I realized that, while many of the photos I have set aside for this topic are of birds and thus I was trying to space them out, so far I’ve only featured one bird for the topic, so I better start using some of them.
This week, our opening image comes from Florida in September 1999, and is the first wood stork (Mycteria americana) photo that I obtained – I hadn’t even seen one on multiple earlier trips, except perhaps at too great a distance to identify. A little trivia: herons and egrets fly with neck retracted, all tucked in, so their shape in the air has a small point to the front with the legs trailing out behind, while wood storks fly with neck fully extended and appear as a cross – makes it easier to differentiate. That, and the black tips and trailing edges of the wings, very distinctive. I may not have known these at the time of this sighting though, so as I said, I might have seen one without being sure of it. Anyway, this one was near the roadside, and I pulled over and shot from the car out the passenger window, which is why there’s a dark grey blur across the bottom of the frame. I don’t recall trying to get out of the car and there are no further slides of it in the file pages, so either I never attempted, or I did and the bird flew off. I’ve known for decades that many species will ignore cars but immediately respond to someone getting out of one, and may simply not have tried. Or traffic might have prevented it. Or I was stupid. I don’t know.
Anyway, we now jump ahead nineteen years, to a trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Quite a bit closer now, and much more detailed, plus I have a whole gallery of images just of this individual alone. Little credit to the equipment; the first was probably shot with the Canon 75-300, the basic non-stabilized model, while the second was shot with the Canon 100-300 L, also unstabilized, but optically superior. The primary difference was just the opportunity: in Georgia, I was in an area where the stork knew it could snag easy meals from the surf conditions (and also possibly from the fisherfolk who were there for the same reason,) and so the birds were accustomed to closer encounters because of their greed, gluttony, sloth, and probably a few other deadly sins that nonetheless helped them survive quite well – funny that.
Yet, I like the color register of the first image far more, and I’m putting this down to the coloration of the individual rather than the difference between slide film and digital image. Just have to keep trying to get a combination of the detail of the latter and the colors of the former, I guess. And that means more trips south, because the species doesn’t appear here in central NC. But then again, I need little motivation to go further south – mostly just the opportunity.