Readers’ wildlife videos

Tara Tanaka (flickr site here; Vimeo channel here) has provided us with two new wildlife videos; please be sure to watch them at the Vimeo sites (click on the word “vimeo” at the bottom right) and  high definition (click on “HD” at the site). Her notes for each are indented.

The first video, “Biggun’,” shows a giant gator that lives near her property:

Jim called me into the living room this afternoon to see something in the scope. When I saw our big gator in the viewfinder, I took my digiscoping gear outside, out onto a small dike that extends from our yard into the swamp and shot this video.

Over the years we’ve seen bigger and bigger gators in the swamp, and I suspect we’ve been watching one gator [Alligator mississippiensis] – Biggun’, – growing up. I’m always a bit nervous when I go out in the dark to get in my blind, which I always keep right at the water’s edge. I am also worried whenever my husband goes out to work in the swamp, as he wades way out in the deeper, wilder recesses, not just near the edge. In what is extremely labor-intensive work, he uses a machete to cut up the floating mats of grass, and then pulls them into piles with a rake. The floating mat that the gator climbed up on is one of those pile. Without his work, we would have no open water, and we have an impressive amount.

Digiscoped with a GH4 + 20mm/f1.7 + Digidapter + Swarovski STX85 scope using manual focus.

This lovely slow-motion video shows a Great Egret (Ardea alba) coming in for a landing:

I was in my blind videoing a bird bathing when I heard the loud complaint of a Great Egret as a second bird chased him from his hunting spot. We have exactly one Egret that stays here each winter, but occasionally a second bird will arrive, and there is always a territorial dispute. I only caught his landing, but thought it was so graceful in slow-motion that it was worth sharing.

This video was shot with a GH4 + 300mm f2.8 + 1.4x at 1080i / 60fps using manual focus, and was slowed to 25% of its original speed.


  1. Frank Bath
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Great videos. The egret is poetic and the alligator alarming. I always think that while you are watching one gator there’s probably another watching you. Don’t do it!

  2. rickflick
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    How great it is that you live so close to all this wildlife! These films are wonderful.

  3. Debra Coplan
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Fantastic videos and really exciting to see. But that gator….yikes!

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Even the alligator. But I too would worry about it when near or in the water. I wonder if one could devise a floating ‘gator cage and still manage to clear out water plants.

  5. Claudia Baker
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Wow, these videos are fantastic!

    No way, no how, would I go in that water though! He’s a giant, then he disappears, just like that. He could be anywhere and you would never know. Yikes!

    The egret is stunningly beautiful. The alligator: awesome-ly scary.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Great vids…it’s always a treat when I see Readers’ Wildlife Videos, because I know Tara has some goodies to share.

    I liked the natural background sounds in the alligator video. That last 16 seconds or so made me laugh. It looked like the alligator was looking directly at you while slowly backing away and disappearing into the depths of the swamp. Nothing to see here folks. 🙂

    I’d like to add your husband is a brave man!

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I always love your videos Tara! Thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂

  8. Posted January 23, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much to everyone for your very nice comments!! Getting to see wildlife like this every day in our back yard is precious — getting to share it with so many is the whole reason for photographing and videoing it.

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