Intimate Moments

When fellow photographer, Guy, pointed out a Common Murre on Inner Farne Island in England, I did not expect that I would soon be witnessing the circle of life. I looked down and saw an light green egg with a hole in it.  At first, I was sad to see a hole in the egg, thinking something haåegg under its belly and squatted down.  We were so excited but realized that we had only 20 minutes before we had to be back on the boat to leave Inner Farne Island for the day.  Nothing was going to get me to budge from that spot until the boat left.  I adjusted my camera settings as best as I could in the sunlight and waited.  I knew I could run across the island to the boat in 5 minutes so I kept watch until the very end and was rewarded!

Murre and egg July 6 6514

Image: Common Murre and its egg. Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 500 mm, f/8.0, 1/640 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

For one quick instant, the murre looked down at its egg and decided to help the birthing process.  Unfortunately, it only helped a little before it covered the egg back up and I had to run to catch the boat.  Although I didn’t see the hatching process, I was on cloud 9!

I hated having to wait 21.5 hours to get back to the island, but the next day, I made a beeline for the murre and its newborn chick!!! The sun was as bright as could be and this was the best shot I could take of the chick.

Murre July 7 9330

Image: Common Murre and its newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 210 mm, f/6.3, 1/2500 sec, ISO 500, hand-held

The chick didn’t move much that first day while I was watching it.  The parent preened the chick’s feathers and covered it up off and on. When the parent settled in on the chick, I moved away, eager to come back the next day.

On day 2 of the chick’s life, we had cloudy weather so I was able to get a nicer shot of the parent and the chick.  The baby seemed to have more vitality and energy and was now able to hold up its head!

Murre and chick July 8 6143

Image: Common Murre and its newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/11, 1/500 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

Soon the preening process began again and I saw a little bit of wing movement as the chick began to test itself and its body’s capabilities.

Murre and chick July 8 6133

Image: Common Murre and its newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/6.3, 1/2000 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

As I stayed to watch these moments, I was lucky to see the second parent arrive and join in on the care of the chick.  At first, parent #2 watched the preening process.

Murre and chick July 8 6789

Image: Common Murres and their newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

Then I saw the bond develop between both parents and the chick.  It was truly special moment.

Murre and chick July 8 6758

Image: Common Murres and their newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 210 mm, f/8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

Parent #2 then got a few moments with the chick as parent #1 looked on.

Murre and chick July 8 6885

Image: Common Murres and their newborn chick, Inner Farne Island. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

Sorting through images for this blog post warmed my heart.  I knew when I captured that first image that I was going to see something so simple but yet so intimate and magical.  I had many more to share but only selected a few that told the story.

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

28 thoughts on “Intimate Moments”

  1. Amy, This is a beautiful series of photos and a great story. What a wonderful experience to see this process. And yes, the photos were much better with the filtered light. So glad the weather helped you out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. your images of the birthing of a murre chick are spectacular..I was there so I can attest to your commitment to capture the wonder of life..can there ever be any doubt that all creatures share the love of their newborn..thankyou for being a human creature that cares to communicate the sacredness of life………

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy, that is so miraculous and beautiful. These are my favorite pictures so far. You are an amazing photographer. I love following your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am doing well. My shoulder is all good- graduated from therapy on it. Still doing 2x wk for my hand and wrist but it is much better! Your therapy skills put me on the right track while I was inAZ. Thank you for all you did and taught me—the pain and tears and breathing technics were worth it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s wonderful to hear about your shoulder Roseann! I’m so glad that your hand and wrist are still improving. :-). I’m glad what we did in AZ helped. Thanks for writing back!

        Like

  4. Beautiful series of close ups. I will now add these uncommon photos of the sweet Common Murres to my list of favorite birds and bird photographs. Amy, I am thrilled that the wildlife you encounter is making such an impression on you. Continued safe travels ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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