Even as a child I was fascinated by birds with the myriad of species, the range of colors, the different features and the vast array or behaviors. For exact reasons that neither of us can remember talking about my wife and I formally got into birding just after the first of the year. One day, one very cold day, we simply decided to go out to our local bird sanctuary and see what we could see. It was love at first sighting and we have been quite passionate about it ever since.
Because of my preference for wearing neckwear, tweed blazers and other sartorial finery while out in the field (especially in cooler weather) a couple of fellow birders mentioned that I always looked like a proper gentleman whenever I went out birding. This idea worked for me and so my alter ego the Gentleman Birder was born.
One of my favourite things while birding is to get pictures of the birds that cross my path. In no way would I refer to myself as a photographer but I have gotten lucky with a few shots (luck meaning that one or two shots turned out from the couple hundred taken during each outing). I've posted many of these shots on my Instagram account ( @brjudge, please feel free to follow me ) and use the hashtag #gentlemanbirder, but also wanted to share some of them with all of you. Hope you enjoy looking at these shots as much as I've enjoyed taking them.
This is definitely one of my favourite shots...period. For some reason that I cannot quite fathom Green Heron images turn out for me a lot of the time.
Cute isn't he?
I love capturing images where the bird is a bit hidden.
Got lucky enough to catch this fuzzy little fledgling on his run back to the nest.
|Short-billed Dowitcher (left), Willets (right)|
While I love all types of birds shorebirds are probably my favourite. This Dowitcher hopped around on one leg for so long I though he must have lost the other, he even flew a couple of times and landed on just the one. Needless to say I was quite relieved when he brought the other leg down.
Huge fan of this species, how could you not love those blue feet and that white bill with the red spot between the eyes. Coots are often mistaken for a species of duck but in fact they actually belong to their own distinct order. In fact they are closer to certain species of Crane than to ducks.
So this isn't the clearest picture but I am quite proud of it. The Golden-winged Warbler is quite a rare bird for Illinois. The one thing I can say is that he never stopped moving..not once.
A birds gotta eat doesn't he?
Can't quite put my finger on it but there is something I just love about this shot.
While one is adorable a whole group of these little shorebirds is almost too cute.
Unlike a lot of birders I love Canadian Geese, there is something so majestic about them.
This is another of my favourite shots. I like to call it "Long Live the King."
This is one of my favourite birds...this one specifically....I call him Agustas.
Another one of those great "almost hidden" shots.
These are so fun to watch but can be hard to find, they blend in to underbrush (where they spend most of their time) way too well and they are quite small (a bit smaller than a golf ball).
|American Bittern, shakin it like he just don't care|
This was another big find for me, I waited for almost four hours for him to come out of a tall grass field to feed.
Sometimes a lack of details can be a good thing.
A man was throwing food up into the air and the gulls were diving down to catch it...who wouldn't want to take a picture of that?
What wonderful coloring, don't you think?
|Piping Plover (top), Sanderling (bottom)|
The Piping Plover was another big find for me as they rarely show up in Chicago.
Aren't they just the sweetest little things?
This is one of Kristina's absolute favourite birds.
|Green Heron...with lunch|
This shot turned out way way better than I thought it would.
Love Wood Ducks, all those great colours and patterns and they make a squeaking sounds, whats not to like?
A little father and son binding time. (Dad is on the right)
Not the best picture granted but this was my very first really big find. Birders came from all over the area to see this guy as there has only been a handful ever sighted in Illinois.
This is a stickup..nobody moves, nobody gets hurt!!
|Great Blue Heron|
How absolutely stunning this bird is.
|Great Blue Heron|
And just as stunning in flight.
So there you have some of my favourite shots, so far. There are a few more that I'll share next week. I am also pondering the idea of starting another blog called, oddly enough, The Gentleman Birder, where I can share my continuing adventures in birding.