Birds of St. Andrews

by Bethany Plonski June. 14, 2019 399 views

St. Andrews Park is a birdwatching paradise. I don't think I've ever seen so many different kinds of birds in such a small space of time before. There were seemingly endless numbers of herons and egrets, especially around Gator Lake.

Great egret

Great egret

Wood duck

Wood duck

The wood duck above was one of my first shots of the day, and it shows one of the frustrations of photography in Florida. Here in the Southern states, we tend to overdo the air-conditioning once the summer heat arrives, and most places keep their indoor temperatures positively frigid. So transitioning from cold air inside to warm, humid air outside causes condensation on the lens and camera body. It took about 15 minutes for the lens to clear up, which was a real test of patience when there were birds everywhere. :)

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Least bittern

Least bittern

Great egret

Great egret

Either a grackle or Brewer's blackbird - hard to tell without seeing the tail.

Either a grackle or Brewer's blackbird - hard to tell without seeing the tail.

Northern cardinal

Northern cardinal

Brown-headed nuthatch

Brown-headed nuthatch

Downy woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

Brown pelican

Brown pelican

Laughing gull

Laughing gull

For this trip, I opted to go with an all-in-one zoom (Tamron 18-400mm), and while it was nice to travel light, the image quality and focusing speed were no match for the Nikon I usually use. The new AF-P focusing system that Nikon has is pretty flawless - I can't count the number of times I'll take a shot thinking "yeah right!" and get beautiful results anyway. That thing is an absolute gem.

The Tamron wasn't a bad lens by any means, but I think it's better suited for stationary subjects and objects that are relatively close by. There are tradeoffs for everything, but I've made a mental note that if my travels will include bird or wildlife sightings, I should just bring an extra lens that is up for the task.

Join the conversation
18
There are 18 comments , add yours!
Tsao T-F 1 year, 7 months ago

Good shots. I love #3.

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Tsao T-F 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you! smile

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Heike 1 year, 7 months ago

Really cool bird photos! They are all so great. #14 made me smile. Can't imagine that it is very comfortable, but ok, I'm not a bird.smile

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Heike 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you so much! That one cracked me up too. I wonder if they are like cats and feel safer when they are up high. smile

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Buster Bruce 1 year, 7 months ago

Bethany, I enjoyed all of these gorgeous images. Its hard to pick a favorite, but I would probably pick #4 and hang it on my wall!

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Buster Bruce 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you so much! That one does have a mysterious quality to it, and I love to see herons extend their wings.

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Lynn F Medley 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you for your patience enjoyed this series very much, your images are sharp and composed so well!

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Lynn F Medley 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you, Lynn, I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it. I was in bird heaven. smile

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Russell Smith 1 year, 7 months ago

Rather cool seeing the Bittern they can be a hard bird to find. My guess is a Grackle the Brewers are more of a winter bird if I am remembering correctly but even then it still could be a brewers. The Tamaron does seem like a great travel lens

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Russell Smith 1 year, 7 months ago

I was really excited about that one! He didn't stick around for long once I moved closer though, very shy.
With the Tamron it was really nice not having to change lenses, and it was surprisingly lightweight for being rather big.

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Greg Blaney 1 year, 7 months ago

Wonderful bird photos, Bethany. I was just at a spot that had a few birds and I tried hard to take some decent pictures but they're not great. So, I envy your abilities very much.+1

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Greg Blaney 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you, Greg! Working with a different lens than usual, I felt like I missed more shots than usual that day, but I also got to see a lot more birds, so eventually it evened out. They are definitely a challenge though!

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Björn Roose 1 year, 7 months ago

I think that's pretty good shots for a 400 mm, actually. Bought myself a present this week of which I hope it will help me in wildlife photography (I was working with a 300 mm up till now), a heavier version of your Tamron: the 150-600 mm smile   Hoped to test it this weekend, but looks like I'm f****d: it's raining ...

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Björn Roose 1 year, 7 months ago

Thank you! My biggest frustration with it was how long it took to lock focus. But when the timing worked out, I was happy with the results. smile 
That is quite an exciting gift! How heavy is it? I thought of renting that one but worried it might be difficult to lug around (and I was hoping to cover the wide end too, so 18mm came in handy). Hope you've had better weather to test it out!

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Björn Roose Replied to Bethany Plonski 1 year, 7 months ago

It weighs over a kilo. Could take it out for a short walk last Sunday (the rest of the week has been mostly rain, at least when I was home) and it is indeed pretty heavy to carry on a strap. Not something you're taking for a walk through the city. But with some exercise it should be perfect for our visits to some natural reserves in Croatia this summer.

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Björn Roose 1 year, 7 months ago

Yikes! It has taken me a while to get used to my one longer lens - it used to make my wrists sore at first, but now I hardly notice it. Glad you'll have it for Croatia and hope we get to see how it does!

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Andi Saw 1 year, 7 months ago

It's sleeping on top of a pole! How cool is that? blue heart

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Andi Saw 1 year, 7 months ago

The coolest! He stayed there the entire time I was watching them, must have been comfy! grinning

1 year, 7 months ago Edited
Up
Copyright @Photoblog.com