Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Taking Flight


“Birds are magical. Their flight alone can arouse a clever thought.”

Michael Bassey

Flying…how often have you thought about how amazing it would be to simply stretch your arms and soar? When you think about it, the number of flying “objects” is quite large. Yes, of course the birds. But beyond them, butterflies, bees and other insects, airplanes, balloons, bubbles, kites….well, you get the idea. So this week, although I’m focused on some of the beautiful birds of Kiawah, please feel free to be creative and choose whichever flying objects catch your imagination and your lens.

Roseate spoonbills, pink, birds

“The biggest favor you can do to yourself is fly freely like birds.”

Kuldeep Gera

Kiawah is home to an incredible abundance of birdlife. I captured the barred owl in my opening image two weeks ago very close to my home. As the old poem says, “A wise old owl sat on an oak”, and indeed he did. Roseate spoonbills such as those just above spend weeks here in the spring but leave to have their chicks in Florida. They return and can be seen here well into autumn. Their distinctive pink coloring and spoon-shaped bills are obvious elements of their name.


“What joy can compare with that of a bird that has just learned she can fly?”

Marty Rubin

A few weeks ago I posted an image of the eaglets above with one of their parents on the nest. On a return visit, big brother was apparently either teaching the next-born how to fly – or he was letting the little guy know who was really boss. We were fortunate to have four active eagle nests on the island this year and all of them had eaglets that successfully fledged. Does that mean next year we’ll have eight?!


“You are the only one that knows how high or how far you can fly.”

Theodore Volgoff

I’ve often posted images of the beautiful blue herons that are frequently seen around our lagoons and ponds.This is the first time however that I’ve shared an image of a juvenile such as the one above. It’s hard to believe his rather unimpressive brown feathers will soon become a beautiful blue-grey, and his little wings will expand to over 6 feet across.

Hooded merganser, pair, ducks

“A bird seldom depends on the strength of the breeze for its flight. It relies solely on its own wings to soar higher.”

Anurag Anand

The image above is one of my archived favorites. We’d had a “fish kill” here on Kiawah, which sometimes happens when the water in our more shallow lagoons gets too warm. I was shooting with a friend who’d shared her 600mm lens that fit my camera as well. Fortunately I was using a tripod that day as I could not have handheld something that heavy.


If you never dream of flying, then you’ll never wake up with wings.”

Natalie Kendall

Finally, I’ll admit the little hummingbird above is not a Kiawah Resident. I spent hours at my brother’s home in Colorado trying to capture these incredible creatures as they lined up for their turn at the feeder. Their speed and agility was amazing, although I was surprised by their aggressiveness toward each other. I could have watched them for days – and in fact, I did!

Thank you as always for your responses to last week’s Colorful April challenge – you shared some amazing examples of spring’s (as well as a few of autumn’s) incredible beauty. We very much appreciate your creativity and continued support of our challenge. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this week’s Taking Flight challenge – please remember to link to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. Last but definitely not least, we hope you’ll join us next week when we welcome our Guest Host, Priscilla of Scillagrace . Be sure to check out her ever-thoughtful and interesting blog.

224 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

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  3. Great challenge topic, my friend… of course, I could be prejudiced. I am struck by the simple beauty of that hummingbird image.

    I am so torn for this week’s challenge… share images of natural flyers or images of the contraptions that help people to be pretend avian beings. And I am running late this week having been on the road and visiting with family (finally)… We’ll see what I decide by Thursday. >grin<

  4. My husband and I have been avid birdwatchers for a few decades now. I enjoy butterflies and dragonflies as well. I second your sentiments that you’ve written about in this piece!

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  17. Always wonderful to see the wildlife in your backyard, Tina. I think it would be amazing to be able to stretch our arms and take flight at any time we like. I guess we cam only dream and live vicariously through the birds enjoying their time. So kind of your friend to lend you her 600mm lens and you had your tripod with you. Must have been your lucky day. Als lucky you got to see a hummingbird in your area. They do sound like they put on a show 🙂

    • Hi Mable – thanks for checking in! Glad you enjoyed these. We truly treasure our wildlife here and the birds this year have been magnificent. I suppose the pandemic has had at least some effects that are not all bad.

