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Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Water Lilies in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Water Lilies in Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

All good things come to an end eventually. On July 31, 2019 I bid farewell to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario as it was sold to new owners. I will miss the area dearly as it is where my love of nature photography took hold. It is where I began to explore woodlands, beaver ponds, and wetlands to gain the knowledge that has allowed me to photograph many of my most cherished images. It is also the place where I perfected my Bullfrog-scapes

After spending a couple of weeks there prior to the closing date of the sale I was lucky enough to be graced with numerous photographic opportunities, so there will be plenty more images to share in the coming weeks. During these two weeks it felt like all the wildlife I photographed over the years had come to bid farewell as I had so many amazing close-up encounters with many of the species that inhabit the lake, and surrounding forest.

I hope to return to the area at least once a year to continue to document the wildlife in the large wetland near the cottage property and to continue my explorations of the small lakes hidden in the forest, but for now here is a selection of imagery that I created during my last two weeks at the cottage. I do have many, many more unprocessed image files from Horseshoe Lake that I will continue to share as time and temperment allow 🙂

Sadly, after 35 years, this chapter of my life has come to an end. However, as one chapter closes another will open and it only takes one step to start that journey.

Stay tuned

Bullfrog_1847

Bullfrog in wetland habitat, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

 

Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Green Darner Dragonfly, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common Loon, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Tree Swallows, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Over-under Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Common Merganser, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Milky Way, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Milky Way over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Cayman Brac

Join yours truly on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac from February 17 to February 21, 2020 for my second land-based photo tour of this rugged tropical paradise.

I was pleased to have world famous bird photographer Arthur Morris attend my first-ever photo tour on Cayman Brac. What did Arthur have to say about the trip;

A friend and I had the pleasure of attending Andrew’s Cayman Brac workshop in February 2018. With his extensive local knowledge and local contacts he was able to put us in great position every morning and afternoon. Andrew was great at helping this old man with his gear. And he was punctual and cordial as well as knowledgeable. We made a zillion great images of Brown Boobies doing all sorts of things from flying to courting to copulating to sitting on eggs to tending and feeding chicks sized from tiny ones to big ones. You can see the Brown Booby images by visiting www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com, typing either “Cayman Brac” of “Brown Booby” in the little white box on the trop right of each blog post page, and then hitting the search icon.

The main objective of this photo tour will be photographing nesting Brown Booby however, epic sunrises looking out over the Caribbean Sea at the base of the 140 foot bluff will not be over-looked, nor will the abstract opportunities inside many of Cayman Brac’s caves. During this time of year it is also possible to photograph numerous species of herons, endangered West Indian Whistling Duck, endangered Cayman Brac Parrot, as well as the critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana.

During the mid-day hours when conditions are not particularly suitable for land based photography participants can explore the island on their own, grab some rest and relaxation, or accompany me on snorkeling excursions at numerous shore diving sites. These snorkel excursions are a great way to try your hand at underwater photography. I can provide advice on how best to get your gear into the water for those that are interested in this option.

Participants are expected to have a good understanding of their camera system and should be prepared for walking distances at some locations of 1-2 kilometres. While much of the terrain we will be walking over is easy it is important to note that there are other sections where it is uneven due to Cayman Brac’s eroded limestome coast. In some areas the eroded limestone is quite jagged and not for the faint of heart. You are responsible for your own safety at all times. Please do not hesitate to inquire if you have any concerns.

Please note that all fees for this photo tour are indicated in US dollars.

Photo Tour Rate

• $1275.00 US Currency ( a signed waiver of liability form must accompany payment)

Accommodation and meals (aside from the farewell dinner) are not included with this Photo Tour. I will be using the Carib Sands Condominiums as my home base and do recommend that participants book there accommodation there as well, although you are welcome to explore other rental opportunities on the island. With condominium rentals you are also responsible for your own toiletries, etc. Indicated below are the rates for condo rentals through Carib Sands (contact info will be provided to those interested in registering):

• Per night in a one bedroom condo US$200

• Per night in a two bedroom condo US$260

• Per night in a three bedroom condo US$385

Itinerary:

February 17:

6:00 p.m. meet and greet at the Carib Sands Pool

February 18 to 21:

6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. morning session for sunrise and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. free time or complimentary snorkel excursions

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. evening session for sunset and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

February 21

Farewell Dinner at 7:00 p.m. (rough time estimate – to be confirmed the day of)

What’s Included:

• In-the-field photographic instruction

• Transportation for photo tour participants during excursions (departing from Carib Sands)

• In-the-field image review

• Farewell dinner on February 21

• Complimentary snorkel excursions for interested attendees

• Free WiFi at Condominium

What’s Not Included:

• All flights to and from Cayman Brac

• Accommodations

• Meals

• Drinks

• Transportation outside of the photo tour excursions (folks attending daily snorkel excursions will be provided transportation based on availability)

• Masks, Fins, and Snorkels

Cayman Brac 2020 is open to a maximum of 4 participants. No minimum number required.

