White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Moviemaking at the Refuge

I've just completed a few days of guiding a videographer around Anahuac to get spring pictures.  He was particularly interested in our nesting birds and spring migrants. We also looked for our signature birds such as rails and purple gallinules and took pictures of people using the refuge. 

It was a wonderful few days since he came on a north wind which finally stopped our migrants from overflying the refuge. The first afternoon we found American redstart, least flycatcher, Audubon's orioles, northern waterthrush, a sleeping nighthawk, Magnolia and yellow warblers and one painted bunting. In late afternoon we had the severe problem of filming a least bittern and a sora at once - they were 180 degrees apart. He also took some beautiful pictures of the dawn over East Bayou and sunset over the rail rookery. He ended by filming the dawn breaking over the Visitor Information Center Pond with fulvous and black-bellied whistling ducks coming in, to join several other species feeding there.

We also went to High Island to the photographer's blind so he could get closeups of some of the warblers and other migrants. 

Thursday morning all the usual suspects and a few others showed up at the VIS pond for a dawn review. He had wonderful shots of black-bellied and fulvous whistling ducks, including scenes of them landing, a king rail with a baby, squabbling stilts, dowichers, yellowlegs, and pectoral sandpipers.

My job was to suggest places and times and to watch for new birds while he filmed birds I had already found. It was a hard job but someone had to do it.  And I even remembered to take a few of my own pictures.

Eventually the several hundred clips he took will become part of a movie about Anahuac that will be shown at the new headquarters visitor center. So come visit us soon, climb into an airboat and enjoy the picture.

Dawn over East Bayou


Fulvous whistling ducks and sora

Hunting least bittern

Dunlin and long-billed dowichers

Eastern kingbird

Sleeping common highthawk

American Redstart

King rail