Thursday, April 8, 2010

Painted Turtles, Bull Frogs and a Humpback Whale

The Rounds:
I took Wednesday off from work because the weather was supposed to be phenomenal and I wanted to take advantage of such warm early April weather.  My original hopes were finding some good avian species and perhaps capturing Ospreys carrying nest material or a similar spring event.  On Tuesday, my focus shifted as I learned there was a juvenile Humpback Whale which had beached itself in East Hampton.  I tried to employ patience and made my morning rounds at all of my standard avian haunts, with a stop at Munn's Pond Preserve for turtles and Quogue Wildlife Refuge for frogs.  Photographing turtles is always difficult due to how the sun reflects off their shiny black shells and I'm always left wanting better.

The Wildlife Refuge produced this fat frog in the little man made pond at the entrance.  Its counterparts weren't nearly as cooperative as this one which let me get my lens within an inch or so.  To obtain the close up of the eye (below) I laid on the ground and used my cameras LiveView function which acted as the viewfinder as I extended my arms out and put the camera right next to the frog.

Humpback Whale:
I arrived at Main Beach in East Hampton around 2 and stayed for an hour watching the whale from the nearby rock groin.  It was a sad sight to see, but it is nature and I felt lucky to have been able to observe it.  After 3 days, officials have tried to euthanize the animal twice, but it has proven to be not effective.  It was decided that a rescue effort would not be mounted due to the whales condition, age and location in the surf.  Once it expires, it will be buried along the beach after a necropsy is conducted.

For more information on the situation, please view this: East Hampton Press

Twice in the span of 1 minute, the Humpback raised its tail and head in a desperate attempt.  I was lucky to capture the moment, though I did clip the tail on a few of the shots, and all of the shots needed to be straightened.  I captured these images (and some of the ones above) with my new Nikon 18-200mm VR which allowed me to zoom out a little and get the whole whale in frame.  If I had to use my macro or 300 f4 I would have been seriously limited in my options.

More images and an update on the situation will be posted on Saturday.  If the Whale is still alive - I will likely  make another trip.


  1. Beautiful photos of the whale! What day were these taken?

  2. Hello,

    Would you be interested in posting on or more of your humpback whale photos on our facebook community page "Stranded No More - Help for every whale and dolphin stranded alive!" Your photos captured the struggle of the young whale and we thought it would be good for people to see what it went through. Thank you!