Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birds of Paradise

The winter season has been slow to start here in Chicago. Up until two days ago, our weather has been very spring-like. Currently, as I gaze out the window, I see six inches of pristine snow blanketing our lawn, bushes and trees. The air is crisp at 20 degrees. Winds are brisk. Winter has finally arrived.

During January and February, the coldest months of the year, I spend less time outdoors photographing birds because of the frigid temperatures and frequent snowy days. I really do miss meandering though nature preserves, strolling around ponds and scaling small sand dunes. With this post, I thought I would warm up a bit and revisit our recent vacation destination, the gulf coast of Florida. Truly a tropical paradise! Below I feature many of the lovely birds seen on our two week trip.


The magnificent wings of an Osprey ~ It appears as if this female was eyeing me as if I were prey!


Pretty Northern Mockingbirds are a common sight on Longboat Key


The freshly fluffed plumage of a Wood Stork


A lithe Greater Yellowlegs seeks nourishment in the shallows


We delighted in watching this juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron stalk crabs on the beach


A stunning Snowy Egret looks out over the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico


Two feisty Great Egrets engage in a territorial dispute


A dainty Black-bellied Plover escapes the frothy waves of the Gulf


Little Blue Herons are often seen hunting in Sarasota Bay


A Yellow-crowned Night Heron wades the bay waters in search of prey


Crouched and ready for take off ~ Great Blue Heron




73 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

WOW!!! Those pictures warmed me up.Each one is stunning.

Ruth said...

I am so jealous.We went down to Florida last winter and spent days photographing birds. No comparison though.Your photos are stunning. Thanks for the warm-up.

dAwN said...

Excellent! Heading to Florida soon..I know I will never take photos this nice :)

TexWisGirl said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! and then some!!!

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing these beauties.

Berto Garcia said...

Preciosas imagenes ...excelentes imagenes ..saludos

Bob Bushell said...

Well Julie, they are fantastic, every one of them. Top marks.

Mariette's Back to Basics said...

Dearest Julie,

Thanks for your visit and comment and it is a pleasure to come here. It is hard in winter for not being able to observe nature like we can in the summer. This post brightens the dreary outlook of a winter day. They are splendid as usual with great text accompanying them.
Love to you and stay warm!

Mariette

Guy said...

Hi Julie

Quite the tonic for the winter blues, it looks like -29c will be our high today. I really loved the photo of the mockingbird. It was breathtaking.

Guy

Horst in Edmonton said...

Love all of your Bird photos, very beautiful. You do wonderful photography.

Tim Rice said...

All are beautiful bird photos! But I really like the one with the two egrets. Awe-inspiring!

Wanda..... said...

Your photos are so crisp and clear and yet have a lovely soft, calming quality to them.

KaHolly said...

Julie, your photographs are stunning.

Ellie said...

Oh Julie these are wonderful pictures - every one of them :))

PoetessWug said...

Yep! Winter is trying it's best to get off the ground here too! We don't have much snow yet, but frigid, frigid cold weather!!...It's so nice to have warm birds to look at. :-) Beautiful shots...as usual!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Great photographer, beautiful pictures.

Debbie said...

stunning julie, every single one!! i can only imangine the joy of seeing these amazing creatures!!

i think the mickingbird is my favorite, with the pretty evergreens.

we are still waiting for winter here at the jersey shore!!

Scott Winton said...

Amazing photos Julie!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Maybe some day I'll get some pictures half this good

Tammy said...

Beautiful photos!

MoiCLouLou said...

Everyone of them is a beauty! They all have something special.
I love the black-bellied Plover picture, the Great Blue Heron is stunning and the Night Heron is very, very nice.
Love the background colors and the whole picture of the Northern Mockingbird; beautiful shot of they Osprey!
A very nice post for the eyes, thank you Julie for such beauty!

stardust said...

Stunning photo series of beautiful birds! I like your selection with each bird’s interesting or charming pose. My favorite is the second image, I can almost feel the breath and the warmth. I’m happy for you that you could unwind and relax yourself at the warmer places so long. Now that you get back, stay warm.

