall. This little bird is fast and does not sit still for more than a split second. It took quite a few shots before I thought I might have one or two decent photos of it. It sat in my archives for a long time because I was never able to identify it correctly. I assumed it was some type of Viero due to it's markings and the circle around it's eye. But after closely looking at all the vieros and studying where their ranges are, I concluded I was incorrect on that identity.

On my most recent trip to Florida this past December for some bird photography, I was in a Barnes and Noble Bookstore looking through Florida field guides and finally got the correct ID of the bird. So what is this cute little bird?

It is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea . I would have never gotten that one in a million years of guessing. Here is a link to get a little more information on it.

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