For this next issue, I decided to capture my top 10 wildlife photos for the month of May. I shoot thousands of photos throughout the month which can be viewed through my wildlife site at https://changlorwildlife.smugmug.com/. These 10, however, were memorable due to its surprising encounter!
All these photos were shot from my kayak: Feelfree Moken 12.5 v2; a workhorse of a kayak that combines speed, stability, and tracking.
I had an unfortunate – but spectacular – encounter with hundreds of spawning common carps. From the moment I launched my kayak to the moment I returned to shore, the carps were surfacing the refuge nonstop, which made for great photo op to showcase their size and fearlessness. There were moments while spawning the carps would smack the side of my kayak, rocking me; they are tough!
While paddling along the marsh, I came face to face with a young raccoon foraging the grassy shoreline. Although the encounter was short, the curious woodland critter didn’t shy away from seeing who was on the other side of the grass. I don’t know if it was my camouflage attire or Moken, but the raccoon took a few seconds to register what I was.
A mature bald eagle and her young nest. I frequently visit this county park over the past three years since moving to my new home. This is the first year I’ve seen this nest. Both eagles were continually adding wooded materials onto their nests in preparation for the incubation of their eggs.
Imagine floating down the river and passing by a group of turkey vultures perched along the shoreline and nearby trees. That’s what happened while I took this shot and continued my float. They were sheltering from the high winds this day. Although they spotted me, all I had were motionless glares; spooky, but surprising!
The return of the kingbird also brought back with him a hungry appetite for emerging flies along the river. I had a memorable time photographing kingbirds flying from branch to branch eating flies along the riverbank. As I continue to see them more frequent going into the summer, I’m reminded of how aggressive they actually are with their appetite and intolerance for birds of prey. I have seen kingbirds chase away eagles within their nesting ground.
The warblers have also returned with a hungry appetite. The flies are abundant giving these birds and all birds great opportunity to feed in preparation for nesting season. Their vibrant plumage makes them easy to catch, but not the easiest to photograph as they dart back and forth seeking flies.
The ease in getting into tight waterways is an absolute advantage of owning a kayak. This photo was made possible due to just that, captured in a windless bay surrounded by the songs of warblers and orioles.
One of the most memorable encounter I’ve had on any of my kayaking trip was this moment. What I thought was a squirrel turned out to be a groundhog scurrying the woody shoreline. It spotted me while hiding behind a tree in the most cliché-spying way. 30 seconds later, the groundhog scattered off into a giant log, presumably its den.
Common Snapping Turtle
A yearling basking in the sun after months of hibernating. I floated motionlessly, allowing the wind to track me towards the turtle that produced this image. Amazing that these guys can live up to 40 years!
I encountered a flock of about a dozen terns hunting – or fishing – for baitfish throughout the marsh. Their tolerance to people allowed for close capturing of these majestic birds. I learned they are endangered in Wisconsin due to loss of habitat from deforestation and flooding, but making a recovery due to the efforts of artificial nesting grounds for them.
Thank you for viewing and reading this series! If you are interested in viewing my entire wildlife gallery and/or ordering my work, please visit https://changlorwildlife.smugmug.com/. Thank you!