Friday 11 October 2013

"A Little Off Course"

Oct 10 2013 White Rock, British Columbia Canada. Cloudy with Sunny breaks
A Black-necked Stilt, a bird rarely seen on our shoreline, has been spotted at one of B.C's most popular beaches. A walking path and busy railway track are only yards away from the scenic White Rock promenade from which the bird can be easily observed.
The long-legged bird began drawing birders and photographers soon after it was spotted by Floyd en al  Wednesday afternoon.

The Stilt is a 'Lifer' for me and a few yards down the beach was another, a Franklin's Gull. That is three 'Lifers' in October, the Lapland Longspur being the third.
I was also testing out a Nikon D800 which meant I missed a few flight shots because of the slow motor drive and buffer writing the huge files. The jury is still out and my tests on the D800 are still ongoing. I might just be the user, unfamiliar with the camera controls.

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) in flight.
Scale: How big is this bird? About 14 inches tall. The stilt walks between two Cackling Geese on the White Rock foreshore. The bird is also hanging out with a Willet which winters on the coast. Both birds nest in the interior and prairies. The Willet migrates to winter on the coast and the Stilt to the warmer climes further south.

The bird itself was easy to find, no skill required, just look for the long lenses, tripods, safari hats, Billy Oddie lookalikes and a mostly unshaven male binocular carrying rabble.
I suppose this can be termed a "mini twitch" with passersby showing just as much an interest and sharing stories about their own sightings. Everyone, it seems has a bird story to share. Birds bring out the best in people, one of the reasons I enjoy birding so much.

The Stilt will refuel before heading to warmer climes possibly
Central America or the Southern USA for the winter.

The shot below is photographed with the $399 Canon SX50 HS. The APS sensor point and shoot is perfect for those who don't want to lug around tripods and heavy glass. It is ideal for the birder who wants to take identification shots and perhaps make small prints. I use mine to shoot scenics as well as test images like the one below. Compare it with the images above taken with the D800.
Even as a web shot a softness to the image is apparent and feather detail is poor.

Good Birding


1 comment:

  1. John, great sighting! Congrats on the lifers! I have one this month!