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Birds In Flight... Upload your photos.

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@@kittykat23uk - nice photo. I saw a Short-eared Owl on New Year's Day here in South Carolina, but the light was much too poor to get useable photos.

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Posted (edited)

This is a female Merlin (Falco columbarius), of the Taiga subspecies:

 

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She was hunting shorebirds at the Yawkey Wildlife Center in mid-coastal South Carolina this past Saturday. Just after this photo was taken, she captured and killed a Greater Yellowlegs. This was the only photo out of 5 that turned out. That little falcon was moving!

Edited by offshorebirder
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Posted (edited)

American White Pelicans flying over (26 degrees F / -3 C at 7:30am) the front beach at Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina.

February 14, 2015. Handheld Canon 7DmkI 300mm f/4 IS I lens at ISO 250, f/8, 1/2000 sec

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Edited by offshorebirder
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Posted (edited)

Yesterday I was at Bear Island Wildlife Management area looking for a vagrant Ruff that has eluded me a couple of times. Suddenly a male Northern Harrier came zooming past at medium range. I shot a few photos in gaps through the reeds, and upon examining them, noticed the Harrier had been banded (or 'ringed' as my British friends would say):

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Edited by offshorebirder

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Greater Flamingos in flight - sewerage farm near Cape Town September 2014

 

Canon 7D with 300mm F/2.8L IS USM 11 and x2 converter

 

cheers

 

David Taylor

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@@theplainswanderer

sewerage farm


You go on safari in the best places... is 5 star accomodation provided there?

 

;)

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Kelp gulls at Cloudy Bay, Bruny Island, Tasmania

 

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Black-faced cormorants, Friars Rocks, Bruny Island, Tasmania

 

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Pied oyster-catchers, Bruny Island, Tasmania

 

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@@theplainswanderer

 

sewerage farm

You go on safari in the best places... is 5 star accomodation provided there?

 

;)

nothing like a sewerage farm for birds!! Even if you are on safari in another country!!! Mind you we were taken there by a guide!!!!

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I am not sure if it is the same place but as I was driving into Cape Town a couple of weeks ago I noticed what looked like a drainage channel full of water with a bunch of flamingoes.

I was sorely tempted to try and fine a way to get close but the traffic was a bit hectic and I decided against it.

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Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in South Carolina:

 

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Posted (edited)

These were all takne at Marievale on Saturday. The White-throated swallow chicks have fledged, but are still being very demanding.

 

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We were also lucky enough to see a few Black Egrets, but catching one in flight is tricky as they tend to fly low and stay between the vegetation. This one was actually a bit too far away.

 

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This one is probably a failed attempt to turn a failed photo into art? It is a Cape Wagtail.

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Edited by Peter Connan
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White faced whistling ducks on the river a few weeks back:

 

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Posted (edited)

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) that has been present the past three weeks in a partly drained impoundment (former ricefield) between Winyah Bay and the North Santee River in South Carolina. It has been fattening up on Polychaete worms, insect larvae, and other food sources during a prolonged migration stopover.

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This bird is one of three indivuals present at the Yawkey Wildlife Center for the past few weeks.

Audubon's North American field guide has an apt description of this charming species:
"A trim, elegant plover. Swift and graceful in flight, probably one of the fastest fliers among shorebirds, and with good reason: it migrates every year from Arctic Alaska and Canada to southern South America."

I was fortunate to hear it calling as it flew by - here is a Xeno-canto recording from Argentina of P. Dominica calling in flight:

http://www.xeno-canto.org/sounds/uploaded/BYLLSJRVDZ/Pluvialis%20dominica%201c_Estancia%20El%20Matrero_La%20Brava_San%20Javier_Santa%20Fe_Argentina_1FEB2012_Bernabe%20Lopez-Lanus.mp3

Edited by offshorebirder
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Gymnogene (African Harrier-hawk) yesterday on the Kafue river.

 

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Then a wee while later a Pied Kingfisher:

 

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Quite enjoying early morning luggage runs right now....

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Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) on South Island, South Carolina. Photo taken during a shorebird survey, which followed a Black Rail survey I performed the night before.

 

 

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Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) on South Island, South Carolina. Photo taken during a shorebird survey, which followed a Black Rail survey I performed the night before.

 

~ @@offshorebirder

 

Those are TERRIFIC BIF images!

You're a wizard with regard to both spotting and image-making.

Deeply impressive and a welcome reminder of the beauty of North American bird species.

Thank you so much for posting these.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie - thanks for the kind words.

 

I am not a wizard though - I only bought my first DSLR 3.5 years ago and have so much more to learn. I think my good images are more a case of spending a lot of time in the field with my eyes and ears open, with a camera handy. I end up discarding a LOT of crummy images and kick myself for not getting any good ones during more encounters than I care to admit...

 

I avoided getting a "real" camera for many years, having noted the deleterious effect it had on people's birding. But I eventually gave in since I was missing the chance to document so many rarities. Now I wish I had gotten into photography much sooner.

 

Oh well - better late than never.

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@@Tom Kellie - thanks for the kind words.

