Welcome to the blog for David Douglas Photography
Here I will post photos and information from recent photo excursions. When home in central Florida I can usually be found at Circle B Bar Reserve photographing birds and local wildlife. Each year I try to spend several months traveling, especially to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. I hope you enjoy my blog posts and I invite you to subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts.
Between travel and a major home remodel I'm running a little late on looking back at 2016. It is always rewarding to take a look back over time to relive some of the photographic opportunities I've had and also to see how I've grown as a photographer. Here are some of my favorites from 2016.
I'll start with my second winter trip to Yellowstone in January. One of my most memorable wildlife experiences of all times was with this young bobcat. I followed it's tracks into the woods near Roosevelt cabins. As I stood in the silence looking around it appeared and just sat there for a few moments. It was certainly a lot calmer than I was at the moment. I entered this photo in the Yellowstone Forever Photo Contest and placed in the top 100 out of 11,000 entries. To top it off my little bobcat will be on the cover of their publication released in May. Yellowstone Forever
Another look as it turned to say Goodbye.
Back home in Florida, spring is always an exciting time as new babies are arriving. Here a Sandhill Crane enjoys some quiet time with her two small colts.
Spring 2016 was great for photographing babies. Here a male pileated woodpecker checks on his offspring. We also had nesting barred and great horned owls at our local Circle B Bar Reserve.
Owls are always one of my favorites. Here a pair of barn owls rest in the shade of an oak tree.
At our local wetlands reserve, Circle B, there are a few bobcat but they are very elusive and rarely seen. One morning I got a text from photog friend Bill Little that a young bobcat was resting in a tree just off the main trail. I grabbed a camera, hopped in the car and to my pleasant surprise it was still there.
In August I made my second trip to Alaska spending a week at Lake Clark National Park and another week between Homer and Seward. Here a mother brown bear and yearling cub are clamming at low tide.
Brown bear mom nursing her three cubs.
Two cubs play fighting over a clam shell. This photo was published as part of the Daily Dozen on NationalGeographic.com.
Chasing a silver salmon in Silver Salmon Creek, and yes she did catch it.
Alaskan bald eagle with an attitude photographed along the coast at Anchor Point, AK.
What would a trip to Alaska be without a moose. This large bull was photographed at Beluga Wetlands near Homer, AK.
2016 was certainly a rewarding year both in personal enjoyment and recognition. 2017 is off to a great start with a trip to Yellowstone in January. I'll be returning to YNP in May for an extended stay followed by a visit to parks in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. If you'd like to come along with me you can follow me on Facebook .
As 2015 comes to an end I've taken a look back over the year and selected ten favorite photos that remind me of some of the fun photographic experiences of 2015.
Winter in Florida is all about birds. I am fortunate to have the Circle Bar B Wetlands Reserve right in my back yard and spend many hours there during the migration months. The following photo is a Great Blue Heron nest. This nest is close to a trail and we were able to follow the pair from courtship to the chicks fledging from the nest.
With the new camper I was able to make several trips over to Fort Desoto Park, a county park in Pinnellas County on the Gulf of Mexico. A popular attraction for photographers is a Redish Egret (known as Big Red) that is a permanent resident on the north beach. The upswept wings provide shade over the water to help better spot small fish. As he hunts you might imagine he is dancing to a tune.
As most of you know each spring I try to visit Yellowstone in hopes of finding many new bear cubs as they emerge from their winter naps. I was especially excited to learn a grizzly known to photographers as Blase had emerged with two new cubs. We were fortunate that on our first day in the park she and the two cubs were near the road at Mary Bay on Lake Yellowstone. This is one of my favorite photos from that day.
We also had the good fortune to have several photo opportunities with a mother Black Bear and her two 2nd year cubs. One of these was a wonderful cinnamon colored cub, seen here.
One early morning as we drove along the shore of Lake Yellowstone we spotted a flock of Avocets. The morning light was perfect and they were most cooperative. What a beautiful bird.
Spring is the time for new arrivals and these two Pronghorn twins were spotted in Little America. Mom was close by keeping a watchful eye. This is a very close crop as they were some distance out.
During one of our drives out to the Lamar Vally we found this new born Bison calf, just hours old. It is amazing how quickly they are up on their legs and able to travel along beside mom as the herd moves.
Every spring since 2009 I look forward to finding the Great Horned Owl nest near the Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs. Here are this years two owlets keeping a watchful eye on me.
Summer has traditionally been slow for me, but this year I made several trips over to Melbourne, FL and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. This 20 mile stretch of Atlantic coastline is prime nesting area for sea turtles; Greens, Loggerheads, Leatherback and Hawksbill. Here is a Green Turtle returning to the sea after laying her eggs. A big thank you to Ursula Dubrick for her guidance and education on these fascinating creatures. More turtles can be seen here on her web page.
That brings me back home to the Circle Bar B Reserve in the fall of 2015. We have several nesting pair of Eagles at the Reserve. One pair that we have observed for several years have yet to produce offspring. This year they have started a new nest so hopefully this will be their year. Here the male carries in a large limb as they construct the new nest.
