Babylon and Beyond Photography
Thirty years ago, Babylon’s Vicki Jauron hoped for a career as a photojournalist, but life got in the way and she found herself in the corporate world. It wasn’t till she retired that she devoted herself to her passion, and lucky for us and young readers that she did. Now an award-winning nature photographer, Jauron turns her lens and her pen on shorebirds that deliver their young on local beaches. In vibrant colors and rhyming prose, she educates and entertains children on the importance of respecting the natural world.
“Late Spring Into Summer, / Let the Magic Begin. / To This Beach on Long Island / Many Birds Will Fly In.”
And they do fly, and hatch, and feed, and swim. Black skimmer chicks love the water, their habits recorded with the up-close intimacy of Jauron’s shutter. You can almost feel the splash of the water. Talk about Zooming!
Striking on the page is the large black and white oystercatcher. “…First on The Scene. / And They’ll Burst From The Nest / With a Particular Zest.” Its long, orange-red bill and reddish-pink legs, its baby chicks just out of their speckled shells are set against low sandy hills and a mottled blue to white, to brown/yellow sky.
Images jump to life as mother oystercatcher looks intently, almost challengingly, at the camera’s eye, her wing protectively embracing her chick, as if daring the viewer to harm her baby. Then “Father Oystercatcher / Takes Charge of the Crew. / He Teaches Them So Much, / Like Most Fathers Do,” sending home the notion that bird families are part of the same universe as we are, their moms and dads much like ours.
There are “The Tern Chicks [who] Love Fish / And They Eat Quite a Lot. /But It’s Sometimes Hard to Swallow / What The Parents Have Caught.” Across a humorous spread, a baby tern struggles with a fish that’s almost as big as he is, while behind him, little brother or sister, speckled beak wide open, waits for a turn at the catch.
The piping plovers, Jauron cautions, are vulnerable, “… These Tiny Plovers, / Are Just the Cutest of Things. / Like Fluff Balls on Long Legs / With Sweet Little Wings,” the legs almost golden the way Jauron has shot them and the undersides of their chests so white and fluffy, I reached my hand out to touch them. They’re endangered, she cautions. “Let’s Help Them Survive.”
Jauron has done a fine job making youngsters (and their parents) aware of this part of Long Island’s natural world and how important it is to treat its inhabitants with respect. After all, she says, “Many hard decisions on the environment will be up to them, and unless they value nature and its diversity, preserving our planet will be in jeopardy.”
“The Magical Bird Beach of Long Island” and its companion volume, “The Magical Bird Beach of Long Island in Winter: A Children’s Rhyming Picture Book About the Snowy Owl and Other Winter Birds” are both available on Amazon.
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