Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 18, 2009

First Rule of Rarities – Don’t Wait

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, rarities — richditch @ 8:11 pm
Wood Stork juvenile, Gilbert, AZ

Wood Stork juvenile, Gilbert, AZ

In the United States Wood Stork is mostly limited to the southeastern states. Corkscrew Swamp in Florida has been a good place to see them, and there’s been some range change so they are now seen regularly in Georgia. In late summer there is often movement by birds of the year from Mexico that disperse into southern California at the Salton Sea and along coastal Texas. But usually they don’t show up in Arizona.

This bird was discovered at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, a bit after 7:00 AM on Monday, August 17. I got email from a friend on his way to see it – he’d ben alerted by the guy who had just found it. Unfortunately I was already committed and couldn’t go to see the bird immediately as I wanted, instead spending the entire morning in a waiting room a few miles away from the bird.

I wasn’t able to go for this rarity until 1:30 PM, and even though the temperature was already around 105 degrees I didn’t want to risk missing this bird for my AZ state list. I still remembered the disappointment of not being able to find a previous stork in AZ – a bird at Painted Rock Dam near Gila Bend about 120 miles away. I’d tried for it, but didn’t get there soon enough and couldn’t find it when I finally got there.

So, I ended up hiking with my 20 pounds of camera gear in 105 degree weather between 2:00 and 3:00 PM at the Water Ranch. The stork was still there, and I was relieved to make it #466 on my AZ state list. But it stayed far away and partially obscured in a pond side shrub, and the photos I took weren’t what I’d want to share with anyone.

So I went back this morning, finding the Wood Stork still at the Water Ranch. And at 6:20 AM I had temps under 90 degrees and much nicer light.

This is a full frame image, taken with my Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S Nikkor lens, and TC20E 2x converter. ISO 200, 1/200th  second at f/11 at 6:40 AM. It is tighter than I normally compose, but there was only one viewing spot once I pushed through some shrubs and I didn’t want to spook the bird trying to swap the 2x for my 1.4x.

This image shows another “first rule;” this one of photography. Wait for the Light.


1 Comment »

  1. Cool! What a great catch. I’m so jealous.

    Comment by Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) — August 20, 2009 @ 11:27 am

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