Thursday, April 2, 2009

Waterbirds in Arizona

I had a chance to get some nice close-up photos of some waterbirds while I was in Arizona. Now, if I wanted to try to really impress everyone I could make up a story about how hard it was to get these great shots and how I suffered physically and emotionally because of my quest for the "perfect shot". However, truth be told, I made these pictures while eating a snack at the Phoenix Zoo. They have a nice lake that was covered with birds who had all learned that humans are a source of food. All you had to do was walk to the edge of the lake and they made a beeline to your feet.

In spite of that, I do like the detail in the shots and plan on using these photos with my students in their annual "What bird is this?" test.

We have just started to see ducks moving into this part of Minnesota in numbers recently. Lakes are beginning to open and the next 2-3 weeks should be very good for waterfowl viewing.

One bird that we rarely see here in the Twin Cities area is the Common Moorhen. It's close relative the American Coot is showing up everywhere right now.

Finally, this is a Neotropic Cormorant (thanks Sean!) whose cousin the Double-crested Cormorant we see a lot but I always get a kick out of their wing drying behavior. It reminds me of when my boys were young and they would run around the house with a towel around their neck as a cape. There has to be some kind of superhero reference in here somewhere...

1 comment:

Sean Fitzgerald said...

The cormorant photo is actually of a Neotropic Cormorant (base of the beak tapers to a point below the eye, white edging at the base of the beak, and the fact that the facial skin patch doesn't extend up to include the eye), so depending on where you're from you may see it alot, but I doubt the Twin Cities see that species in droves!
Great shots of those waterbirds, it really is a treat (from a photography perspective) when birds are more acclimated to humans and close approach doesn't disturb them!