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Old Jan 22, 2010, 9:51 PM   #1
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Default Predator in the Pond (long thread)

As the first of the series of storms approached, we had a visitor to our back yard pond - in deep shade, of course. It evidently thought it had found a good thing - a pond full of Gambusia (Mosquito fish) all to itself. It must belong to the Snowy Egret colony that I profiled some time ago nesting and roosting in the little city park down the street, because it had no fear of people - bold as brass it was. K7 and the Tamron 70-300 LD. Terrible lighting, but at least the whites didn't blow out too badly in the shade.

It paid me no attention and went about its business until I got too close, and then it walked off and we played hide and seek around a clump of vegetation, before it flew up on the roof, where it felt safe, until I ran it off and went back inside.

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Last edited by penolta; Jan 22, 2010 at 10:56 PM.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 10:00 PM   #2
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I looked out the window a few minutes later and it was back, so I decided to get some more pictures, and we repeated the scenario.

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Last edited by penolta; Jan 22, 2010 at 10:15 PM.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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I finally decided to run it off for good, as it was running out of fish to catch, and we need them to keep down the mosquito population. When I looked out the window later, it was back again, doing a lot of looking, but not much catching.

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And it was back again the next morning, too. But the first of the storms began and it left, hopefully for good.
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Last edited by penolta; Jan 22, 2010 at 10:31 PM.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 10:05 PM   #4
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this is a great set.

the first portrait is really nice for the great contrast between the bird and the dark surroundings.
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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Wow! A wonderful set, and interesting commentary. I love the fishing pictures just because they are more unusual. Amazing how a bit of bad light can actually help with the picture.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 2:35 PM   #6
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Great use of a great photo opportunity! So your pond is now a bird feeder...

Great reflections in #9 & #10, wonderful composition in #1, but all are really fine! Thanks for sharing both the photos and the story behind them.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 5:40 PM   #7
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Wow, what a photo op!
#2 really made me laugh. You did good with the lighting situation.
Reminds me of the pond I built several years back. I stocked it with Koi and goldfish.
It did really well (some were over a foot long) until a GBH found it one day... lost over a hundred dollars worth of fish.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 6:47 PM   #8
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Thanks Dustin, Harriet, Mole, and GW for looking and commenting. Glad you enjoyed my little saga.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mole View Post
Great use of a great photo opportunity! So your pond is now a bird feeder...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post
Wow, what a photo op!
#2 really made me laugh. You did good with the lighting situation.
Reminds me of the pond I built several years back. I stocked it with Koi and goldfish.
It did really well (some were over a foot long) until a GBH found it one day... lost over a hundred dollars worth of fish.
Our pond has been a bird feeder for some time - the Black-crowned Night Herons cleaned us out of Koi and Goldfish long ago, and we just gave up on replacing them. Cats and Raccoons fish in it too. This Snowy is not the first we have had, and we have had Green Herons and a GBH as well. These birds are surprisingly adaptable to urban living. Night Herons even have communal roosts in trees in peoples yards - they are noisy and smelly and very unpopular.

As for #2 (and also #5, which I thought amusing, too), Snowys, being small, have to keep a wary eye out for larger predators from above.
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Last edited by penolta; Jan 23, 2010 at 6:49 PM.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 7:36 PM   #9
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Hi penolta,

Very Nice series!!!!

For white guys like this, being in shadow has its benefits. It's so easy to blow some highlights when there's any direct sun. . .

Do you know if anyone's come up with a possible explanation for their yellow feet? I've always found them funny. Maybe they can attract fish by wiggling a toe above the silt. . . I've seen a Green Heron drop little sticks into the water, and assumed it was to lure fish to come closer. I also noticed on two shots that the back of at least one leg is yellow -- is this usual for Snowys, or is it a sign of transition between juvie and adult coloration?

My favorite is #2 for the expression, and I like the reflection shots -- I always try to get at least a couple, but it's rare for me to see such still water.

In a way, I'm surprised that herons have acclimated so well to urban environments. I've lived in the Chicago Metro area for the great bulk of my now 60 years, and can't remember seeing even one for the first 55 -- then I started shooting birds, and now see GBH, Great Egrets, Green Herons, and BCNH everywhere, either flying overhead or hanging around ponds. No doubt, a case of inattention on my part. . . but I'm not alone -- most of the people I show my pics to ask how far I had to travel to get the shots, and they're shocked that most were from local ponds. Too bad I'm out of range for most of the other species, but I feel lucky that we get as many herons as we do around here. . .

It must have been conflicting seeing this guy eating your fish. . . and wanting to get some shots of the process -- I'm glad I don't have this problem. . .

Scott
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 7:39 PM   #10
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Lucky you for having a beautiful snowy in your yard. A lot nicer than the snowy that I have in mine right now. LOL

Nice shooting. There is something magical and elegant about these birds. You captured there grace nicely.

Lou

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