 

I am not a wizard though - I only bought my first DSLR 3.5 years ago and have so much more to learn. I think my good images are more a case of spending a lot of time in the field with my eyes and ears open, with a camera handy. I end up discarding a LOT of crummy images and kick myself for not getting any good ones during more encounters than I care to admit...

 

I avoided getting a "real" camera for many years, having noted the deleterious effect it had on people's birding. But I eventually gave in since I was missing the chance to document so many rarities. Now I wish I had gotten into photography much sooner.

 

Oh well - better late than never.

 

~ @@offshorebirder

 

You and I are unexpectedly far more similar than I might have supposed.

My first DSLR was five years ago. I'd enjoyed field ecological observations notebook in hand.

After borrowing a student's mini-point & shoot camera, the hook was set, culminating in my present gear.

As I'm equally interested in rock formations, winged and crawling insects, rodents, and the larger fauna, I wouldn't merit being classed as a birder.

However, I'm highly bird-conscious. Therefore my safaris tend to frequently stop for birds. I've explained to my guide, Anthony, that I have no interest in the field in identifying the species, but rather seek reasonable quality images and sustained observation time of avian behavior. Identification may be deferred to my desk at home, with various field guides at hand.

Not much of a birder, but one who is enthralled by the place of winged organisms in the overall biome.

Like you I regret not having started doing nature photography earlier. Much was observed which would have been grand to have captured as an image to share with others.

Yet the rather late start has increased my pleasure in nature photography, as an deferred joy has an extra measure of delight.

Your lovely bird images match your insightful comments, which I've enjoyed reading in various places.

If not a wizard, then like a wizard, at least in my estimation.

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

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At first I was disappointed in the following photo and some of its companions. Then they started to grow on me.

 

I am not sure how it will go over, but this one was taken on a cloudy morning and I did not use flash because I did not want to even partially or temporarily blind the fantastic creature. There were Skuas and Jaegers around that might attack it in a disabled state.

 

 

White-tailedTropicbird maneuvering low overhead

Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

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Posted (edited)

Offshore bird photography is incredibly difficult. Not only are the birds moving, but so is the platform (boat) under one's feet! That means you need shutter speeds at least twice as fast as you would need for a similar situation on land. And keeping your target in the camera frame can be difficult with the boat pitching and one losing one's balance.

 

Here is a Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) foraging over the Gulf Stream near the "Charleston Bump" - an underwater seamount 80 miles southeast of Charleston that deflects the Gulf Stream and produces rich upwellings and a bounty of food. Great Shearwaters breed on islands in the far South Atlantic and in May and June they migrate to the North Atlantic to spend their "winter". The Bay of Fundy is one of their particular favorites.

 

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Edited by offshorebirder
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Posted (edited)

In addition to aerial flight, shearwaters like this Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) can "fly" underwater much as Penguins do. Watching them do so is a wonderful experience.

 

This Sooty Shearwater chased a baitfish towards the boat, then turned and gave excellent side views as it "torpedoed" and dove after its prey. Shearwaters often zip along barely below the surface beneath a thin film of water, in order to see beneath the water more effectively. Some people call this behavior "torpedoing".

 

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Edited by offshorebirder
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I am not a wizard though - I only bought my first DSLR 3.5 years ago and have so much more to learn. I think my good images are more a case of spending a lot of time in the field with my eyes and ears open, with a camera handy. I end up discarding a LOT of crummy images and kick myself for not getting any good ones during more encounters than I care to admit...

 

I avoided getting a "real" camera for many years, having noted the deleterious effect it had on people's birding. But I eventually gave in since I was missing the chance to document so many rarities. Now I wish I had gotten into photography much sooner.

 

Oh well - better late than never.

 

 

 

 

I think the quality of your images show the value of your expert knowledge of the birds you are photographing, the time you spend with them and your skill in getting in the right place for them. I am sure all wildlife photographers discard large numbers of crummy images.

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I am not a wizard though - I only bought my first DSLR 3.5 years ago and have so much more to learn. I think my good images are more a case of spending a lot of time in the field with my eyes and ears open, with a camera handy. I end up discarding a LOT of crummy images and kick myself for not getting any good ones during more encounters than I care to admit...

 

I avoided getting a "real" camera for many years, having noted the deleterious effect it had on people's birding. But I eventually gave in since I was missing the chance to document so many rarities. Now I wish I had gotten into photography much sooner.

 

Oh well - better late than never.

 

I think the quality of your images show the value of your expert knowledge of the birds you are photographing, the time you spend with them and your skill in getting in the right place for them. I am sure all wildlife photographers discard large numbers of crummy images.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

Count me as feeling 100% likewise on your comments above. Not so much as a whit of difference in out feelings.

As for me, the ‘discard rate’ is roughly 75%, i.e. there are approximately 25% ‘keepers’.

One goes out into the field to spot and observe — the camera and lens are there to preserve for others a record of what was observed.

Greatly like what you've commented above!

Tom K.

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You guys are doing well!

 

I keep less than 10%...

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You guys are doing well!

 

I keep less than 10%...

 

~ @@Peter Connan

 

If only the quality level of the 25% retained was even.

You're wiser, as by following your more stringent approach the overall quality is higher.

That's self-evident in your consistently superb South African bird images.

Tom K.

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