Yoko

Bets said...

Hello Julie
What a very, very beautiful serie from al the birds. I am jaelous of you, realy fantastic.
Greetings Bets

Dan Huber said...

Wonderful series of photos Julie. I particularly like the detail on the night heron's eye. I have been trying to get eye details of birds lately (not too successfully).

Mia McPherson said...

Very beautiful images Julie! Just looking at them makes the cold Utah temps outside tolerable.

Jim Braswell said...

Inspiring images, Julie! They're all so good ... can't decide which one I like the best!

Cynthia White said...

Stunning images and great detail! Wonderful job (as always!) Julie:)

Beverly said...

Truly fabulous series, Julie!!! I LOVE the mockingbird shot! It's a splendid shot of a common bird that ends up looking gorgeous!

Marco Alpha said...

Hello Julie,
These shots are all fantastic!!
Wonderful to see some of these birds hunting to their prey.
Nice to see the first with the spread wings and the second shot is very beautiful with his wonderful colors.
But the picture with the Egret (No 5) is my favorite. Amazing the white color of the bird with the beautiful blue color of the water at the back. One word,..FANTASTIC!!
I like these shots very much, Julie. You've made them very well!!

Greetings, Marco

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The juvie Night Heron, the Snowy Egrets at play, each of the other images shared are all fantastic. I love how you get such splendid action captures and yet ever so steady. Take care~

Derek & Chris Thomas said...

Truly spectacular photographs!

forgetmenot said...

Two weeks in Florida--pretty nice!!! Awesome photos of some magnificent birds. Lots of different varieties and probably quite different from those you see around the Chicago area. Glad you have had some nice weather because I'm sure your "time is up" and winter will really "hit" soon. Thanks for sharing your lovely post. Stay warm. Mickie :)

Frank said...

Well Julie I just got warmer and warmer as I scrolled through these gorgeous images. Also brought back a lot of memories from a visit we made many, many years ago. FABulous.

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Julie - Wonderful pictures. We have deer in our yard almost every day.

And yesterday I saw a towhee with its pretty black and white wings and its red under belly.

You have some marvelous bird shots. What a good photographer you are!

JRandSue said...

What a delight to see,superb captures Julie,top notch photography.
Love it lots.
John.

jmnatur said...

Rigtige flotte fugle foto.

Harold Stiver said...

A tremendous series, Julie. It makes me long for warm weather and birds coming back

eileeninmd said...

Hi Julie, a gorgeous collection of birds and photos. I loved each and every one of them. Well done!

Kenny Salazar said...

Great Plover shot. POV is great. Love the detail of the water and shells. Gorgeous!

Linda Rockwell said...

Lovely photos! Makes me long to return to Florida. I can almost feel the sun. . .

Blair said...

Julie Julie Julie..When are you ever going to learn how to take bird pictures?? Just kidding of course. Your photography is absolutely gorgeous. Stunning Stunning Stunning. I so enjoy looking at your work... Beautiful.........Thank you for sharing..

Subra said...

Absolutely stunning photographs, esp. the juvenile YC night heron! We too migrated down south during the winter break and my post (albeit not so stunning pictures as yours) can be found at http://eclegein.wordpress.com

Regards,

Subra

Scott (@NESASK) said...

Great to enjoy more of your gorgeous photos from Florida, Julie.

Kerri said...

Magnificent captures my friend! So inspiring!

NewMexiKen said...

Wonderful reflections on your Florida experience. I especially liked the action of the egrets interacting.

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Lovely trip! So many beautiful photos and memories Julie. I always enjoy looking at nature through your eyes :)

Ruby said...

It must be a paradise with these birds around. Lovely shots!! Cheers, Ruby.

Larry Ostby said...

I have such great pleasure in viewing your wonderful photos. They are all fabulous. Love the juvenile, the feisty, the plover and lastly the great blue heron. I know it's only January but I hope your Illinois winter takes it easy on you.

BirdGalAlcatraz said...

