So, I’ve watched the photography of Jay Stotts, for quite some time. Some know him on flickr as “Walk in the Woods Photography” … others simply know him as the “from my kayak” guy. See, he photographs a lot of his wildlife from … you guessed it … his kayak. Yep, he gets a wide variety of birds (eagles, herons, grebes & loons – with babies on their backs) and also moose feeding on the vegetation, etc. Well Tom & I love to kayak and have often photographed while kayaking in Alaska and Florida, so when we were visiting up in his neck of the woods, we knew what we would be doing at least one of the days. Jay was gracious enough to meet up with us to show us his “playground”.
On this particular day, it was a bit cold and overcast, but that didn’t matter to us. We paddled out through the vegetation in hopes of some moose in the water action shots as well as grebes. It was so fabulous to be back in a kayak where we didn’t have to worry about alligators or venomous snakes. 😉Tom was in his element for sure and ready for the adventure.We all followed Jay’s lead, as he skillfully paddled out to his secret spots. That’s when it hit me … oh no, usually Tom is paddling while I photograph, but this time I have to do double duty.Before long, we paddled past some beautiful yellow-headed blackbird, a species I had become familiar with earlier this year. In south Florida, we mainly have red-winged black birds. Their behaviors, at least to my unscientific eye, was quite similiar between the two species. Their song was equally distinctive and beautiful.As fascinated as i was to see them, I had my sights on a moose! The image below was unknowingly taken by Jay. I think that I was trying to figure out where the moose were and where they might emerge into the water from. LOLAs the day progressed, it became windier, though we had no idea of just how windy it would get. I found it nice to hang out in the vegetation, which provided a bit more stability.So we waited … and waited, while having lots of fun and laughs about being out there.OK, the red-necked grebe was spotted on the horizon and off we went to photograph it and those babies that would of course be on their backs just waiting for me to shoot.But unfortunately nature has its own timetable and we found ourselves a bit too early in the season. We did get to see the nest, but no babies yet. Not wanting to disturb or distress the couple, we decided to leave the area. Next time.A great blue heron was visiting the lake as well. Patience in stalking their prey is their middle name. Seemed that we watched this one forever while it pursued its hunt. Before long, we noticed Jay scoping in on something.On an higher ground island in the middle of the lake, he found a bunch of gulls congregating about. One looked quite different of course, a caspian tern. Known for being quite aggressive when defending its colony and nest, this one was quite docile to us.Before long, we noticed a few more were flying overhead. I just love terns … whether it be these caspian or others such as forster’s, arctic, common, or least terns. They are so acrobatic in their flight and angelic as they hover overhead preparing for a dive.Guess this guy has hung out on this log before by the look of things. LOLAfter some more paddling about, we came across the delightful, though quite loud, killdeer. We didn’t see any nests, though mating season was clearly upon them.Paddling through the thick vegetation became a challenge at times (at least for Rebecca and I), but we all managed just fine overall. A storm started brewing off in the distance and was clearly targeting us, so we had to call our time a bit short.One more look at that magnificent great blue heron. Not sure if it finally got some dinner or not.Yes, we had some fun times out on the water. As my friend Michael Libbe can attest to, sometimes I get a bit preoccupied on the water when there’s a lull in the action. This time though it was apparently only Tom’s ears that I was caught checking out. LOL. Thanks to Jay for capturing this moment on the water of me actually using my lens as my impromptu binoculars.
Safely back on the dock, we took one last shot (iphone of course) of the fun times of the day. We couldn’t thank Jay enough or Rebecca’s friend Donnette who loaned us her kayaks for the adventure. Next time, we’ll bring ours with us Jay! Check out his incredible wildlife photography on flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jays_wildlife). We’ll be back next year!
Next Up: More from Steptoe Butte in the Palouse
© 2016 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography