Heron Pond Birthday Report

Monday was my birthday and I took the day off from the day job. Went back to the Heron Pond and set up about 15 yards from my Sunday location because the shorebirds seemed to like that area. Action was some what sparse early since most of the birds were feeding at the upper (parking lot end). Luckily there were some terns fishing and watching them was quite entertaining. Trying to photograph them is quite a challenge since they are small and extremely fast.

About 30 minutes after sunrise, the shorebirds began to mill around and I believe that the migration may be starting. There was the mega flock of around 100 birds and several smaller groups of from 10 to 30 birds flying from one end of the pond to the other. The two flock shots have several birds cropped out to meet the 800 pixel size for the web– add that to the narrow field of view of the 500 with the extender and the pictures do not do justice to the number of birds in the air.

Favorite shot of the day is the Preening Pectoral Sandpiper. “Educational” shots of the day are the two flowers. If any of you know the name of the flowers,I’d appreciate you ‘educating’ me.

This post was edited 8/6/2012, because it described how to get down to the water’s edge to photograph the shore birds from the parking lot area. It seems that doing that is against the rules of the area. The regulations ( there is no sign that informs you) are to stay on the mowed paths.


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4 thoughts on “Heron Pond Birthday Report

  1. That’s good to hear about the influx of new birds! The hot weather and lack of water has made it tough on them…and ME! Cabelas has got a pair of rubber boots on sale right now for $65. I think I might go and get me a pair. I have chest waders, but that’s a little much.

    I emailed Napadol Paothong to ask him which camera body he likes to shoot with the best (1D II, 1Ds III, or the Mark IV). Haven’t got a response yet, but I think I know his answer. I figure if I don’t like it I can always sell the thing and get my money back…maybe even turn a profit.

    Did you read about the 1Dx not being able to auto-focus with a lens that has a max aperture smaller than f/8, like when using a 1.4 tele on a 800mm, or a 2x on a 600mm?
    Chuck Westfall (Canon USA), through Arthur Morris, confirms this: “AF is unavailable on the EOS-1D X if the maximum aperture reported to the camera through the electronic lens mount is smaller than f/5.6.” . Hmmmm. This really wouldn’t effect me now with a 600mm and a 1.4, but no 2x and no 800mm with a 1.4! Plus a full frame sensor…Canon hates us nature photographers.

    • Hey Jeff
      The rubber knee boots come in handy. I hit a real soft spot walking along the ditch route and sunk almost to the boot top. I think pNap will be speaking at STL CAMERA CLUB early this club year,so you can ask him then.
      Except for maybe less noise,your current outfit works as good as the MKIV. Your experience with the AF makes me wonder if it was camera or operator ;))
      Opinions about the 1DX sound like it is a champ when it comes to AF,but that is a lot of jack to buy one. I will see if I can find the reviews from Andy Rouse and several others,including some Nikon pros that think highly about the camera. The F8 thing does present a problem for the “focal length challenged”— and we are all “focal length challenged” LOL. The large,clean files supposedly allow for a lot of cropping while still retaining quality.

      One photographer said that the 1DX,as the Canon standard bearer,makes the 600 the new 500 and the 800 is new the 600 for wildlife photography. Not sure I totally agree,but if Canon stops making crop sensor cameras and charges Nikon prices for the Big L’s………a lot of serious amateurs are going to be priced out of the market. Then again, it is only money……..right? I wonder if the retirement fund will ever recover. I hope Molly can find some good Alpo casserole recipes LOL

  2. User error or camera AF? Well, I’ll find out here soon enough.

    As far as Canon goes, it realy doesn’t make any sense. They won’t be forcing a lot of new X owners into buying an 800, because they can still use their 600 with a 1.4 on it and achieve 840. In fact, their 800 sales will fall to near zero…..why by one?

    Nappadol emailed me back this morning, he said the Mark IV is his go-to body. He has no interest in the X because of all the reasons we just discussed.

    I look forward to meeting him. I’ll forward his email to you.

    Ever used a 2X? I know Matt shoots with one. Been thinking about trying one.

    • 2X? Yes sir,I have. I have used it on a 500 F4 and a 300 F 2.8. It slows things down as far as auto focus and you give up 2 stops of light. On my ancient technology MKIIN and the 40D and 30D,it is a trade off between distance,AF and photo quality. Your modern high ISO rig can compensate for the stop of light but you still slow AF and your long lens technique has to be near flawless. Arthur Morris has shown some images where he has stacked extenders to some ungodly focal length and says the success rate is low due to sharpness,heat distortion/atmospheric conditions and just keeping vibration to a minimum. The only way to see if it fits your style is to try them. The rental rate is pretty low.

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