This is probably one of my favorite photos I’ve taken. I love the composition. I love the detail on both the bird and the background. The log, the vegetation, the color, the experience. Sure, it could be a little sharper, but somehow the softness makes it more serene. To me, it all comes together into a peaceful scene that makes me want to simply kick back and drift down the Amazon.
Yellow-headed Caracaras were everywhere in Peru. My first one was in Iquitos on a boat tour while we were looking for River Dolphins. I blew the shot, because frankly, I suck at photographing moving objects. I remember thinking, damn, that was probably my only shot at this bird. Over the next few days, I realized just how wrong I was. They were indeed everywhere. At the Universidad Cientifica del Peru, I got lucky—a Yellow-headed Caracara was eating something in a nearby tree, and I was able to slowly approach it while shooting. I ended up taking about 30 shots of the bird, and I felt really good about two of them. I didn’t think it could get any better than that!
A few days later, we were in Pacaya-Samiria National Park motoring up a tributary of the Amazon. This bird was standing along the shore, and as we approached, it picked up moved a few meters further upstream. At this time, I was sharing my friend Kevin’s camera, and he was busy firing off photos of it as we got closer. He definitely got some pretty sweet shots before the bird picked up again and flew further upstream. Kevin handed the camera to me as the bird came back into view. I got in exactly one shot before it was gone again! But I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima)
Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Peru
9 August 2018