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Old Oct 1, 2007, 3:50 AM   #1
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I was at my usual spot at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary this afternoon. My friend Dan and I were sitting on the ground near the shore quietly photographing avocets and black neck stilts. Out of the blue, some guy comes up behind me.

"You guys can't be down there. This area is a protected wildlife sanctuary. You can't leave the trails."

I turned around and looked back up at him. We were sitting less than 10 feet from the trail and were a good 30 feet from the nearest bird. I looked at him. He wasn't a park ranger or anyone of authority. He was just a birder with a pair of binoculars and a serious stick up his a$$.

I mean come on. I love and respect wildlife too. I would never do anything to stress or impinge upon the habitat of these animals. We were just sitting there quietly photographing them. We were not photographing them standing up or even making any noises. I had another bird photographer friend who also got an earful from another bird watcher about getting too close to the birds. I have never had any problems with other bird photographers. It's just these fanatical bird watchers with their binoculars around their necks and bird guides in their backpockets.

Have you guys ever been harrassed when you were out shooting before???

1) Greater Yellowlegs...I think.



2) I looked over at my friend and rolled my eyes. Grabbing my camelbak, we walked back up to the trail which is elevated above the pond. From this spot not only are you much further away from the birds, but you are also shooting down at an angle towards them. I half heartedly took a few shots but gave up because I knew that I would not use any of them.

You know it's been a slow day when I am posting pics of coots...



3) Not that I am disparaging against this bird, but am I the only one that finds them quite odd looking. Their blood shot eyes, skeleton mask like face, and their oversized reptilian like feet...freaky little buggers.



thanks for looking and commenting

- Hung
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 8:49 AM   #2
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That story is all too common. Bird "watchers" are exceptionally nuts in my opinion. They don't (in general) care for photogs and will harrass us when given the opportunity. I will admit to having a run in with a local birding "legend" at a place where me and another photog found a rare species to this area "Prairie warbler" and reported it to the MOU (Minnesota Ornathologists Union). We thought we were doing something nice by letting the statewide bird fanatics in on our finding, but when we came back to photograph this guy, one woman and a man wer adamant about us being off of the groomed path and a few feet into the woods.... the story goes on and on but to make it short, she basically talked down her nose at us and I got sick of it and told her I would give her and him exactly the same amount of respect they were giving us, which was none. It didn't ever get indignant, but was going that direction before they left. I have no problem respecting nature as I've spent most of my life doing just that... but I do have a problem with people who think they can walk around and tell others what they can and cannot do. I will say that not all birder types are like this, but they sure have there share of over the top fanatics who need other hobbies as well to live a more balanced life.


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Old Oct 1, 2007, 9:34 AM   #3
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Just tell them you have a permit. You have been hired to photograph the birds for a new exotic cook book. "wild fowl for fine dinning"
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 10:27 AM   #4
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Hi Hung. Very nice series.

Sorry to hear about your harrassement. We too have some Nutbars up here like that. I was also about 10 feet off of a trail one day, and standing in some grass, when one of our local Nutbars more or less said the same to me, and gave me s__t for leaving the trail, and then proceeding to tell me about all the dos and don'ts of wildlife viewing. The funny thing is, is that we have a local photog at our sanctuary who has free reign over the place. Apparently he's the designated photographer for the sanctuary. Well one day, I saw him well off the trail literally thrashing around in the bush disturbing god knows what in search of a fish an Osprey had dropped. I asked the Nutbar about this behavior, and he got all googly eyed as he said, oh that's ok for him to do that...he's the local pro (like he has some kind of god status). He's a wildlife photographer and is allowed to do as he wishes. Lol. I guess the rest of us are just hacks and deserve no respect. And for what it's worth, I recently saw the same Nutbar well off a trail sneaking up on a birdie, no doubt disturbing it eventually. ...cheers...Don
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 5:55 PM   #5
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Hung, Fantasticshot of the Greater Yellowlegs.

Sorry to hear about the confrontation. I haven't had too many issues with the local birders around here, they're usually a friendly bunch. I do tend to stay away from the Sanctuaries though, theyseem attract the hardcore birders and enviro-nuts.Instead Ifrequent the local preserves which tolerate some interaction with the wildlife. I did have an issue with a sociopath jogger once, he was very upset that I was blocking "his" trail with my camera and tripod. The jogger was way out of line and it almost came to blows :P
but I'll just stickwith the wildlife preserves and parks and just step around the dog dodo and joggers.

-Kent
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 6:48 PM   #6
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Gee both he and you are doing the same things...looking at birds with glass , plastic and metal devices. The only difference is that you have a button to press...not his...but the shutter release.

I think he has overstepped his bounds...if he attempts it again, tell the Ranger...maybe the nutbar will get the heave ho.
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 11:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the support guys.

- Hung
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 11:36 PM   #8
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Re: Using flash for avian photography

Shooting birds among the foliage, the use of flash is sometimes a big help. Have you guys the experience of being told by a bird watcher that you should not use the flash as that will scare the bird?

I thinkbird watchers has their reasons, but how about your feeling for using flash, as one fond of avianphotography? Can you accept it from the bird watcher's protective point of view?

In addition, can you accept it that the one next to you keeps on using the flash?

I like using flash and I will use it when others are not shooting the one I am focusing at.
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Old Oct 2, 2007, 8:53 AM   #9
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Hi Hung:

Sorry you were hassled . . . Two weeks ago I was admonished by a young ranger at Bolsa Chica. I was sitting on the lip of the path, where I was when you and I met for the first time (and in the exact same spot); he (Jeff) said I had to stay up on the path. Obviously, he would have objected to the much lower (nearer the water surface) position that you took that day. I saw no reason for his complaint, but he was quite firm about it, so I complied. I doubt I would have "followed orders" had he been a birder, however.

Wendell

PS: Please don't be so hard on us "old coots" . . .
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Old Oct 2, 2007, 10:41 AM   #10
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wk7leung: i use flash on birds rarely. i don't often find myself under the foliage much around here. i would think that it is ok. obviously if the bird is annoyed then it can fly away. the one situation where i would not use flash is if a bird is nesting in a tree. i would not want to stress the bird that it may abandon its nest.

wendell: wow. i guess they are pretty strict all over the place. and you weren't even that far down either. jeez! hey even though you may be retired, you are definitely not an "old coot." heheheheh.



- hung
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