A Love Hate Relationship...

At the beginning of each winter as surrounding ponds freeze over Quidi Vidi Lake becomes a hot spot for bird sightings. Many photographers and birders head to the lake for up close looks at the diving ducks and even eagles as the try to make a meal out of one of the thousands of gulls that roost on the lake and other highlights. As the winter lingers on and spring time gets closer and closer the lack of interesting subjects seems to get less and less..the thought of heading to the lake is like waking up for work on a Monday morning...but the potentials there keeps me going back.

Early Saturday morning I  headed for the lake hoping to get there for sunrise. Along my drive through downtown  St.John's I noticed a Cormorant enjoying the rising sun as it spread beautiful warm light through the narrows. As the light reflected on the water I thought it would be a nice chance for a back lit portrait shot. 

A flash would have made this image that much better as I could have added a little fill light but what can you do...

On word I went and made it to the lake. I was hoping the recent cold temps would have iced up the lake a little more then it was last weekend since it was a little too open and the divers were much further away then I would like. Lucky me(not lucky for them) the open water was reduced to the size of a backyard pool..here is a shot from a month ago but basically the open water was about the same size

As I gathered my gear from the CR-V an Eagle took a dive at the resting gulls and made chase after one who luckily got away. The Eagle circled around and landed on a near by pole. Knowing that the sun would soon rise above the ridge behind me I waited patiently until the sun light up its face 

Since the top of a pole isn't all that interesting I decided to get in tight at 700mm for head shots and I'm glad I did as the Eagle decided to show it's frustration from its unsuccessful attempt at a catch and let out scream...

The Eagle made one more pass but again it was unsuccessful and head out towards Quidi Vidi village. 

It was time for me to settle in lake side as the large flock of divers had just arrived. Just as I laid flat on my belly on the cold ice my attention was drown to two Cormorants just below the bridge airing out their wings. This location isn't great for photos as their are way to close to the rock wall and you can't get a good angle on them. So I figured it would be a great opportunity for some head shots from the top of the bridge looking down. 

They didn't mind my presence at all as I assume they are use to humans walking across the bridge all day. 

The light was rising fast so I left the Cormorants to prune and headed back to my original spot lake side.

With so many ducks in such a small area singling one out was near impossible...but with a little patients opportunities arose.

Having been to the lake so many times to photograph the divers one beings to have the same images over and over so the challenge becomes capturing unique behaviors/poses 

or ducks with varying plumages

One duck that has caught birders attention over the past months is a Ring-necked duck with a lack of distinct markings. The first shot is of this very duck and the following is of another male Ring-Necked duck seen at the lake...you can clearly see the difference in markings.

and well we can't forget the female as she is always looking her best

Once again the lake proved to provide great photo ops but spring can't seem to come fast enough as I have many exciting plans ahead...