Monday 8 September 2014

In Search of the Sharpie

Sat Sept 6 2014 Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Delta B.C Sunny 26c

It was early in the morning, the lesser travelled outer dyke's path was still festooned with dew laden spider's web.

 In the distance a Belted Kingfisher dove for a fish, too far away for a decent photo but just one of those moments that gets indelibly etched into a birder's brain.
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)

The main objective of the morning was to locate the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that had recently been seen in one of the ponds. I had a distant look at one last week at 'The Mansion' so I was hopeful of seeing one again albeit a little closer this time.
When I arrived there were both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs feeding in the shallows of the West Field, their distinctive feeding patterns would help me locate the other sandpiper species that might be present. Some species seem to peck the water, others like the Stilt Sandpiper use rapid stabbing motions, the Yellowlegs feed like American Avocets. It wasn't long before the Yellowlegs spooked themselves (something they tend to do) and flew off leaving a single sandpiper feeding close to the, there was the Sharpie I had been looking for. Still, the bird was quite a distance away but as these shots hopefully demonstrate close-up aren't always the best option. I prefer shot #1 over the close-up, I feel it has better story telling.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)
Rather than zoom in more than I already have I chose to leave some of the pond's vegetation. The bull rushes leaning toward the bird forces the eye of the viewer toward the bird while providing information about the bird's habitat.

This closer picture of the Sharpie tells little more than it inhabits a watery environment. The reflection does give the image an"artsy" feel. Handheld with the Tamron 150mm-600mm VR enabled.

Turkey Vulture:A Bonus Shot

10.30 A.M.
As I left Reifel for home and camera packed away (always a bad idea) when I spotted Turkey Vulture flying above the sanctuary entrance. I have heard vultures have an incredible sense of smell. As I stood out in the open the bird flew closer and closer, eventually circling around and above me, at one point it was joined by a Northern Harrier. It might be a crazy theory but I think that bird was checking me out for a potential meal!
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
 These could be a little sharper which I put down to operator error or the bird is just too far away or a combination of both. I would hate to blame the Tamron but shooting at F6.3 and 600mm (900mm equivalent on my D7100 handheld might be pushing the limits. I still like the lens a lot and as I have mentioned I have already secured numerous 'keepers' purely because of its portability.

* check some of the same pictures on my Flickr.. I feel they are a tad sharper
I'm not sure but this may me a juvenile as the head is not very red but that could be a trick of the light.

I'm glad I took the effort to spend a few hours out on Saturday morning especially as there was no 'Footy" on the telly. Something to do with the international break for the European championships. These days with the PVR (best invention ever) I can watch the games anytime I like and not miss the birds.

"It's never too late to start birding or anything else for that matter"
Refusing to take life too seriously...
John Gordon 
Langley /Cloverdale

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