Ghostly Gull/You Tell Me… Estero Help Needed « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Ghostly Gull/You Tell Me... Estero Help Needed

What’s up?

Five-sixths of the sold-out Hooptie Deux IPT group joined me for the DeSoto Add-on IPT. The always helpful, always smiling Mark Hardymon headed down to Naples, FL after our Thursday morning session. We were joined by the smiling, delightful Dutchman Wilfred (Willy) Marissen and Lou Newman’s friend Betty Neupert. We did well on Thursday afternoon and, after a dismal start, had a great Friday morning with a pair of tame oystercatchers, lots of Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls, and a small flock of Royal Terns, one in full breeding plumage.

This blog post, written on Friday afternoon, took a bit more than hour to prepare. I left at 6:00pm to meet older daughter Jennifer and her family at the Chicago Blackhawks/Tampa Bay Lightning game. Granddaughter Maya inexplicably has become a huge Blackhawks Jonathan Toews fan. This was published from my hotel room in St. Petersburg Beach, FL at 4:35am.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced on Wednesday now has only two slots left. See our morning and Saturday-only rates below. Scroll down for additional details. Please e-mail me to check on availability.

Comment from Cris Hamilton

Cris was a participant on the recently concluded Hooptie Spoonbill IPT:

I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the Hooptie Deux/DeSoto class, which ends, sadly, tomorrow (Fri 27th). It’s been so much fun and I have learned TONS!!! Thank you, thank you, Artie!!!!! And thank you to James Shadle, the master boat commander. James is a vital and fun part of this duo. Super great guy. And, thanks to all the other participants for putting up with all my questions!!! 🙂 We had a great group and a super time.

Estero Help Needed

I have heard from several folks that Little Estero Lagoon on Fort Myers Beach is very poor at best this year, that the lagoon has been cut off from the Gulf, is mostly dry, and that there are very few if any birds present. If you have visited recently I would appreciate your leaving a comment and sharing your experience with us.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. Click here for complete details.

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Register before the end of the month for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 discount on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.

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This hand held image was created with the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/2000 sec. at f/4. Center AF Point (manual selection) AI Servo Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure and just missed the bird’s head.

Ring-billed Gull, winter plumage adult in flight

Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Ghostly Gull/You Tell Me…

Take a guess, either wild or educated: What lens did I use to create this image? What was the focal length? Note to the snoopers: As far as I know, the EXIF was removed from the JPEG.


Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 2

Either morning photo session only: $475. Saturday morning photo session plus working lunch: $525. Saturday Full Day: $775.

Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


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EOS-7D Kit with the 28-135 Zoom Lens

Same great camera body plus the versatile 28-135mm zoom lens. Click here for details or to purchase.


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16 comments to Ghostly Gull/You Tell Me… Estero Help Needed

  • Hi Artie,
    I went to Little Estero last week (I live fairly close by). I got there around 9am and walked from the hotel south for about a half mile.

    There were almost no birds around. There was one photographer shooting a small bunch of little shore birds. I left without exposing a frame.

  • avatar Moe Ali

    Interesting question. Like others have said, it can’t be the 100-400 because it’s lowest f-stop is 4.5. And I know you like using the 70-200 f2.8 when distance to subject is not an issue, especially tame birds in flight like this gull. You stopped it down to f4 because the subject was close and so your depth of field was shallow. If the bird was 10ft away, then at 100mm you would have sufficient DOF at f4 to get the head, beak and wings in focus.

    Guessing 70-200 2.8 ii at 100mm f4…….. And it is a wild guess even though I tried to make it sound educated 😉

    Great shot Artie.

  • avatar Merv Lowe

    Starting with the focal length, I think it’s around 100mm. So the lens has to incorporate this focal length.

    Secondly, the lens needs a max aperture of f4 at least.

    Now seeing as you asked what lens and focal length, it has to be a zoom (no prime + teleconverter as TCs don’t work with primes less than 135mm – for clarification only…). F4 though rules out the 100-400.

    Therefore you used your 70-200 2.8 IS II @ 100mm or thereabouts.

  • I’ll guess 70-200 at 200mm.

  • avatar Art Buesing

    My last post was wrong. As it was f/4. It should be the 70-200mm near 200mm.
    Artie B

  • avatar Art Buesing

    I think 100-400 at 350mm. My best guess.
    Art B

  • avatar Jim Crane

    Artie , I will rule out the 200-400,100-400 . Now it could be the 24-70 , 300 , 70-200 or the 600 . I guess the 70-200 . Gulls fly right over the boat looking for hand outs. Jim

  • avatar Larry Brown

    My guess is the 70-200 at about 100mm.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Great image, Artie. You’re such a great photographer that I bet you didn’t even use a lens. 🙂 I’ll continue the tradition of choosing a new lens, the 200-400 with internal 1.4X TC. I’d guess on the long end because of the depth of field.

    • avatar David Policansky

      Just to explain my answer, I’m thinking the bird was a fair distance away, although it was close enough to be watching you.

  • avatar Cheri

    Wild guess … New Canon 100-400 Ef ii @ 200mm

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    I’d say a 24-70 at about 70mm. Just guessing!

  • avatar Gary Axten

    I’ll take a guess at a 70-200 zoom as it looks like it is right above you, though a single AF point implies something considerably longer.

    The curious tilt of the head is great.