Great Blue Surfside



"Great Blue Surfside"
This photograph is from my "Avian Florida" Collection. 

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There is a steady breeze blowing along the northern end of an island just south of Tampa Bay, Florida.  The dark blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico are calm, with slow short waves breaking on the tan colored sand.  In the distance, among the heat shimmering across the beach, I see a tall bird slowly making his way toward me.

With my Canon 1D Mark II hanging from a Black Rapid Strap, I begin walking toward the bird to get a closer view, but I soon realize, that as I move his direction, he starts moving away.  Obviously, this is not going to be an effective strategy to photograph him.

This is where many years of understanding bird behavior pays off.  Often times, shorebirds and wading birds are intimidated by a person standing up.  Perhaps it is just an innate defense mechanism built into them from the beginning of creation.  I do not know.  With a bird like this, it is best to lay down on your belly and wait.

Sure enough, almost as soon as I got down on my stomach, the heron began to approach. Once he broke 30 yards, I began shooting.  He now could see I was no threat to him and walked right past me, only about 10 yards away.  It was a great opportunity to photograph such a magnificent bird in such a beautiful setting.

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