Reader’s wildlife videos

We have two videos today from Tara Tanaka (Vimeo page here, Flickr page here), one shot in Florida and the other in New Mexico. Be sure to enlarge both. The first is from Florida, and Tara’s explanation is indented.

About two months ago I thought I saw a Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus) in our swamp – the first one I’d seen in years. Since then we’ve had two Common Gallinule pairs with chicks, and I convinced myself that that must have been what I’d seen. I’ve been going out in my steamy blind on a lot of afternoons to photograph Wood Ducks [Aix sponsa], and many nights I hear and see something moving in the tall maidencane to my right, and I’ve even videoed the moving grass for ten minutes at a time, hoping I’ll see what it is. Last night, just as I got in the blind, I saw a Purple Gallinule land in a clump of vegetation far away, and I managed to get short video of glimpses of the bird – but enough to be sure what it was. Later the bird teased me even more by feeding in the grass behind our duck log – but never giving me any more than a flash of its head. Later, as I was shooting video of Wood Ducks on the log, the Gallinule ambushed the relaxing Wood Ducks, clearing the log like he’d done it many times before. I hope there are chicks hidden somewhere, and they stay around this time.

Look at the sexual dimorphism in those wood ducks! The males look as if they were designed by Picasso. The male gallinule is also very showy.

When I asked Tara why the Gallinule went after the wood ducks, she replied, “I think the Gallinule was just asserting its dominance, because he could. They get into violent fights with one another – each wrapping those long toes around the neck of the other – I think they may fight to the death. I hope it’s got a nest.”

Bosque del Apache is a National Wildlife Reserve in New Mexico, where Tara visited—and shot a bunch of video—last year. Here’s her first issue:

I’ve been culling the video I shot at Bosque del Apache NWR last November, and I saw this “footage” for the first time this afternoon. It was one of my favorite bird photography afternoons, with hundreds and hundreds of Sandhill Cranes [Antigone canadensis] and Snow Geese [Anser caerulescens] filling the sky. Families and larger groups of cranes were coming in continuously, and I shot everything in this video as one clip – I just cut out the parts I didn’t want to include. As soon as one family would land I’d look up and choose the next group to follow in. There was still fall color, and it was a gorgeous afternoon.

This was shot with my GH5 mounted on a Nikon 300mm f2.8 ai-s manual focus lens in 4K 60fps, output at 30p (half of normal speed).

I love the gentle way the cranes touch down. Note how they lower their landing gear well before they land.


  1. kyuss
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink


    • Robert
      Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      “beautiful”. Exactly, describes my thoughts as well.

  2. GBJames
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Great stuff, Tara!

    My daughter and I saw a crane family (pair with chick) in the median of the Alexander Graham Bell Parkway (403) in Ontario on Monday as we drove through. Lovely birds.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Really nice video. Nothing flies like nature.

  4. Claudia Baker
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The crane video: wow! beautiful!

  5. Terry Sheldon
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Always a pleasure to see one of your posts. Thanks!!

  6. Cate Plys
    Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I could watch those sandhill cranes land all day long. Tara’s work is always amazing, of course. Question, if Tara happens to look at these comments: What is the music you used with the sandhill cranes? I sure feel like I know it, but I can’t place it. Thanks for sharing your work!

  7. Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks everyone for your nice comments! You inspire me to capture and edit more.

    • Posted June 26, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you Cate. It’s an arrangement I licensed from Audio Jungle, and I think the reason it sounds so familiar is that there are numerous variations of this same piece used in multiple TV commercials. I used a different arrangement for another video a couple of years ago, and have since noticed how popular it is for commercials.

  8. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous videography; precise editing. Ms. Tanaka is a marvel! Thank you!

    • Posted June 27, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Andrea! So much more joy being able to share it with others who appreciate nature.

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