  18. Your photos are very sharp and inspiring. It´really gives me motivation to improve my craft and look for good content.This theme is wonderful…I thought I might give it a go and post my interpretation.
    Again, thank you dear for the positive energy.

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  21. I continue to envy you your island retreat, especially in these times when it is so hard to travel to see birds. I know very little of new world birds though. Are those fledgelings of golden eagles? Those are wonderful photos. I also liked that owlet, which (again) I cannot identify. And of course, we have no hummingbirds, since sunbirds and flower peckers take up that same space in the ecology. Isn’t it wonderful that the same planet has so many different biospheres!

    From me this year, a memory of a good birding trip from a couple of years ago:

    Winter birding

    • Many thanks I.J. – yes I noticed the same thing when I visited your post. Our birds are very different yet much the same. It is wonderful indeed! The fledglings are bald eagles rather than golden. Here in the U.S. they were on the endangered species list for quite some time but have come back strong and are now demoted to “protected” which shows how well they’ve fared.

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  25. Tina, I was so anxious to get my post done that I forgot to comment on yours! Of all the birds you photographed so well, I love the spoonbill. I’ve never seen them. Great image.

  26. Amazing birds and captures of their personalities, Tina! We hear owls but haven’t seen them and can see eagles circling very high in the sky. I have to keep my little 13-pound dog Aero away from those big birds! Your hummer shot on my laptop made it look like the size of a robin, gorgeous! They are so fun to photograph with their crazy antics and loud hums! Love the quotes!

    • Many thanks Terri – the owls are REALLY hard to spot – they truly blend into their environment. And yes, be careful with small dogs when eagles are around – they take whatever they can get!

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  28. Wow, Tina. Your images of these birds are gorgeous and beautifully captured! I’m in awe of your shot of the hummingbird. I know how long I tried to get a good photo of one when we were staying in Arizona several years ago. Very impressive! I took the theme into a “human” direction–which was a lot of fun. Thanks for the inspiration!! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

    Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144: Taking Flight

    • Thanks so much Patti, I’m very much drawn to the birds although I have more throw-aways than I care to admit. They’re just so darned beautiful and their majesty in flight is awe-inspiring. Glad you were inspired – I’m off to see what you came up with!

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  30. Nice mix of our feathered friends you have there Tina. Really like the Bright Eyed shot and the owl. Don’t think I’ve ever seen an owl outside of the zoo. Also nice capture of the hummingbird…worth the effort, well done 🙂

    • Thanks Andy – the owl was a real treat for me too. We had a nest several years back but they were so high up you could barely see them. This little guy, once I found him (which wasn’t easy since his coloring and feathers are a perfect match for the oak tree branches!) he was very easy to shoot since he sat so still for so long. Been looking out for him since but he seems to have found a new hangout. 😢

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  34. Another outstanding collection that I’ve come to love, respect, and expect. There is something about the first picture that captures my attention. I think because I see so many short, wavy lines – including those of the owl. Love it. …. and oh … the hummingbird. WOW …. you may it seem so large. 🙂 … that’s why I like it. 🙂 …. well done, Tina.

    • Many thanks Frank – that owl could have hidden in that tree all day and I’d never have seen him he blended in so well with his surroundings. In fact I spent quite some time looking for him one day and never found him. When eventually I DID see him if I didn’t stay focused on his position I lost him again! An incredible example of nature’s creative protection of her creatures.

  35. I’m in awe with these bird images. The details are amazing, especially the Heron and Hummingbird. I love the captures of the big babies, they are growing fast. The header of the spoon-shaped bill in flight is my favorite. 🙂

    • Many thanks Amy – yes the catch of the flying spoonbill was very special to me. We see them in our marshes scooping up whatever it is they eat from the mud (YUK) but I think that was the only time I’ve ever seen one fly. I was thrilled that the image worked out!

  36. Such beautiful bird pictures! The barred owl reminds me of the time I nursed one back to health in an empty horse stall after breaking it’s wing. And your hummingbird shot is perfect!😊

    • Somehow Sylvia I can definitely imagine you nursing the little owl back to health – you’ve always had a really good heart! Glad you enjoyed these; we’ve had quite a year for birdlife, haven’t we?!

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