Monday, November 12, 2012

2010 Photographic Year in Review

Some old website stuff Iwanted to get back online:


The year: 2010

In pictures

The year started out right.  I traveled to Newfoundland pretty much right away, and had a fantastic 7-ish weeks of birding and photography!

I traveled to Newfoundland for a few reasons, but it was mainly for the gulls. Slaty-backed Gull was a nemesis bird for me in Ontario, but I found and photographed this stunning bird within 2 weeks of being in St. John's.

Another reason why birders travel to St. John's - the Yellow-legged Gull. This bird gave me the slip more than a few times during my adventure, but I was eventually able to get it. With 2 of 3 species down, I wanted Ivory Gull photos to complete the trifecta of desired gulls.

European ducks in Newfoundland did not dissapoint. 30+ Tufted Ducks spent the winter in St. John's and were amazing photography subjects.

I'd always told anyone who would listen: I would photograph more mammals if we had interesting mammals to photograph! (in southern Ontario)... I had no idea how true that statement was until I got to Newfoundland - this particular day I took hundreds of pictures of Caribou and Seals, but no birds.

Seals were "life mammals" for me during the trip. I had managed good looks at Gray, Harbour and Harp before finally getting some awesome chances with 2 Bearded Seals on Valentine's Day. It was a calm day, and I had no idea a massive storm was thrashing the northern penninsula at the time. Over the next few days, word of my last target species (Ivory Gull) started spreading.

Instead of re-telling the story here, (it's long). Have a look at my archived "blog" postings about my Newfoundland Trip here. Scroll down to Feb 14/15 - it was an amazing adventure. (posts were lost --- the short of it was 116 Ivory Gulls in 7 days!)

One of the best (and worst) days of my life - at once! I missed what would have easily been some of the best pictures of my life, but just having the chance to see a Gyrfalcon take an adult Ivory Gull was incredible. It caught the bird 30-40 feet away from me! But I didn't have my Camera! This picture started a chain reaction that got my Newfoundland "blog" visited by people all around the world.

The final tally: 5 Gyrfalcon and 118 Ivory Gulls in a magical week to end my Newfoundland adventure. It was better than I could have ever imagined. Have a look at the Ivory Gull page for more pictures taken while up there!

How does one match a trip to Newfoundland? I hardly thought about taking pictures for the next few weeks after returning home - what could compare? Well Jenn was on the case, and by mid-April she had us travelling to Bermuda (of all places) for one of the best adventures of my life. Weighing baby Bermuda Petrels was a lot of fun, but my photographic eye couldn't look away from the abundant White-tailed Tropicbirds there!

My spring could probably be split into two categories. The above image is category A - WORK! I had a lot of fun doing some exciting work this spring, but it usualy doesn't leave me with much energy to take pictures. This was a "lucky grab" shot while conducting surveys! A species I always wanted, but never had - the Whip-poor-will.

Category 2 of the spring: Not finding much. I birded an average of 6.33 days per week from April 21st to May 21st and didn't find anything "good". It actually started to get me down! I had some time to "chase" rarities found by others, something I don't always do, but Kirtland's Warblers are hard to ignore. I ended up with 3 for the year!

June was spent doing what I always do - working pretty much every single day. Thankfully I found a very photogenic Red Fox family at my busiest work site, which allowed me to get some personal photo time to myself several evenings. 

2010 was the second season of Zodiac adventures, and the weather cooperated perfectly for several days early in the season. I think I ended up with 11 Long-tailed Jaegers on the season, including this interesting juvenile. We were thrilled to see that Long-tailed Jaegers would routinely come close to the boat for prolonged periods as we chummed with bread. 

We also had our first luck with "finding" Jaegers with this adult Parasitic. My Dad used his expert boat-handling skills to get us within feet of this stunning adult Parsitic Jaeger - which we found floating alone - a dozen kilometers offshore of Grimsby! 

All of that was fun and very exciting, but we blew the roof off when this adult Long-tailed Jaeger arrived at our boat one September afternoon with two juveniles. They proceeded to put on a close-range display that was better than I would have ever thought possible (for over an hour!) 

As the year winded down, we were not able to get in the zodiac very much. So I turned my attention to the far north (where I had never been before) and went to Netitishi Point with Alan Wormington! What can be said? We saw more rarities than I would have though possible including Dovekie, Pacific Loon, Pomarine Jaegers, Kittiwakes, Gyrfalcons and the above photo - Ontarios first "Sooty/Short-tailed Shearwater" !!!

Netitishi also provided some very unexpected "quality" photo ops - mainly thanks to some Ringed Seals! This was a "life mammal" for me, and with some effort, I was able to get very close to a few individuals. This youngster was especially cooperative and posed for dozens of head shots one afternoon!

2010 was a pretty exciting year for me, and hopefully 2011 keeps up the pace!


  1. Hey,
    Planing a trip to Newfoundland this year ?
    I'm 16 and big into bird photography here in st.johns.


    1. No trips to NL this winter for me, but hopefully again sometime!!

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