I am sure some of you are shoveling snow and saying bad things about weather people and groundhog forecasts. I want you to know I do feel for you. But that is why I live in Florida. After my trip to Goose Pond I decided to visit some other local nature preserves in the area. Someone told me about one where the Black Crowned Night Herons roost. Since they are on my “list” of birds I want close ups of I decided to check it out. There were gale force cold winds blowing over the Broward that day and hardly a bird was venturing out. A few of the hardier ones did manage to take wing though.
Birds on wing are a wonder to observe. Some of you have sent back comments that simply say, WOW! I know exactly how you feel. The cliché of “a picture is worth a thousand words” can still be summed up by just one, WOW! Ever wonder what it would be like to fly like a bird? Pilots get close to that experience as well as Sky Divers (the latter being certified lunatics by some accounts). My wife loves to watch the TV show Touched by an Angel. I get the feeling I have been touched by angels when watching the birds on wing and hope to share those moments with you. Photos of birds perched on limbs or floating on the water are challenging but not as much as trying to catch them doing what they do best…. fly! While at the preserve I did see some Black Crowned Night Herons roosting but none really on wing (they sleep in the daytime). However, I did see a few juvenile Bald Eagles winging overhead and I got one really good shot. The shadow caused by their massive wings gliding overhead is what first caught my attention to their presence. As I look up I see the light reflect off the white feathers on the head and tail. It gives me goose bumps just watching. As a bird prepares to take off or land the motion of the wings is incredible to see. Unlike mans attempts at flying which depend on stiff rigid wings for lift, the motion of a birds wing cannot be duplicated. Airplanes work ok but do not have the beauty seen in a Great Blue Heron as it lifts off its perch and spreads those massive wings or the grace of an eagle as it lands lightly on a nest of eaglets. The most maneuverable plane built cannot match the motion of an Osprey as it changes direction or hovers in midair. After my visit to the preserve I got the chance to capture through the lens quite a few more photos of birds on wing from the dock. The pelicans pass so close I can almost hear their heartbeat beneath the rush of wings as they fly by. I now have a growing library of the local marsh birds in flight that are found on the Broward in winter. The most spectacular so far I feel was yesterday when a Northern Harrier Hawk flew low over the marsh and did an abrupt wing over maneuver right in front of me as the sun illuminated the banded feathers outstretched beneath the swooping hawk. It was my shot of the day and I hope you feel like you too have been “touched by an Angel “ with some of these photos.
Someday I might well fly myself I believe, wings or not. Until then it’s back to walking to the dock, pressing that doohickey, and wishing you a warm cup of coffee, a wonderful day, and more WOW than you can hold. Be Blessed. Harry