Thursday 17 October 2013

Black-necked Stilt/Canon Test Update and Cranberry Birds

Oct 16 2013 Derby Reach/Allard Cresent, Fort Langley B.C.   Foggy morning/sunny afternoon.
What a week, I have been so occupied shooting an add campaign for Parks Canada, speaking engagements and a photo/video shoot for a Fort Langley cranberry farm that I hadn't had time to get out and bird. On a positive side, the extra work has set me up for my next road trip.
The days were long with early mornings and evening photo sessions. The afternoons were taken up with editing. I did however manage to PVR England's two successful World Cup qualifying games. During my photo shoot at the cranberry farm I could hear what I thought were sandpipers but with other matters at hand I just let it pass, besides I didn't have my bins with me.
During the brief breaks in the action I also spotted a pair of Belted Kingfishers rattling across the bog and a Red-tailed hawk glided down from a fir tree to catch prey. Just as the light was getting soft and golden a flock of seven American Pipits landed behind me on a pile of sand. Luckily I was at my car and the 500mm was quickly taken from its case and Voila! They then flew down to the waters edge for a drink, their yellow/brown bodies contrasting against the red and yellow cranberries. Some shots just can't be made and best left at that.

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)
 in the evening 'sweetlight'
As I was leaving for the day and moments after the sunset a small flock sandpipers landed just in front of me, the question to answer was which type of sandpiper? I had already packed everything in the trunk ready for my trip home but I know a little extra effort can sometimes pay didvidends. The trick was to extracate myself from the car and set up my camera without spooking the birds which were twenty feet away. I started with a D300 and 70-200 2.8 zoom and as it was quite dark I threw on a SB800 flash on to give myself at least the chance of obtaining an indentification shot. The bird was still too far away so I switched to my 500mm which I handheld with VR function enabled.
*Same set-up for the Pipit shot minus the flash.
The flock turned out to be Pectorals (they could have been somehing more exotic) who were feeding on worms and insects among flooded cranberries fields.
I'm not a fan of monoculture but the amount birdlife was quite encouraging. Hundreds of ducks, geese and other LBJ's. The resident Sandhill Cranes have left by this time of year and the Black bear and cub haven't been seen for a week due probably to all the activity in the cranberry bog.
Pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)
Not too bad for a non birding day, Eh!

The Canon SX50 HS 
I have mentioned in my previous blog I am a big fan of the Canon SX50 HS 24mm-1200mm zoom camera. I use it when on nature walks where I want to move very quickly and don't want to be burdened with lens/tripod etc. One frustration I found was the shutter lag. However, after studying the online PDF guide I have found the answer.
Set the camera to SCN and chose the HQ option and you can shoot 10 full resolution frames a second without the lag. Great for bird action and (some) Canuck's games.

Flock to the Rock: 
Stilt picture featured in White Rock paper. The Black-necked-Stilt that is and continues to attract birders to White Rock New has been the talk of the promenade. I thought that if sent a picture to the Peace Arch News more people might enjoy going down and seeing the bird. Here's the tearsheet and a link.

For more see: Peace Arch News
Black-necked Stilt link

1 comment:

  1. John, glad you had a great birding day, when doing something else! Nice to see you published!