We loved this comment and question from Candy Krewer of Montana:
“I am a beginner birder and love to try to photograph birds. The Great Blue Heron is a current favorite since it’s a large target, often standing still! I also have a LBB (little brown bird) as a regular on my list. Please tell me more about what birds you are following.”
If you’re learning to take pictures of birds, you can’t go wrong with a Great Blue Heron. Big shorebirds were also among our favorites when Anders and I got hooked on birding five years ago, and we love them still. The herons and egrets often fish in the same spot for long stretches, and when they take to the sky, it’s a sight to behold.
We’re currently in Florida for a few weeks, and so we’re surrounded by shorebirds. As to Candy’s query about what we’re following right now, the Roseate Spoonbill is my hands-down favorite. It’s pink and fluffy, funny and frilly — and it just makes me gasp every time we see one.
Did I mention photogenic? Anders heard about the Stick Marsh Critical Wildlife Area near Melbourne, Fla., where there are two protected islands stuffed with nesting Spoonbills. So last week we set out to find them. Even shooting in the “wrong” afternoon light, I think the photos Anders got were stunning. We’ll definitely go back at dawn. (The Stick Marsh site is adjacent to the T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area. Click here for more information.)
As for other “Beginner Birds” that keep still and are big enough to shoot, woodpeckers are tough to beat. It’s hard to know if we’re following them or they’re following us. Woodpeckers make a lot of noise (so you can find them), and some species, like the Red-bellied, are common. Once alight on a suitable tree, they tend to stay put and peck away.