This month, I decided to capture my top 10 wildlife photos for the month of May. I shoot thousands of photos throughout the month which can be viewed through my wildlife site (link at the bottom). These 10, however, were memorable due to some surprise encounters!

All these photos were shot from my kayak: Feelfree Moken 12.5 v2; a workhorse of a kayak that combines speed, stability, and tracking.

Common Carp

I had an unfortunate - but spectacular - encounter with hundreds of spawning common carp. From the moment I launched my kayak to the moment I returned to shore, the carp were surfacing around the refuge nonstop, which made for a great photo op to showcase their size and fearlessness. There were moments while spawning that the carp would smack the side of my kayak, rocking me.  They are tough!

Raccoon

While paddling along the marsh, I came face to face with a young raccoon foraging the grassy shoreline. Although the encounter was short, the curious woodland critter didn't shy away from seeing who was on the other side of the grass. I don't know if it was my camouflage attire or Moken, but the raccoon took a few seconds to register what I was.

 

Bald Eagle

A mature bald eagle and her young nest. I’ve frequently visited this county park over the past three years since moving to my new home. This is the first year I've seen this nest. Both eagles were continually adding wooded materials onto their nests in preparation for the incubation of their eggs.

Turkey Vulture

Imagine floating down the river and passing by a group of turkey vultures perched along the shoreline and nearby trees. That's what happened while I took this shot and continued my float. They were sheltering from the high winds. Although they spotted me, all I had were motionless glares; spooky, but surprising!

Eastern Kingbird

The return of the kingbird also brought back with him a hungry appetite for emerging flies along the river. I had a memorable time photographing kingbirds flying from branch to branch eating flies along the riverbank. As I continue to see them more frequent going into the summer, I'm reminded of how aggressive they actually are because of their appetite and intolerance for birds of prey. I have seen kingbirds chase away eagles within their nesting ground.

Yellow Warbler

The warblers have also returned with a hungry appetite. The flies are abundant, giving these birds and others great opportunity to feed in preparation for nesting season. Their vibrant plumage makes them easy to catch, but not the easiest to photograph as they dart back and forth seeking flies.

Painted Turtle

The ease in getting into tight waterways is an absolute advantage of owning a kayak. This photo was made possible due to just that, captured in a windless bay surrounded by the songs of warblers and orioles.

Groundhog

One of the most memorable encounters I've had on any of my kayaking trips was this moment. What I thought was a squirrel turned out to be a groundhog scurrying the woody shoreline. It spotted me while hiding behind a tree in the most cliché-spying way. 30 seconds later, the groundhog scattered off into a giant log, presumably its den.

Common Snapping Turtle

A yearling basking in the sun after months of hibernating. I floated motionlessly, allowing the wind to track me towards the turtle that produced this image. It's amazing that these guys can live up to 40 years!

Forster's Tern

I encountered a flock of about a dozen terns hunting - or fishing - for baitfish throughout the marsh. Their tolerance to people allowed for close capturing of these majestic birds. I learned they are endangered in Wisconsin due to loss of habitat from deforestation and flooding, but making a recovery due to the efforts of artificial nesting grounds for them.

Thank you for viewing and reading this series! If you are interested in viewing my entire wildlife gallery and/or ordering my work, please visit https://changlorwildlife.smugmug.com/

Thank you!

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Chang Lor's Photos 

Chang Lor's Kayak

Chang Lor's Paddle

Thanks for reading and viewing!

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Written by Chang Lor, Feelfree Pros Staff Team Member

Edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree Pro Staff Team Member

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