To reserve your spot in this photo tour your payment of $1275.00 USD is due now. At the time of booking a signed waiver form will be required and will be emailed to interested participants so that they can return the signed forms with their cheque made payable to: Andrew McLachlan. Please contact me via email by clicking here to reserve your spot today.

Cancellation Policy (Photo Tour Rate Only):

120 days prior to tour date full refund less cancellation fee of $500 US

Less than 120 days no refund. It is recommended that you purchase trip cancellation insurance.

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Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Male Red-winged Blackbird

Spring has arrived in my neck of the woods. There is nothing more wonderful than waking to the song of the male Red-winged Blackbirds upon their return. They always seem to arrive overnight. One day all is quiet and then the next morning the songs of Red-winged Blackbirds fill the air. The above bird was photographed yesterday in Ontario’s Cootes Paradise as it sang from a perch at the edge of a wetland. Earlier in the day an Eastern Screech Owl was discovered basking at the entrance of a tree cavity that was facing the rising sun.

Each of today’s photographs are straight out of the camera, with very little post processing applied – my preferred way to go when photographing wildlife!

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)

Eastern Screech Owl – Gray Phase

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Sunrise, Amherst Island, Ontario

It is always fun to look back at this time of the year and reflect on the past year and the images that were created during my travels. In this post I am featuring my favorite photographs of 2018. All of the images featured in this blog post have been featured here over the course of the year with the exception of the opening sunrise image, which was created during a trip to Ontario’s Amherst Island a few days ago. As the sun rose the clouds took on the appearance of what resembled a blazing forest fire. It was a lovely sunrise to complete the year with 🙂

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the very best for a prosperous 2019!

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Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

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A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario

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Over-Under Bullfrog, Parry Sound, Ontario

Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Caribbean Reef Squid, Radar Reef, Cayman Brac, British West Indies

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Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

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Spring Peeper, Parry Sound, Ontario

Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana), Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Southern Stingray, Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Storm Clouds Over Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

Approaching Storm Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

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Snowy Owl_6905

Snowy Owl in Flight (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Over the last couple of days we have received several inches of heavy, wet snow around my home, which has coated the trees and turned the area into a lovely, winter wonderland. I was excited to get out and explore the surrounding farmland near my home for scenics as well as snowy owls. Every year several snowy owls over-winter on the farmland around my home. They gather to feast on mice and meadow voles that are scavenging the soy beans and corn that is spilled during harvest. Pictured above is the only image I have been able to create of a snowy owl so far this year. I do like the over-the-shoulder stare that the owl is giving me as it flies out over one of the fields.

Pictured below are a few of the scenic images that were created during my search for the snowy owls.  My choice of lenses for these images was the Nikon 200-500mm lens or the Nikon 28-300mm lens on either my Nikon D500 or Nikon D800 body.

Winter Tree_6947

Winter Tree in Snow Storm (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Winter Farm Scenic (Nikon D800 & Nikon 28-300mm Lens)

 

Winter Tree_6932

Winter Tree (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

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Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Winter Trees_6941

Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Late on the morning of November 12th I finally located my first Northern Saw Whet Owl. I have tried several times over the years to locate and photograph this tiny species of owl, often coming close but never succeeding. After scouring a small cedar grove for about an hour I paused to rethink where I should look next when I noticed two bright yellow eye staring back at me, not more than 3 feet from where I stood. Alas, I had found a Northern Saw Whet Owl. As the owl was roosting within the thick boughs of the cedar trees it was tricky to get a clear photograph so I decided to frame the owl in such a way that also tells a story about its habitat.

My go-to lenses for these images were the Nikon 200-500mm Lens and the Nikon 28-300mm Lens. The Nikon 200-500mm lens was deployed to capture tight portraits of the owl hidden within the branches of the cedar trees. The Nikon 28-300mm lens was the main lens used as I was able to easily capture full body images with minimal foreground clutter. The minimum one foot focusing distance of the Nikon 28-300mm lens makes it a very versatile and functional lens. Often the Nikon 28-300mm lens is trashed by the “so-called” internet experts, but this lens in the right hands, with the right vision, and proper photographic technique yields quality imagery everytime!

Below are a few additional images of the Northern Saw Whet Owl I photographed yesterday.

Saw Whet Owl_5557

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Snowy Owl in a near blinding blizzard near Thornton, Ontario, Canada.

 

I am pleased to announce that my Snowy Owl image has been awarded an Honourable Mention in the “Animals In Their Environment” category of the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards, which received the highest international participation ever with close to 48.000 images submitted from amateur and professional photographers from 156 countries worldwide.

To view the gallery of amazing and inspiring, winning images please click here.

I am always fond of creating animate landscape imagery. When I discovered this Snowy Owl roosting on the ground, in a field near my home, during a near blinding snow blizzard I immediately chose to create this small in the frame image of the owl within its habitat during the inclement weather.

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