Julie, so many magnificent photos! You capture so much with each and every one. I especially love the beautiful Osprey in flight - such a great capture! I love the dancing Egrets and just can't get over how beautiful the crouching Great Blue Heron is. All the photos are spectacular. Thanks for sharing!

Jann said...

I knew I'd be jealous of your FL photos, and I am! :o} I esp love that snowy egret shot but they're all gorgeous. I'm esp jealous of the yellow-crowned night heron sighting, would so love to see one. Just one of several birds on my FL wish list!

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos! We visited our son in the Chicago area at the beginning of January and were pleased that the weather wasn't too bad.

W.T. Jones said...

Hi Julie,

Been a while since I looked in. Seems like your Florida trip was a success. I love those egrets. and the Little Blue heron pic from Mykka is great.

SLH said...

Absolutely stunning photos....very nice series.

Larry said...

Gorgeous bird photos Julie! My favorite is the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. That would be a lifer for me too! The Great Egrets are amazing as well.

Scott Simmons said...

Lovely photos--the mockingbird is one of the prettiest I've seen

Lorents H Blomseth said...

Exellent shots on this page, well done !

Carole M. said...

Julie; amazing photographs! You are adept at manual settings I can see; wow; so wonderful! Shifting off auto everything is a whole new ball-game to me.......

Red Rose Alley said...

Everytime I hear about the snow, my heart sings because I don't see it much here in sunny California. I would love to have a blanket of snow surrounding my house at times. I am sending some sunshine your way. Your bird pictures are so beautiful.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

Manuel Luis said...

Foi um tempo bem aproveitado, Nesta altura do Ano,fotografa-se outras aves, outra luz com mais frio.
Esses 5cm de neve, eu gostava de ver, nunca vi assim bem próximo.
Grato pelo momento, um excelente Inverno a tua medida.
Beijo

Kathiesbirds said...

Julie, you certainly have captured nature's splendor! Wow!

PIUSH TRIVEDI said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Weekend Cowgirl said...

These images are amazing! Such beautiful color.. Wish I could do this.

punkychewster said...

Hi Julie!

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm pretty new to birding, but I am enjoying it immensely! It's great to see so many avid birders out there. There's so much to learn!!!!

I'm also ecstatic to find links to many other birding blogs on yours. Thank you for making the connection! You take amazing pictures!


Chui
http://elephantislove.blogspot.com

Art said...

Amazing photo work!

John's Island said...

Hi Julie – This post truly brings paradise home! Your photos are always wonderful and someday, someone will surely ask you to put together your own guidebook. Yes, they are that great! Right off the bat… the osprey: wings spread and perfect lighting. The close-up of the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron is stunning. And I can’t get over the subtle color differences in the Little Blue Heron. This is really a wonderful post. Congratulations and best regards to you and yours. John PS - Julie, Thank you so much for your kind comments and encouragement on my blog!

Helma said...

Hi Julie,

I am really very impressed by these great photos of birds. So beautiful and you have this sharp variation captured. Compliment.

Greetings, Helma

World Famous said...

All shots are greatly captured.
Test Paper

rachelle vance photography said...

beautiful photography! I am adding this location to my list of places to visit , just a car drive for me :-)

IceBox said...

Great pictures.

Joop Zand said...

So wonderful Julie ....the compositions , light and colors are amazing.....compliments for your blog.

warm greetings, Joop

Exam Sheets said...

what a wonderful blog with beautiful photographs truly magnificent. Pretty sharp, beautiful color and even birds that I have never seen.

Sylwia Grabinska said...

wow, what en amazing blog you have!
Beautiful pictures. Colour, quality, light - everything just PERFECT.
I really enjoy it.

Best regards

Giancarlo said...

Sto sfogliando il tuo blog, volevo cercare una fotografia brutta...ma niente da fa re, sono tutte stupende, bravissima!! felice settimana a Te....ciao

Ela said...

These are the amazing pictures of birds. Most of these birds I just do not know. Thanks for sharing !
Have a nice Sunday :)