Dharma’s Birds of Florida- update

For BIRD LOVERS and BIRD PHOTOGRAPHERS.  Use the link below to see “Dharma’s BIRDS of  FLORIDA” 

Click on each image to see the enlarged version.

These are pictures I took on my  trip to Florida in Nov 2017. I spent 1-2 days with each of our batch mates. Wimal and Iranthi in Marco Island, Sam and Kathy, Sarasota, Johnpulle  and Angela, Tampa, Devacaanthan and Thanam, Fort Myers. All of them went out of their way to cater to my craziness for bird photography. ( T  Not forgetting the gastronomical treat). A BIG thank you to all of them. Fortunate to go on “Photo safari” with Sam to a rookery, in Venice, Florida about 1 1/2 hour from Sam’s place. Sam has already put his rookery  pictures on our web. He wanted me to give my pictures also. But as usual, I was not ready until now. Some Pictures are for our web page. Others will be in the link below.  Did not want to  clutter the web page.

dharma’s BIRDS of FLORIDA.

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20 thoughts on “Dharma’s Birds of Florida- update”

  1. Thanks Dharma, for the beautiful pictures of birds.
    I am not a bird lover, but , I am certain,the pictures were able to transport the viewers in to the “Bird’s world”

    I do know, that capturing photos of birds in action,involves maximum effort.
    Capturing birds behaviour is more tougher, also you have captured the “Catch light” so birds look livelier, and not dull and lifeless.
    For the above reasons I will consider your bird photography to score 100%


  2. Thanks Dharma.Great pics.!You seem to have had a great time in Florida with friends as well as the birds( the feathered variety).You are lucky that you have another bird lover in Sam to have taken you to the rookery.The pictures are beautiful and is clearly a labour of love.I have two comments.
    1.The amateur photographers amongst us would like to know a little more about the camera, lens and aperture and speed settings especially when capturing birds in flight.
    2.You had a picture of a mocking bird.There are many songs about the bird , including “ mocking bird hill”. why is it called a mocking bird.?
    Photography is kinder to the amateur now, as we have given away the old 35 mm films.Now we can take as many as we like and delete them too if not to our liking.
    You and Sam have an interesting hobby.Keep the pics coming.Beautiful and informative.Eddie.


    1. HI Eddie- here is your answer to the Mocking Bird- why it is called a Mocking Bird- this is because it can mimic, imitate the sounds of many other birds, so much so, that at first I thought there were many birds out there, till I clued into what was going on !

      It can even mimic other sounds like even garden tools like chain saw, lawn mower, hammer hitting a nail, etc etc .
      Sounds crazy- but true- listen to some of its many sounds on google — even a dog bark can be imitated !

      It is like listening to a symphony- with many instruments making music !

      I had the most wonderful experience of listening to a Mocking Bird , a few years ago- in Phoenix and what a treat it was, and I sent pictures of that bird in flight against a clear blue sky, to Dharma some years ago .

      It also jumps up and down, landing on the same spot- with the same number of wing beats- so accurate, that I was able to predict it and set my little pocket cannon , and took the most awesome videos !
      This is one crazy birdie —All this to impress Lady Love !

      Eagledeepthie .


  3. Dear Dharma you are a genious with the camera lens

    The pictures you have depicted, are gold medal class

    To a guy like me, unaware of which end a camera works

    Can you start using Sam’s web site a photography class?

    I have been a long admirer of your photographic talents

    The subjects facing your camera seem highly disciplined

    Almost like well paid actors willingly playing their roles

    How do you get even vultures to behave on your demands?

    Once treated us with a set of photos from Yala, you took

    Either you must have a lorry load of patience or lot of luck

    The fact that you are a well disciplined, determined fellow

    Must be the reason for world class photos and no other trick

    We are immensley thankful to you for your deligence

    Also to few more maestros like Nisantha Sam & Deepthie

    With an expensive hobby to thrill mates of class sixty four

    Long may good health and the sharp focussing eye prosper



  4. HI Dharma- what a treat to look at your photos !- Next Stop Nat Geo !- Full Score of 100 !

    Yes, many , many thanks to all our pals in Florida- that took you along with lots of patience , while you took the photos ,.

    Having a good camera helps- but, to capture ‘the moment’ is a true photographic talent .

    The way you have named them, giving distinctive features helps a lot- . like The Sibley Field Guide to North American Birds !