Now looking forward to 2016 with trips planned for Yellowstone in winter, back to Yellowstone for spring and then Alaska in late summer. In between will be local outings to Circle B, Fort Desoto Park, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and many more.
Thanks for following my Blog. I leave you with this quote from John Muir.
"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
Early Sunday morning Bill Little and I visited Archie Carr NWR in hopes of seeing nesting turtles and turtle hatchlings. As we walked along the beach we saw several people ahead slowly walking toward the water. As we neared them we found them following a small hatchling just entering the water. One of the ladies was Ursula Dubrick a fellow photographer from Melbourne. Ursula was a wonderful resource in learning about Archie Carr. Ursula's photographs can be found at http://www.udubrickphotos.com and she frequently posts on Facebook. As we continued down the beach we spotted a Loggerhead returning to the ocean from her nest. With the sun just rising and blue skies it was a magical moment to watch this exhausted turtle make her way back to the sea.
The loggerhead is the world's second largest turtle with average weight of 180 to 400 lbs and a length range of 28 to 37 inches. They have a wide distribution inhabiting the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Loggerheads will first reproduce around the age of 28 - 33 yrs., and have an average lifespan in the wild of 47 - 67 yrs.
Along the Florida coast the loggerhead nesting season is from May through August. Females return to near the beach where they hatched. They exit the water, climb the beach, and scrape away the surface sand to form a body pit. With their hind limbs, they excavate an egg chamber in which the eggs are deposited. The females then cover the egg chamber and body pit with sand, and finally return to the sea. This process takes one to two hours, and occurs in open sand areas or on top of sand dunes. The average clutch size is 112 eggs.
In the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service classify them as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Fishing gear is the biggest threat to loggerheads in the open ocean. They often become entangled in longlines or gillnets. Another major problem for turtles is ingesting floating plastic debris such as bags, balloons, fishing line, etc. It is estimated that as many as 24,000 metric tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans each year.
The following two photos are of the second loggerhead we observed that morning. When we found this lady she was still buried in the sand and sea grasses laying eggs. We could actually see her dropping eggs into the nest cavity before she carefully covered the nest. Here she starts her journey back to the sea.
She finally reaches water and returns to the open sea.
While photographing this lady we did see a third loggerhead returning to the ocean further south from our location. While these were both loggerheads; green turtles also nest along the coast. I hope to return soon and see more of these wonderful creatures.
A big thanks to Bill Little for arranging this trip. Bill can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BillLittlePhoto and also at http://www.billlittlephotography.com
Thanks for viewing my blog!
One of the highlights of my recent camping trip to Fort Desoto Park was watching the antics of the Reddish Egret known to locals as "Big Red". The Reddish Egret is a medium size heron making its home in Central America, the Caribbean, and the gulf coast of the US and Mexico. In the US most of the estimated 1,500 nesting pair are found in Texas where it is classified as "threatened".
The reddish egret is considered one of the most active herons, and is often seen on the move. It stalks its prey visually in shallow water far more actively than other herons and egrets, frequently running energetically and using the shadow of its wings to reduce glare on the water once it is in position to spear a fish; the result is a fascinating dance. Due to its bold, rapacious yet graceful feeding behavior, author Pete Dunne nicknamed the reddish egret "the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Flats".
Late one afternoon I made my way to the North Beach Lagoon to find Big Red and hopefully photograph him in the golden light of sunset. After some time I found him near the shore and positioned myself in the water with sun setting behind me. With only about 20 minutes till sunset, Big Red did not disappoint, putting on a real show.
Thanks for visiting and if you enjoy these photos please share,
Fort Desoto Park is a favorite destination for campers and beach goers in central Florida. It is a favorite stop over for snow-bird campers escaping the cold and snow. It is also a wonderful photographic destination for many varieties of shore and wading birds as well as a resident pair of Great Horned Owls that I first photographed last year. A day trip was planned several weeks ago to photograph the owlets in the nest. The pair had moved from their nesting location of several years near the beach to a more wooded and secluded location. We found the two owlets in a small nest atop a dead palm tree as seen in this photo.
After the one day trip I planned a 5 day camping trip to Fort Desoto. Photography friend Bill Little joined me for two days. Once we arrived we found the owlets had fledged from the nest during a storm. For several days we could only find the male of the pair but got many photos of him in different lighting conditions.
It wasn't until my final full day that I located mom and both kids. I first found dad in the same general area as previously. I went back to the nest location and began searching about a 50 yard radius from there. I first located mom and one of the kids high in a pine tree but no sign of the other kid. The photo below is that owlet but mom was too well hidden for photos.
I decided to continue searching for the other kid and finally located it in a tree about 25 yards from the mom and kid.
If you are ever in the area Fort Desoto is worth the visit; white sand beaches, kayaking, fishing and over 320 documented species of birds. Another popular photograph subject is known as "Big Red", a Reddish Egret that frequents the North Beach lagoon. More on Big Red in my next post.
We plan to return to Fort Desoto in April for the song bird migration as they stop over here during their return north from Mexico and South America.
All photos shown here were taken with a long telephoto lens and 1.4x extender for a combined 700 mm to hopefully minimize any disruption to the owls.
As always thanks for visiting and please share with friends.
© David Douglas Photography