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Random Hummers… And a Dream Shot

On a recent assignment to document some of the smaller creatures around a friend’s property, I noticed an unnatural number of hummingbirds present. we counted twelve species in under 24 hours! I had arrived there with butterflies on my mind, but couldn’t stop myself from aiming at these marvelous little jewels.

Forever eluding me, three Long-billed Starthroats were mixing in with the similar sized Black-throated Mango – at first glance I didn’t believe my eyes, I sort of locked up – as this is a species that has given me the cold shoulder for a number of years. But this one gave me ample views of its exceptionally elongated bill!

long billed starthroat

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for a split second, this male Long-billed Starthroat flashed bright blue as a rival male buzzed past.

long billed starthroat-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

The small and often overlooked Blue-chinned Sapphire always puts on a show, I never tire of this species as it occupies my favourite band of the visible spectrum.

blue chinned sapphire-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High above, a large male Green-thoated Mango – a most uncommon sight for lowland forest as this is typically a mangrove specialist – flashed his bright green throat at me.

green throated mango

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All three of our hermit species were recorded – this Rufous-breasted Hermit perched nearby as the light was falling rapidly, as it tends to do in the forest. I don’t usually see this species perched, so I pushed pedal to the metal and created this image at what I thought was a mind-bending 1/15th of a second.

rufous breasted hermit-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I noticed a Striated Heron moving in the small river a little distance away. With the unseasonal December rains the pond was filled to the brim, and all waterways were swollen and turbulent. As the bird carefully moved through the fast flowing water, I smiled. This was an image I had long dreamed about. The contrast between the stillness of the predator and the impatience of the water to get by. A perfect mix of two completely opposing elements. To achieve this, the water would have to be blurred in camera, with the heron remaining pin sharp. Which meant, yeah you guessed it – slow shutter. I’d say piece of cake, but it definitely wasn’t. I was sweating by the time I was finished, and even then was unsure that I had completely nailed it, at 1/13th of a second. Fortunately, I did get the shot. With a few leaves helping to frame my subject perfectly, this is one of my favourite images of 2016.

striated heron in moving water