For the last several years the good people at the Lakehurst Naval Air Force Base have commissioned a study of the breeding birds on the 7,000 acre base. The last 3 years I have assisted National Biodiversity Parks (NBP), a landtrust and environmental management firm in conducting the survey. The government uses the information from the study to help manage the grassland habitat within the base such as the timing of successional cutting and prescribed burns. Proper management promotes the breeding success of Upland Sandpipers and Grasshopper Sparrows. NBP has documented 10 pairs of Upland Sandpipers and 225 pairs of Grasshopper Sparrows on average each year. Many other species of birds and other animals have been documented on the base.
Sandy Hook is a 1,665 acre barrier beach peninsula at the northern tip of the New Jersey Shore. The park includes seven miles of ocean beaches, salt marshes, hiking trails and maritime holly forest. The Hook is home to the oldest surviving lighthouse in the U.S. and to Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. It also happens to be one of my favorite local birding and photographing locations. A major migration path in both spring and fall, Sandy Hook has attracted approximately 340 bird species to its varying habitats. Over 50 species of butterflies have also been recorded.
Owl invasion- Approximately every 4 years or so there is a crash in the meadow vole population in northern Canada. Voles succeed or fail based on weather conditions. Cold, wet weather is hard on them and that was the case this spring and summer. This causes those that prey on them, Great Gray Owls and Northern Hawk Owls to not breed and to move further south in search of food. 2004 was just such a year and the numbers of owls invading Northern Minnesota was incredible. I went up there mid-December to witness and document this spectacular natural occurrence.
While Platte River in central Nebraska is a famous staging area for migrating Sandhill Cranes in the spring, shorebirds by the millions pour into the Platte Valley on there migratory journey. I went to photograph shorebirds in May 2004 with Buff-breasted Sandpiper being my target species. Buffies winter on the Argentine pampas and breed in northern most Alaska and Canada in the artic tundra They have a tiny world wide population of around 15,000. Buffies perform an interesting courtship display where the males throw there heads back and wings up to attract females. This behavior can be seen on the artic breeding grounds and it has been recently discovered that this can happen on the migration route. This is what I went to Nebraska to try and see and capture.
Bonaire is a small island located in the southern Caribbean 30 miles (48 km) from Curacao; 50 miles (80 km) north of Venezuela and 86 miles (129 km) east of Aruba, outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt. Known for its pioneering role in the preservation of nature, in particular the preservation of the marine environment, and for its excellent scuba diving, snorkeling, and windsurfing, among other things.
For the last few years I have been going with a group of friends to scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands situated in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator, about 600 miles west of Ecuador. Our group takes a special charter to the 2 northern most islands, Wolf and Darwin, for special underwater encounters that are found nowhere else on the planet. The unique convergence of 5 currents creates an upwelling that provides a rich source of food for many of the seabirds and marine mammals that occur in the Galapagos. We go for the vast diversity of sea life including Galapagos Sharks, schooling Hammerheads, and the largest fish in the sea the Whale Shark (I’m also looking for birds). The video in this Gallery is broken into seven parts each file about 10mb or the complete version which is 68mb. This is for people with HIGHSPEED connections. Please do not run the video from this site, right click on the file and choose “save link as” to download and play.
Saba “the unspoiled Queen” is smallest and loftiest island in the Netherlands Antilles group. Saba is located about 1970km (1225 miles) southeast of Miami, Florida, and 310km (195 miles) east of San Juan, Puerto Rico, near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles 28 miles southwest of St. Maarten. Shaped a bit like a heart (think anatomically, not Valentine's), Saba's land area is small, but because of its topography of folding mountains the island is far more substantial than any mere area measurement would indicate. As the tip of an immense underwater mountain, the island juts out of the sea with no pause for lowlands or beaches. Saba is famous for its numerous scuba diving venues, lack of commercialism, and relaxing, isolated solitude.
The Silver Bank is located about 80 miles (129 kilometers approximately) north of the Dominican Republic, equidistant from the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is one of the most important breeding and calving grounds for Humpbacks in the North Atlantic Ocean. 3000 to 5000 are estimated to use the Silver Bank reserve area from January through early April. The Silver Bank Sanctuary for Humpback Whales is an area of approximately 200 square miles, declared in 1986.