Stills V3

July 1, 2010

Camouflage #2

Filed under: Christina — Christina @ 22:18

Common Nighthawk - Kissimmee Prairie Preserve



  1. I think we would call this a nightjar (not sure tho’)

    A few years ago Nora and I went on a guided walk into the forest with a chap from the forestry commission.

    Near the end of the walk, after sunset, we stood at the edge of a clearing in the forest and listened to two nightjars singing in competition either side of the clearing. The effect was magical as the birds synchronised their calls but drifted in and out of synchronism. This caused a stereo effect where an imaginary bird flew backwards and forwards between the two ends of the clearing. We all stood there spellbound for about 10 minutes before one bird flew off.

    The birds are known to be difficult to photograph (well nightjars are) and this is well captured.

    Comment by Rex — July 2, 2010 @ 20:27

    • Nighthawks and nightjars are closely related and similar in appearance and behavior.

      Common nighthawks are not all that difficult to find and photograph on fence posts around central Florida ranch land in the summer, but this is the first time I managed to locate and photograph one on a natural perch.

      Comment by Christina — July 3, 2010 @ 02:05

  2. Not how the female of our species goes about business!

    I particularly like the rendering of the green bits here – very professional! The stalking of the bird is of course to be admired and we are served up a fascinating sight. I do wonder though, and nothing to do with you, why they have the white flash on the wing, which must defeat the object of the exercise somewhat.

    I know that I bore with BBC comparisons but we have a reasonably recently well-established series on the BBC at the end of May/beginning of June, that lasts for about three weeks, called Springwatch that watches nesting birds in real time as well as featuring in-depth filming of mammals, fishes and just about anything that moves. An extension to Florida would be welcome!

    Comment by zavaell — July 3, 2010 @ 06:51

    • John — the white wing flash you mention (and white throat area) is prominent only on the male bird, and displays nicely in flight at dusk and dawn which is when these birds are active. Females are generally a bit darker and browner overall without those bits of “bling”.

      Despite the white wing bar on this male, I never would have spotted it had I not seen it fly in to the perch. I had only a macro lens in hand at the time, so had Stan stay and mark the site while I hied back to the truck for a long lens set up.

      Comment by Christina — July 3, 2010 @ 16:08

  3. Perfect ‘stick’ for that bird! My eye is lead easily in to this and as a result, I can’t but stop on the bird’s eye and wonder if it was either fully open or fully closed what effect on the overall it would have.

    Comment by akikana — July 4, 2010 @ 04:59

  4. There is a related Australian bird called the Frogmouth. They are always on the ‘perfect stick’ and, thus, best seen in zoos.

    I’m thinking that the half closed eye look is typical of the species ???

    It is a lovely natural history shot with just enough design to maintain visual interest.

    Comment by colinjago — July 13, 2010 @ 18:38

    • Half closed eye is typical for the species while it is being photographed — probably all the way closed and sleeping once I left the area.

      Comment by Christina — July 15, 2010 @ 02:27

  5. Perfect stick and a bit of grass. Well seen!

    Comment by sojournerphoto — July 14, 2010 @ 01:42

  6. I’d have been tempted to clone out the grass stalk cutting the head off.
    Despite that, the perfect perch for a natural portrait of the bird.

    Comment by doonster — July 15, 2010 @ 11:36

  7. the frogmouth, one of my favourites and hard to find, always sitting still in a tree at an angle looking a lot like a broken branch.

    The picture shows off its camouflage very well.

    Comment by rhoehne — July 18, 2010 @ 05:30

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