Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Bird That Shall Not Be Named

Some shots from the last two weeks.

Never quite get a good feeling shooting these guys but whatever.
Last weekend i decided to take Audy out in the fog to see if we could get some Lifer looks for her of the birds that shall not be named at the location that shall not be disclosed (although it doesn't really matter because these birds are the worst kept secret in the lower mainland, despite the best efforts of the local birding yahoo group).

My only looks at this species before was a couple of winters ago and the bird i photographed (along with everyone else) turned out to be a sick bird that was found dead days later.

Knowing that they have been somewhat reliable this winter i decided to spend more time in the area than i usually do with some results.
The bird we saw last weekend picked a roost out in the open and when we arrived the paparazzi was out in full force by the side of the road and i told Audy that this was her chance to see one.
We spent about an hour watching it snooze until it decided to fly a few feet to a more secluded spot deep in a tree.
Audy found an opening in the tree and i got off a few shots, the bird was wide awake and would later fly down the road further to get away from the mob.
We left it at that, the mob however chased it further still.
Yeh, i got a shot of the bird with it's eyes open in a fairly open spot but so did the other dozen photogs there, nothing too special and the bird didn't look comfortable did it?


Since i had friday off i decided to head out that way again, i was hoping to get a less crowded location than on the weekend.
That wasn't to be as photogs were all over the place, there was even one really close to the bird i spotted in my car on the drive up, perched in a ridiculously open location, i was speechless that there wasn't a crowd in front of it already, no one but me it turned out.
As it turned out, i only got two shots off before the bird itself decided that it's chosen perch was ridiculous and flew a few feet to a perch out of the open.
I got one shot i was really pleased with, even more so because every other photog in the area didn't get it :lol:


Since i knew where the bird went to, i decided to walk around a bit and come back later, which i did.
I set up and hid myself as best i could from owl-hungry eyes and spent the next hour watching the bird snooze unmolested.
I admit that in my mind during that time a head-turn (or open eyes) from the bird would have been golden, my position was precarious and i couldn't even move my body much because it would vibrate my tripod (which was on unsteady ground) but i waited patiently.
Eventually, my good thing turned out to be too good and a few people spotted me and decided that they would crash my private party.
My ploy of ignoring everyone didn't work in the end and eventually there was a small crowd gathered, too bad for them the only good uncluttered look was exactly where i was set up. I shouldn't complain too much i guess because the clumsy interlopers made a lot of noise getting to my location and that woke the bird up which turned it's head then and i got my shots, ironically enough.


What wasn't cool though was one person in particular that spotted my bird (yes, today it was my bird because no one else had it before i did that morning) and then went and started blabbing the location to everyone they saw, a crowd starts forming and next thing i see is the poor bird being surrounded from all sides (hey, at least the location i was at the bird was secure and safe since there was a deep ditch full of water between me and it), i was sure the bird would eventually flush when i saw one photog trespass onto the field from the opposite direction but i could watch no more and drove away.

I feel like someone in a glass house with stones when i try to discuss my feelings towards this whole owl/photog relationship because i of course want the same shots as everyone else, i just think photogs should be more discreet, especially when we are talking about these birds in particular that are in decline, you don't really need to tell everyone you see, do you?


Ian said...

I feel for you Paul. I find it very discouraging in the Lower Mainland and really relish those chances I get to go into the Interior. I used to love shooting landscapes as I could be the only person on the beach or wherever witnessing a unique display or situation. Virtually every shot I have taken birding outside the Lower Mainland has been a solitary experience (with wife often) and feels so much more special...
Nice work on these owls, and continued success. I know you put the special effort in and it shows!

Anonymous said...

I believe I saw you crouched on the bank of the ditch that morning. Looked very uncomfortable. I stayed a little longer after you had goneand was also disapointed with the people trespassing. When I left they were within 10 ft of the bird. No wonder photogs get a bad rap. Did however admire your call on staying back a quietly waiting. You got some great and well earned shots doing it the right way.

Paul Kusmin said...

cheers guys!

The Waiting Area

The Waiting Area