Great Egret With Crayfish

This is a Great Egret that I photographed eating Crayfish on the side of the tour road located at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

We have had lots of rain in this area this spring. The Great Blue Herons and the Great Egrets are back in the flooded areas of the Refuge. I haven't been able to photograph them from my pickup because of this.

The great egret feeds in shallow water or drier habitats, feeding mainly on fish, frogs, small mammals, and occasionally small reptiles and insects, spearing them with its long, sharp bill most of the time by standing still and allowing the prey to come within its striking distance of its bill, which it uses as a spear. It often waits motionless for prey, or slowly stalks its victim. (Source: Wikipedia)

Great Egret - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Great Egret - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - Great Egret

I had my camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second at f7.1 and the ISO at 640. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

Sneaky Great Blue Heron

I spotted this Great Blue Heron this past Saturday at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was standing it a clump of grass trying to spear fish swimming by. I have seen these birds in the tall grass before, but this time it looked extra sneaky to me. This was a small clump of grass with no other plants around.

I watched this Heron until it flew away and I never did see it succeed in catching anything.

The most commonly employed hunting technique of the species is wading slowly with its long legs through shallow water and quickly spearing fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. Although usually ponderous in movements, the great blue heron is adaptable in its fishing methods. Feeding behaviors variably have consisted of standing in one place, probing, pecking, walking at slow speeds, moving quickly, flying short distances and alighting, hovering over water and picking up prey, diving headfirst into the water, alighting on water feet-first, jumping from perches feet-first, and swimming or floating on the surface of the water. (Source: Wikipedia)

Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - Great Blue Heron

I spotted this Great Blue Heron while driving the tour road. I had my camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Fujifilm X-T3 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/480 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 160. White Balance was set on auto. I was using zone AF and the 3x3 box, continuous autofocus with multi metering.

Here is a photo of a Great Blue Heron I posted a few days ago: Eye Of A Great Blue Heron

Eye Of A Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons locate their food by sight. Its eyesight is about three times more detailed than ours. They can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.

It is amazing that these birds can see through the glare and the surface motion of the water and be able to judge the preys exact location and angle of view.

Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - Great Blue Heron

I photographed this bird while driving the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

Once I spotted it I got as close as I could with my pickup by watching the Herons behavior to see if it was going to fly. I would stop and wait for the bird to relax and then I would get closer.

After getting in a good spot I would begin photographing it. I got lucky with this one and it came close for this profile shot.

I had my camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second at f8 and the ISO at 800. I also had a -0.7 exposure value because the sun was bright. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher At The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to view and photograph the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. I start seeing them in March.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers spend the winter in southern Mexico and Central America.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

You can locate these birds just about anywhere on the refuge. I photographed this one on the left side of the road past the four corner intersection.

I had my camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second at f8 and the ISO at 800. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.

My First Timber Rattlesnake

I came upon this Timber Rattlesnake while walking a road near the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas back in April of 2015. This was my first time seeing one of these.

As soon as it saw me it coiled in the middle of the road and I was able to get several photos.

This one wasn't very large. I would guess it would be approximately 3 feet long. Adults usually grow to a total length of 36 to 60 inches.

Generally, this species is found in deciduous forests in rugged terrain. During the summer, gravid (pregnant) females seem to prefer open, rocky ledges where the temperatures are higher, while males and nongravid females tend to spend more time in cooler, denser woodland with more closed forest canopy.

Female timber rattlers often bask in the sun before giving birth, in open rocky areas known as "basking knolls".

During the winter, timber rattlesnakes brumate in dens, in limestone crevices, often together with copperheads and black rat snakes.

Potentially, this is one of North America's most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield.(Source: Wikipedia)

Timber Rattlesnake - Ouachita Mountains - Arkansas

Timber Rattlesnake - Ouachita Mountains - Arkansas

Rattles of a Timber Rattlesnake

Rattles of a Timber Rattlesnake

How I Got The Shot - Timber Rattlesnake

I walk several of the roads in the Ouachita National Forest looking for snakes that like to cross these roads. I was hoping to find one of these Timber Rattlesnakes and I got lucky when I came across this one. I was also lucky that this one decided to coil instead of crawling into the brush.

I was sitting in the road, hand holding my Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 1250. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.

American Crow Close-up

The American Crow is a very common bird but the most difficult for me to photograph.

I got lucky and was able to get a close-up of this American Crow while at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was hanging around my campsite looking for food.

These birds seem to know when I have my camera and will not let me get close. These birds thrive around people so you would think I could photograph one.

American Crow - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

American Crow - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma

How I Got The Shot - American Crow

The Crows were hanging around my campsite (Doris Campground - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma)

This one was perched in a nearby tree and I was able to get a close-up profile shot.

I was hand holding my Canon EOS 7D with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second at f8 and the ISO at 320. I also had a -0.3 exposure value because the sun was bright. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous autofocus with evaluative metering.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

I try and visit this refuge every year. I was born and spent the first 15 years of my youth in this area. This is an amazing refuge.

Description from website: The 59,020-acre Refuge hosts a rare piece of the past - a remnant mixed grass prairie, an island where the natural grasslands escaped destruction because the rocks underfoot defeated the plow.

The Refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the Refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammals, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.