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'The Eagle Man of Staten Island' Photographer Lawrence Pugliares [EXCLUSIVE][PHOTOS]

Oct 08, 2015 11:13 PM EDT
jumping spider
Laurie and a jumping spider
(Photo : Lawrence Pugliares)

Photographer Lawrence Pugiares, a New York City native and long-time resident of Staten Island, is known for high-quality images of birds of prey and insects. He captures eagles that nest along the island's shores, and shoots jumping spiders early and often.

Considering this photographer is in the nation's largest city, he has a good bit of wetland and forest at his fingertips. Staten Island, or Staateneiland as the early Dutch settlers named it, is unique for the high proportion of parks in central and southern areas. All told, this Atlantic Ocean-facing spot has 12,300 acres of protected park land in its 58 square miles.

Many animals--red-tailed hawks, shorebirds, the occasional harbor seal--live along the island's reedy coastline and in its Greenbelt-defined middle. Eagles and osprey have designated nests and are increasing in number. Pugliares spends much of his free time shooting photos in the Mount Loretto Unique Area, which comprises 200 acres of grassland, forest and tidal wetlands. He also finds photos in the Greenbelt, an area of forest, streams, rocky hills, trails and a former Boy Scout camp at the center of the island.

Click Beetle, Elateridae
(Photo : Lawrence Pugliares)
Click Beetle, Elateridae

During the current bird migration, the photographer shoots shrikes and other birds in transit. He snags images of owls whenever possible, he says.

He has studied insects all his life, but realized recently while talking with a beetle expert that "it is endless what you don't know." However, learning a bit about each animal helps in photography. For instance, when he shoots eagles, he is aware that they usually defecate before lifting into the air. Knowing this, he can take his time to get ready for a shot.

Pugliares' vacations are always nature and shooting trips these days, he says. He has visited the Puget Sound to shoot orcas; northern Arizona for pronghorn antelope and other animals; and he has plans to see Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

Back in New York City, he says, "The ospreys and eagles are enough for me. I call ospreys the people's bird, because they work. The eagle is the bureaucratic/government bird that steals from the osprey. They're both incredibly acrobatic; I've seen eagles flying upside down more times than I could say."

Bald eagle flight, over Staten Island, N.Y.
(Photo : Lawrence Pugliares)
Bald eagle flight, over Staten Island, N.Y.

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