Watching Canada Geese come and go on water is a photographic challenge because they do it more quickly than the other two birds pictured — Skimmer gull (ABOVE) and, especially, the White Egret (second picture BELOW).
The Skimmer sort of glides (skims) along as he scoops his beak down to snag a fish, then sprouts his wings to get up in the air with his prey. The fellow pictured here missed the fish he spotted and left to search elsewhere.
The White Egret is a very patient fishing machine. He will stand in one spot for many minutes at a time before he hops up and floats to another location a short distance away. He’s an easy photo op once his habits are learned.
Canada Geese do everything seemingly frantically as they approach, or leave the water, so their quick movements are hard to follow with amateur photography equipment.
These photos were all taken at the Maumee River near the bridge in Napoleon, Ohio.
The Great Blue Heron has an amazing take-off sequence. A wingspan of 77 to 82 inches flaps him into flight.
Involuntarily hitting the shutter on my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS with 40X Optical Zoom in different times — quickly, normally slowly, and abnormally slowly — I captured pictures of a Great Blue Heron in a patterned sequence of take-off and resulting flight.
(ABOVE): This is an incredibly lucky shot! The heron has used his skinny, long stick feet to push himself slightly forward and out of the water. (See the water dripping heavily down below him.) His wings are in the first take-off motion, with most of the wings in a flapped down position from which he is about to swing them upward to gain more lift.
(ABOVE): In the second flight sequence, the heron shoots his wings fully upward and folds his eight stick feet (four on each leg) closely together in preparation for lifting himself into full flight. His head and neck remain high, here, and his legs are dangling while his feet shake off water.
(ABOVE): Low over the river and pulling in his rudders (legs and feet) straight behind him, the heron has fully launched himself out of the water (third sequence) in a forward push. To give himself momentum and speed, he has lowered and leveled his wings.
At every take-off from the water, the Great Blue Heron uses the same basic three-part sequence to become airborne.
Every Spring, Summer, and Fall, flowers are placed in huge concrete containers at each end of both sides of the Napoleon bridge and in the designated circle in the “Veterans Park at the Bridge” located just off the Southwest side of the bridge.
Here are a few beautiful looks:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
This stubby little fellow seems to be seeking companionship. He usually travels in a flock!
I didn’t know exactly what type of bird he is and couldn’t find him in my bird book until a friend suggested he was an American Coot. And that he is! American Coots are more of a Southern bunch, so seeing this single fellow standing alone near the bridge in the Maumee River at Napoleon, Ohio, was quite the rarity.
Though stubby, this specimen can dive under water as far as 10 to 25 feet to find food, mostly seeds, roots, and leaves, as well as small fish.
Since I’m not very mobile and have limited equipment with which to work, I feel privileged to be able to get photos of a variety of birds. My saving convenience is that I live where a portion of the Maumee River passes right along-side the backyard of our apartment building in Napoleon, Ohio. Many birds pass through, too.
This particular photo is of a Great Blue Heron minnow-fishing at the North end of the bridge in Napoleon, then launching into the air. Because of a low cloud bank and a bright sun above it, the bird’s coloration is quite amazingly captured in its true hues, particularly in the launch stage.