The Puffins of Eastern Egg Rock Island

A recent trip to Boothbay Harbor in Maine provided my wife and me with the opportunity for a boat trip to Eastern Egg Rock Island, an Audubon Society run sanctuary for Atlantic Puffins. The day was beautiful, a little cool out in the ocean, but more important was the number of Puffins that made themselves available to us to photograph.  They are uniquely colorful looking creatures, only about ten inches in length.

No one is allowed to land on the island, except for Audubon employees and volunteers, so we had to shoot from the boat. Subsequently, the distance and the rocking of the boat made photographing a bit challenging at times. Still, with a little bit of luck and assistance from the Puffins, we got the shots.

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Feeding the Kids

I had to crop these photos quite a bit because this family of Anhingas were well back from our path and the trees and brush did not give me a clear shot. I used a 300mm lens but I really needed more like a 500mm or 600mm. Photographed at the Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg.

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Egret in Black and White

I photographed this egret at a nearby rookery a few years back and never did anything with it. Like so many photos, as you continue to shoot more and more, older works sometimes get buried and forgotten about. Originally shot in color, I finally decided it worked better as a black and white. Here is the final results.

You can see more of my work by clicking on John Greco Photography.

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Sandhill Cranes Up Close

Living in Florida I see Sandhill Cranes just about every day; many times in my backyard. On trips to one of my favorite places, Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico, there can be thousands of them, if your are there at the right time, in the Fall as they head South from Western Northern States for the winter. However, this friendly fellow was photographed Vancouver, British Columbia back in 2015. They are big birds with wings spans of approximately 5 feet (females) to well over 6 feet (males). sandhill-crane-upclose-cw-final2-1-of-1

 

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Photographing at Circle B Bar Reserve

Last week my wife and I did an overnight trip to Lakeland. What’s in Lakeland, you ask? For us it’s the Circle B Bar Reserve, a 1,267 acre refuge filled with a variety of wildlife. A haven for photographer’s. The reserve, now owned by Polk county, was previously a privately owned cattle ranch. According to a pamphlet I picked up upon our arrival the property was originally “a wet area connected to Lake Hancock.” This was way back in 1927. During the next 70 years the wetlands was drained to make it more conducive to cattle ranching. In 2000,  Polk county acquired the property and began to convert the land back to its natural landscape.

Anhinga  Lunch1-CW-3184One of the many birds we came across during our time there was the Anhinga. It’s a fairly large bird, about 35 inches in height, that is mainly found in South America, Central America and the Southern Coastal United States. Many times you will find them along the coastal waters with their wings spread out drying them in the sun. Like Cormorants, which they resemble, Anhinga’s are water birds, however,  lacking oil glands they are not waterproof. Subsequently, after swimming in the water they need to dry off their wings otherwise they would not be able to fly.

On this most recent trip of ours we found one particular Anhinga ready for lunch. He had a fish already in his long beak when we first spotted him. What was fascinating  was how  he began to literally beat the fish to death by smashing it against a tree branch. We arrived just in time to watch and photograph the ritual. It was captivating to watch, though sad and painful for the  fish. I wanted to both photograph and shoot a video of the activity but naturally  could only do one. Below are some of the photos I took.

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