About Anhinga Harmonics Cards

My delight in photographing the shore birds on the beach at Daytona Beach Shores began when two Black Skimmers made an unwise nesting decision and dropped three eggs in the middle of a busy beach. Two of the chicks survived, mostly due to the efforts of Audubon Society volunteers. My wife Martha and I took a 7 pm shift, when the official volunteers were leaving, to make sure that passersby were informed about the birds and the need to steer clear of them. And I spent a fortune on film as I documented the growth of those wonderful skimmer fledglings.

It was soon after that blessed event that I went digital, acquiring a Nikon D80. I began hanging around the beach at sunset and at sunrise. Martha deserves great credit for making sure that I get out there, since she walks the beach daily.

I’ve always enjoyed artistic design and composition, so I decided to create a set of note cards for each of our grown children and their spouses for Christmas 2009. Friends at the Ormond Unitarian Universalist Society have enjoyed the note cards, so I’ve decided to go public and offer them here on the site. Many people know me for my songs about birds, so I guess the photography is a natural offshoot of that musical effort. My late Aunt Ellen, who first introduced me to bird watching, would be proud, I’m sure.

The original Nikon is still clicking away, but most of my work on the beach is now done with a D300s, an improvement under low lighting conditions of pre-dawn and late sunset.

Some have asked me which of the photos is my favorite, but that’s a very difficult question to answer. Snowy egrets are the super athletes of my world, incredible gymnasts when they are going after small fish in the receding waves. So my action shots of snowy egrets, which rarely make it onto note cards, are actually among my real favorites. It’s only fitting, then, that one of the most beautiful of the artistic shots should be the snowy egret photo SNE-506, which is both an action shot and an absolute miracle of color.

On the other hand, there is something very friendly about having a couple of sanderlings coursing around me as I take a stand on the beach, so they are near and dear to me, as well. The photo of a sanderling dragging one foot as he lands (SDL-7703), with the beautiful symmetry of the piano-key row of wing feathers, is as good as it gets in the area of an action shot that contains an inside view of nature’s artistry. Besides, I love a humorous shot, and the crazy geometry of this shot certainly qualifies.

I’d love to hear from you about which shots are your favorites. Meanwhile, enjoy these marvels of nature who make our lives so much richer for their presence on our shore.

Dan.