    The photos seem to make the birds come Alive , jump out of the screen, and right into my soul, so to speak .

    I have some of your’s and Nisantha’s Yala trip bird and leopard photos. Leopard ( 2014 ) on my desk top Screen Saver.

    I will be in Florida on friday for a week ( 9th – 16th Feb ) – Sarasota with Sam and Marco Island with Wimal- and I hope to SEE birds, and to take pictures and not Photos !!!- with my pocket cannon .

    However, one bird I did not see in your Florida collection – Burrowing Owls of Marco Island — I am just dying to see one in Marco Is- as this is a protected species and Marco Is has the largest population of Burrowing Owls in N . America .
    Was it perhaps the time you were there that the owls did not come out ?
    February- is THE time to see Burrowing Owls- you must have something special to see, for your next visit !

    I am in Sedona , Arizona now, and y’day I had the most awesome One on One , 30 mins experience with a Bald Eagle– a divine moment for me .. Just eagledeepthie and Bald Eagle . on my First Day Out On The Land ..

    Today- Black Hawk- and I was thinking of you, when I saw it – perched on the same tree as in years past .
    Thanks again Dharma- it was worth the wait to see your photos and now I know, why it took soooo long – you have done a GREAT JOB !
    eagledeepthie .


  5. I forgot to mention- to all those who are interested in watching the goings on in an Bald Eagle Nest— there is an eagle cam at Fort Myers- with many cameras set up- to view a nest of Bald Eagles , on google .
    Dharma- I think, I recognized that Fort Myers, Eagle Cam Pine tree with the Bald Eagle .
    About 2 years ago, I watched the chick come out of the egg on Valentine Day- feb 14th .
    All this viewing done in February, Sedona- Arizona, with free wifi , that is a total luxory for me, living in rural Ontario, Canada !
    eagledeepthie .


  6. Beautiful Camera photography – A Follow up after X-ray photography.
    Bird watching – A Follow up after Bird Watching from the Bloemfontei Balcony !
    You are doing very well in both fields.


    1. Hey Seelan and Dharma– Birds from Bloem Balcony– I suppose the Two Legged Ones with NO Feathers !
      Seelan- I just LOVE your comment !
      Perfect Retirement Hobby for Radiologists – Photography- The Wild Ones I mean !


  7. Hi Dharma
    Fantastic collection of photos of birds. I now understand why you take so much time taking these photos. What happened to the photos you took on the fishing expedition in Alaska? Looks like you have some spare time getting your photos organised. Pl keep sending more


  8. Thank you Dharma . Beautiful pictures . Enjoyed watching them. Deepthi did not realise that a mocking bird can do all the imitations you mentioned. Very proud of the knowledge and talents of my batch mates.


    1. Thank you all, for your interest in birds and bird photography. Glad you liked them.
      Special thanks to Sam for putting the pictures nicely on our web site.

      I will try to answer some of the questions and comments posted.

      1. Yes, it takes patience, persistence, preparedness, and luck, lots of luck to get good pictures of birds. Once I had spent a lot time with birds, I can predict to some extent their next move and prepare for that shot.
      2. “Catch light “ is the reflection of a bright source of light in the eye, usually the sun or camera flash. To get this, I sometimes use a camera flash even though there is enough ambient light. The catch light does add to the “drama”. Glad you are aware of this concept.. I learned it not too long ago.
      3. Yes Edy, the digital era has made huge impact on photography. No films to buy. You must , of course buy the memory cards but they, unlike film, can be used over and over again. You don’t have to wait a week see the results. Now you review the result instantly and can make adjustments as needed. Also I can fire 30-40 shots for each pose and pick the best. Many times I “shoot first and ask questions later”. For this, I purchase high capacity and fast processing memory cards. They can be used again and again… . I also shoot 5 frames per second or more as a subtle change in bird pose will make a good picture a great one. Also can have “stop action” / “freeze”. Downside, you have to sort thru 100s of pictures to get one good one. Takes time, lots of time and concentration.
      4. In general, if you wish to “stop” birds in flight, you must use a fast shutter speed. 1/1000th of a second or faster. This will freeze the wing. Sometimes keeping the body sharp and wings blurred adds another dimension, especially humming birds. A slower speed will do that. Must experiment.

