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Old May 4, 2007, 8:54 PM   #1
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Hi All,

After seeing what spectacular birds the Yellow-headed Blackbirds are thanks to Roger's post, I went to an area that was recommended to me by a Canon shooter I recently met while birding in another area. Only saw 2, and they were pretty far away, and not interested in being photographed.

As luck has it, it's in the same place as the man-made Great Blue Heron rookery I've posted pics of here. After seeing some satellite photos of the area (Google Maps is one of the wonders of the internet), I saw that there was a way to get closer -- a lot closer than I previously thought possible. It meant hiking in from another direction, taking a long way around a lot of obstacles, but it was doable, even for a guy with Congestive Heart Failure, so I thought I give it a try.

The light was terrible, rain was forcast for later in the afternoon, and I'd not only have to lug the SP300 with stack TCs, but also a tripod since the nests are so high, there's no way that I could hold the DS with the beast mounted above my shoulders for as long as I knew that I'd need to. I could see a bunch of GBHs on the nests from a distance, so I knew I could get shots. . .

Anyway, these aren't great, but I'm pretty satisfied.

First I got pretty close, and got some shots of the moms -- most were standing, but some were hunkered down in the nests.



I saw that I could get closer. . .



Too close! The birds were a little freaked and would fly off, but returned right away.



I backed off, to keep from disturbing them, and found out why they didn't just leave and stay away.









There seemed to be at least two and probably three babies per nest, and from what little I could see, they were in slightly different stages of development from nest to nest, as you would expect. The babies were only evident for less than a minute at a time, then they'd disappear into the nest for quite a while. I spent the time in between appearances picking ticks off my pants. . . arghhhhhhhh!!!!! . . . and then it starts to rain when I'm dragging my butt back, but still 100 yards away from the car. .

. . . But the shots were worth it. . .:-)

Thanks for looking. . .

Scott



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Old May 4, 2007, 9:12 PM   #2
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thanks for posting these scott. wish they were bigger tho. the next to the last is something i haven't seen. congrats.

roy
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Old May 4, 2007, 9:21 PM   #3
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Nice shots on a gray day. I like that ungainley take-off you captured.

Tim
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Old May 4, 2007, 9:36 PM   #4
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Hi All,

First I got pretty close, and got some shots of the moms -- most were standing, but some were hunkered down in the nests.


I backed off, to keep from disturbing them, and found out why they didn't just leave and stay away.

There seemed to be at least two and probably three babies per nest, and from what little I could see, they were in slightly different stages of development from nest to nest, as you would expect. The babies were only evident for less than a minute at a time, then they'd disappear into the nest for quite a while. I spent the time in between appearances picking ticks off my pants. . . arghhhhhhhh!!!!! . . . and then it starts to rain when I'm dragging my butt back, but still 100 yards away from the car. .

. . . But the shots were worth it. . .:-)

Thanks for looking. . .

Scott
Scott,

Nice shots with an gear combo that I envy.

I am to try out this weekend sailing through just around 1/2 miles length of swamp to the same rookery from another direction/angle. I still have to face with the nest/GBH straight 60ft. overhead and backlight - they are natural nests.
Knowing that this is likely the last chance this late spring with 40 GBHs around me, I just have to put up with the ticks or whatever there. It is almost not a matter of photography now. When leaves and rain come these two weeks, the area will likely not be accessible at all. I need some luck definitely.

As you said, the shots worth it. Sometimes, I may not be able to get some decent shots


Daniel, Toronto
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Old May 4, 2007, 9:42 PM   #5
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robar wrote:
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thanks for posting these scott. wish they were bigger tho. the next to the last is something i haven't seen. congrats.

roy
Hi Roy,

How's this -- I figured the post was long enough as it was without having larger pics.

Here are the last two:





The babies look like their heads are way too big for their bodies

Scott
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Old May 4, 2007, 11:35 PM   #6
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Wow! OK they aren't coffee-table-book perfect, but that's OK - they are awesome just the same. I love the babies, and the one with its tiny wings out is priceless.
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Old May 5, 2007, 2:00 AM   #7
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Scot a great series, and story. It was more than worth the effort. - Ronny
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Old May 5, 2007, 2:19 PM   #8
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Love these pics - No3 in the first batch and the last one in the second batch.

Congrats on some good pics and thanks for sharing



Darren
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Old May 5, 2007, 3:31 PM   #9
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The extra effort really paid of for you. This is a great series. The baby with his spread wings is just the best smile photo I have seen for a while. You dond did gooood. Good luck next time on the yellow-headed black birds.

TOTALLY WACKY roger
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Old May 6, 2007, 10:21 PM   #10
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Great shots, thankyou for sharing.
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