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Patience and Persistence

heiberg_tip01

While wandering around the Orlando Wetlands park with my students during the park’s annual festival on February 7, 2009, I came across an odd-looking bird that would later be IDd as a Leucistic Palm Warbler. I knew this was a rare one, and later discovered that the chance of seeing one was one-in-ten-million.

The longest lens I had with me was a 70-200mm zoom. So when the morning’s field trip was finished, Joe Puglia and I when back to the spot where the bird was feeding—this time armed with 500mm lenses and 2X extenders. We spent more than two hours stalking and photographing this bird. The time proved to be well spent.

The bird was skipping along the logs, lily pads and water lettuce at the shores of a pond. Its main territory was about 200 yards of prolific insect life. After a while the bird became familiar with our presence. By staying low (knee pads help a lot) and moving slowly we were able to get close enough to get some good candid behavior shots. Then by picking the bird’s favorite spots, with the best backgrounds, we eventually got the images we were looking for.

Here are twelve of them showing every part of the bird.

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