      5. The best way and used by professional is total manual setting. I am nowhere close to that, Sam is. I use ‘aperture priority’ for bird photography. I select an aperture, usually f 8, lowest ISO (Sensitivity) 100-400. Auto focus ( No time to be focusing on moving or fidgety bird) The sophisticated computer in the camera adjusts the exposure time and white balance. To stop motion, use exposure / Shutter speed mode and select shutter speed of 1/1000 or faster Of course I check the first few images to make the necessary adjustments to optimize the image mostly on the basis of available light. Flash can help. Yet, only few pictures are acceptable. Another important factor is Motion artifacts. Tremors due to senility and JW red, black and blue are a problem.
      6. As far as equipment, in general, quality of the equipment is directly proportional to the cost. I use a Nikon 810. for most bird photography, with a 50-500mm Sigma telephoto lens. I used this combination for all the Florida pictures. (Similar Nikon lenses are cost prohibitive.) The downside is the camera weighs 2lb and the lens 4lb. 6lb seems not a great weight, but if you carry it for hours, it feels like 60 or 600lb!! Also somewhat expensive for me on fixed income. Fortunately, to quote Rajan Rassiah, I am “skiing”- Spending Kids inheritance.
      7. You must have some computer program for storing and editing pictures. I use “Light room” for editing and storage in an external hard drive. I am unable master “Photoshop” in spite of multiple classes and video tutorials. “Hard to teach new tricks to this old dog.” Sam is good at it.
      8. I hope I addressed the points raised and I realize for most, this is TMI – too much information. My apologies.
      9. Re the mocking bird, I saw it near Wimals place only for few seconds. Did not hear it vocalizing. In our area the Blue Jay is known to mimic. They say the bird mimics the call of raptors, scattering all the birds and they have unimpeded access to food! They are also known to watch other birds and squirrels stash food and they eat them.

      The Lyre bird is perhaps the best. I heard one at the Healsville Santuary near Melbourne, Australia, Here is the lin

      Whatever it is, enjoy the birds and keep the cameras clicking


  9. Thank you Dharma.I had given up looking for your response.! Your advice on bird photography is very useful indeed.I think the high aperture settings are essential for clear pics.The flash option for clear eyes too is very useful advise.I must confess that I am too lazy to wait on the birds!Regarding camera shake have you tried a expandable monopod?.It is easy to carry around.
    Your clip about the Lyre bird is fascinating.Nature has given the bird both beauty and sound mastery.You have an abiding interest in birds.Long May it continue.Happy photography.
    Thank you once again for taking time to respond to the queries.Regards.Eddie.


    1. Thanks Edy. appreciate your interest in birds and photography. Yes, I am a lazy bum. My acquired middle name is procrastinator! A monopod is a good alternative to a tripod. It may work well for sporting events and stills where you have limited field of view. For birds and animal i need to swing the camera 360 degrees in fraction of a second.Monopod would be cumbersome. In the situation of nesting bird it will be useful as you can focus and wait for the bird to arrive. Now they have “Gimbal” where the camera is attached to a device which allows quick smooth movements. Good if you are standing still. Costs $300-500. A one time investment. I do not have one but considering. On trip by car from Colombo to Jaffna I have the camera on my lap. I jump out of the car to snap a bird on a telephone wire or roadside.

      I think if you check the little boxes on the bottom left, of this comment page, you will get notification of new comments and posts. If there is something you like to F/u check them. Then you will be made aware of late responses.
      Must make a trip to NZ to capture the native birds in photographs. I am told NZ has most fabulous nature scenes!


  10. Thanks Dharma.I have not heard of a gimbal.Must check it out.Yes, NZ is beautiful especially the South Island with breath taking autumn colours and picturesque sounds.We live in the Bay of plenty in the North Island.Be in touch if ever you come this way.We have an active volcano at our doorstep, about 20 Km by boat.Right now I am worried about cyclone Gita .(category5) ravaging Fiji after massive destruction in Tonga.It is due south in the next week.I am hoping that it downgrade to a tropical storm before it makes landfall again in New Zealand.


    1. Thanks Edy. I sure would worry living near two potential natural disasters. We hope and pray you and all of New Zealand are not badly affected. “Gita” is SL sounding name. Reminds me of our batch mate Gita de Silva. But she is very peaceful one. Heard her husband has been sick for a long time and she is not in the best of health at this time. Wish her well. dharma


  11. Thanks Dharma. Sorry to hear of Gita De Silva’s husband’s illness. Was it P.S.P ?They have an interesting way of naming these natural catastrophies.!!. Eddie


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