two weeks ago, the Laughing Gulls are a month behind thanks to a spring tide that washed out most of their nests. A very few juvenile Laughers have been seen flying around, following parents away from the salt marsh colonies east of Wildwood and Stone Harbor, but most, like these youngsters, have not finished growing in their flight feathers and are capable of only short flights. These were among the many, many young gulls that have moved to the edge of salt marsh island nesting colonies, preparing for even bigger moves in the coming weeks. Photo taken near Taylor's Sound, Cape May County, NJ, Sunday, August 12 2012. All the photos in this post are from the same place and day.]
Periodically someone will ask me how I got a particularly nice photo, often with the implication of or at least query about the camera gear involved. And yeah, I've got a decent camera, but it's not pro level. And I've invested a ton of time (see Malcom Gladwell's Outliers about the "10,000 hours" principle) learning how to use it. But ultimately, when it comes to any photography, particularly nature photography, it's about "access," as my friend and real pro photographer Scott Whittle puts it. If you want good photos, or better, simply good looks at cool birds, you've got to put yourself where they are. And here in south Jersey, Cape May County in summer in particular, there is no better way to do that than by kayak.
Okay, here's the polemic, a word and approach derived from the late, great Edward Abbey. Motorized watercraft have a place - in big water, bays, offshore, for fishing, for birding pelagics, all fine. For roaring around the sounds, channels and guts of the back bay? NO! Stay the f--k out, please. Go ride the rides at Wildwood if you must have something other than your own muscles give you a thrill.
There, I told you it would be brief.
Osprey under the care and direction of Captain Bob Lubberman and guide/mate Dave Lord. The guys and their passengers passed us today on their morning sail, a birding cruise worth taking.]