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Photography

Featured Photographer

Shailee Shah

  • A Herring Gull preens on Appledore Island.
  • Appledore is home to the Shoals Marine Lab research station.
  • Gull intern Brendan Fogarty dodges a protective Great Black-backed Gull.
  • A Great Black-backed Gull hatchling gets its first breath of fresh air.
  • The young chicks grow incredibly fast on a diet of regurgitated fish.
  • Watching gulls being good parents was one of the summer's memorable moments.
  • Reflections at sunrise on Appledore.
  • Taking a break from gulls, the team visited a nearby tern colony for a census.
  • The census tracks a restored colony of Common (shown), Arctic, and Roseate terns.
  • A female Common Eider guides her ducklings through the water.
  • A gorgeous—and rare—female Wilson's Phalarope made an appearance on Appledore.
  • As the gull chicks grew up, Shailee started watching Spotted Sandpipers.
  • A day-old Spotted Sandpiper chick keeps a lookout.
  • A pair of aggressive Eastern Kingbirds held their own against the gulls.
  • By summer's end, Shailee was more than happy to add her pair to the venerable Shoe Tree.
Funky Nests
Optics Planet birding kit

About the Photographer

My first lesson in wildlife photography came from my father when I was 10 years old. There was a gaggle of peafowl chicks running around in our backyard in India and, inspired by my family’s monthly subscription to National Geographic, I was trying to photograph them by, unwisely, running after them myself!

“Why do they keep doing that?” I asked my dad as I chased them across the yard.

“Because you’re scaring them! Look, you need to hide and be patient,” he replied, taking the camera and crouching behind a bush to demonstrate. I followed suit and spent the next hour in that bush, clicking away.

Birds had always fascinated me and I started carrying my hand-me-down Olympus C-740 UZ along everywhere from the terrace of my house, to photograph Rose-ringed Parakeets and Green Bee-eaters, to Pangong Lake at 14,270 feet in the Himalayas to capture a flock of Black-headed Gulls on impossibly blue water.

After high school I upgraded to an SLR and lugged it across two oceans to Cornell, where I currently shoot for the Cornell Daily Sun while continuing to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

This summer I interned at Shoals Marine Lab for two months, working with gulls, and had the opportunity to observe and shoot a variety of birds, from gulls to sandpipers to kingbirds, on the beautiful island of Appledore. Read the full story of that summer on the Cornell Lab’s blog.

-Shailee Shah, Cornell University '14

See more of Shailee's photography at her Flickr site
Read Shailee's blog about gull research, The Yeow Call