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Piping Plovers and Least Tern ~ A Story

Discussion in 'Birds' started by jfenton, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    All images were shot with a Nikon D2Xs, 500 AFSII, both with and without a TC14EII converter.

    I'm shooting plovers, terns and other shorebirds down in Plymouth MA this summer (weekends only unfortunately) and my wife and I headed down for our first trip this past Friday.

    Upon out arrival, we were welcomed with severe thunderstorms....really neat actually as the house we're shooting from is right on the beach.

    The rain ended and with the few moments of sun which remained, I headed down the dune path to find the source of the peeping I could barely hear and found this rather damp little beauty standing nearby it's nest....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/7.1    1/180s    ISO 500

    The next morning I was up as the sun rose over the ocean and found a plover happily incubating the three eggs which I had seen the evening before.

    I sat on the sand, quietly to observe......

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/7.1    1/125s    ISO 250

    With another thunderstorm nearby, the morning light was very changeable...and I was a bit nervous, but sat tight as I still had somewhat clear skies above me.

    With much screeching, this least tern landed mere feet in front of me and not far from the plover nest.....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/7.1    1/320s    ISO 250

    Immediately, the plover on the nest and another nearby, likely it's mate, started working their way away from the nest to draw attention from it as the least tern seemed really intent on trying to sit on the nest itself.....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/7.1    1/500s    ISO 320

    The tern kept circling the nest and the plovers got a bit more frantic and began with a little broken wing display to garner it's attenton....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    ISO 320

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1500s    ISO 320

    When that didn't work things got a bit more agressive....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    ISO 320

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1500s    ISO 320

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/1500s    ISO 320

    As fast as it began it was over....the tern still looking a bit confused...

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    500mm    f/6.3    1/1000s    ISO 160

    One of the plovers happily back incubating their eggs....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    500mm    f/8.0    1/640s    ISO 160

    And finally...the tern settled onto it's rightful nest which it was obviously confused about, as it was a mere three feet from that of the plovers :) 

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    500mm    f/7.1    1/800s    ISO 200

    By the way...a bit later in the day, I managed to catch the plovers on some fly bys as they flew to and from the nest to feed.....

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/2000s    ISO 320

    NIKON D2Xs    ---    700mm    f/8.0    1/2000s    ISO 320
  2. rbsmith


    Apr 13, 2005
    Saltillo, Ms
    All great shots. On the flight shots. All I can say is Wow.
  3. Unbelievably awesome documentation Jim! Oh yeah, and the images are stunning too! :biggrin: Great captures.
  4. A very interesting story, and very beautiful photos!! :smile:
  5. Stunning Jim! Piping Plovers are very carefully protected on the VA eastern shore as there are only about 300 nesting pairs on Assateague Island. Noone can get close. This group is as good as I've seen of them my friend.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2007
  6. Glacier


    Jan 17, 2006
    Boaz, Alabama
    I'm in awe of these images Jim! Great work!
  7. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Simply unbelievable Jim (to paraphrase Ziggy). :smile:
  8. Pixelographer


    Dec 22, 2006
    Nice work, Jim!
    How far away? Using a hide?
  9. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Very cool, great images.
  10. Great series - tells a wonderful story - you know my favorites are those last two!
  11. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hello Pixelographer

    I've never used a blind or hide as you folks call it.

    I simply move slowly, allow the dreatures I shoot to aclimate to me and observe / photograph them as they go about their buisness.
  12. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Thanks to All

    I'm glad that I was able to share this opportunity with all of you :) 
  13. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Wonderful wonderful wonderful

    Going to miss you down here this week. Space shuttle launch friday night
    Mike mac and harry and harris going to St Augustine.

    Well maybe next year.
    Sure miss ya
  14. Didn't need any words Jim, the photographs tell the story. Your work continues to amaze me!
  15. TimK


    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    WOW! Thanks for the wonderful photos and story, Jim. Now show us the flying terns next time!
  16. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    The Flying Terns

    And the breeding tern sequences are on tap for his evening :) 
  17. Jim, an outstanding job with these captures and what a documentary.

  18. OUSTANDING, Jim!!! What incredibly beautiful images, and a great story. The interaction of creatures is amazing to watch. :smile:
  19. Nice work Jim! And sounds like you had fun...
  20. Jim,

    I really enjoyed your photo-narrative and the images, well, as usual, they are simply Outstanding! The next to the last is extraordinary!
    Thanks for the link!

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