Thursday, February 26, 2009


I was out driving along the East Gloucester coast last week and ran into a group of birders visiting Gloucester from New Jersey. Mind you, I used to be a high powered birder and a bird photographer, so I know about the green grass on both sides of the fence. They were excited to see our winter birds and asked me if I saw the Ivory Gull that was all the rage, (nope), the King Eider down by the Elks Club, (nope), the Thick Billed Muir seem inside the harbor (nope, that would be a l-o-n-g shot.)

I was very pleased to see these people up here birding and was happy to have a chat with them. They showed me the Black Guillemonts in their scope and a Red-necked Grebe that was about ¼ mile out. The grebe was a Massachusetts bird for me and the Black Guillemont was the second time I’ve seen them. I was tickled pink to have them come all the way to Cape Ann to see my Eiders. I just didn’t have the heart to tell them I was off to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time…Shoot Gadwall. Would they have understood? Maybe.

I had spent three hours at Eastern Point the day before shooting Gadwall and I was about to spend another three hours that day. Why? Because it gives me a sense of purpose to go sit on a rock and just watch ducks.

But why Gadwall, Steve, you’ve been birding since Moses was in the third grade? Well, look at how beautiful these ducks are. How could I not spend six hours of my life sitting on a rock admiring them?

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Gadwall ©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Later that morning, I did happen by the Elks Club again. That is when I photographed the Great Black-backed gull by the surf. I was looking out over the ocean with my spotting scope and saw the weirdest juvenile Common Eider I've ever seen. Opening my bird book, which I rarely bring with me any more, it was indeed a King Eider. You see, I still get excited.


Eve said...

I'm so glad you took the time to Shoot these beauties! Can't wait for the next post!!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Thank you so much for your comments and the link to your shots of the yellow rumped warbler. Beautiful shots. One of these days I'll be able to invest in a camera and a zoom that will allow me closer shots. I've been browsing your photos and think they're all wonder. Love this duck. The feather patterns are amazing.

And I'm so glad you like my music. Was hoping to give a taste of why I'm "2sweetnsaxy" without turning off anyone with music on my page. :-)

Jenny said...

Beautiful shots Steve. We have Gadwall over here too and I think there are a way underestimated Duck full of subtle beauty of plumage.

The Early Birder said...

Steve, I agree with Jenny & can fully understand why you would spend time capturing this underated but beautiful Duck rather than chasing another "tick". I often marvel at the subtle silver-grey colours particularly when seen magnified thro' my scope.


Beautiful shots! Cannot believe the patterns in the feathers! I have a lake near by with lots of different birds. I visit the lake often - but I am just lucky when I get a good shot! So - you can count me in for more visits to see these lovely birds on your blog!

matthew houskeeper said...

Beautiful photos.

Mary said...

Absolutely. They are worth watching. You said, "you used to be a high powered photographer." Hey, you still are!


Kelly said...

Spending six hours on a rock watching any duck would be heaven. I'd like to bring my sketchpad too. Beautiful and artistic shots. I always love your posts.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That is probably one of the most relaxing ways you could have spent a morning Steve. :)

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