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Old Jun 4, 2009, 4:14 AM   #1
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Default A pretty good day. . . (3 images)

Hi All,

I've been alternating between "getting skunked" (having NO luck) and sitting around waiting for the rain to stop lately. Today was better. . .All of these were handheld with nothing to lean against (except the lying down part)

I was driving past a little local lake, and I spotted this guy

Black Crowned Night Heron. K20, FA* 300/4.5 -- 8x10 vertical crop from a landscape shot -- resized.

When the wind died down and the water smoothed out, I had to take an obligatory "reflection" shot

After it left, I circled around the lake and saw this guy. I parked the car, but when I got to the spot where it had been, it was gone. I walked down the shore, and about 1/8 mile away, I found it right where the BCNH had been.

Great Blue Heron. K20, FA* 300/4.5 -- 8x10 crop only -- resized

I had to crawl out from behind a bush and lie down on the ground to get a clear shot under the overhanging branches. It was an awkward hold.

I had originally been planning to go to the local Nature Center, so after the GBH left, I headed out. There was nothing really going on there, and I saw a couple of Red Tailed Hawks flying over the river, so I thought maybe I'd get lucky. . . but when I got to the river bank, all I saw were a bunch of Barn Swallows flitting around grabbing some of the abundant mosquitoes. I spent about an hour trying to just get one in the VF, but I'm lousy at this, and they are very fast. . . then this guy landed on a cement patch about 30 ft away. I took a couple of shots, mounted the 1.7x AFA, and took a step at a time to get closer, and taking a few shots. It took a couple of minutes, but apparently I didn't much faze this guy.

Barn Swallow. K20, FA* 300/4.5, P F 1.7x AFA -- full height 8x10 crop --resized.


I don't really recall ever seeing one on the ground before.

Anyway, I was able to get quite a few good shots of each of these guys. I consider this a pretty good days shooting. . . especially after the way things have gone the past week.

Scott
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 7:55 AM   #2
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Great shots, although they are equal I like the Barn Swallow best. Probably because I have spend a few hours (understatement) last year trying to get a descent shot of a swallow (other brand) and didn't succeed. They did land on a rock but never stayed long enough to get them in focus. (me being to slow)

Cheers

Ronny
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 9:06 AM   #3
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Nice shots, I have some swallows building a nest above the door out of moss, so I know they are on the ground some of the time although I don't see any nesting material where yours is sitting.

Tom
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 9:27 AM   #4
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All three are nice, but I really like the barn swallow. I spent several outings this Spring trying to track these guys in flight....with little success. Then, I had a similar experience as you with a Northern Rough-Winged Swallow. It was busy building a nest and landed on a PVC pipe about ten feet from me and posed for five minutes.

Nice work.

Paul
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 2:26 PM   #5
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A good days shoot? I'd say so!
I've only been lucky enough to see one BCNH and only got a fair shot of it. all your pix are wonderful! I can relate to your Swallow episode, same here with the Purple Martins.
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 5:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhermans View Post
Great shots, although they are equal I like the Barn Swallow best. Probably because I have spend a few hours (understatement) last year trying to get a descent shot of a swallow (other brand) and didn't succeed. They did land on a rock but never stayed long enough to get them in focus. (me being to slow)
Hi Ronny,

Thanks!

I've learned that they don't like a straight line approach, and I have to move VERY slowly, including bringing the camera up to my eye -- and this only works occasionally -- this time I got lucky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ennacac View Post
Nice shots, I have some swallows building a nest above the door out of moss, so I know they are on the ground some of the time although I don't see any nesting material where yours is sitting.
Hi Tom,

Thanks!

These guys build mud nests (at least the ones I've seen), using what looks like their own feathers to pad it. I've seen them gathering the mud, but they seem to just dip down and grab it with their feet, staying on the wing. I've only seen them at rest on building ledges and roofs.

Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojansoc View Post
All three are nice, but I really like the barn swallow. I spent several outings this Spring trying to track these guys in flight....with little success. Then, I had a similar experience as you with a Northern Rough-Winged Swallow. It was busy building a nest and landed on a PVC pipe about ten feet from me and posed for five minutes.

Nice work.
Hi Paul,

Thanks!

My hat's off to anyone who can just capture a swallow in flight in any shot, even if it's out of focus and totally blurred with motion. I just s*ck at BIF, but continually try, thinking that I'll eventually get some magical insight into how to do it --- my shutter finger has pretty good reaction time, but it must be concentrated there because the whole rest of my body has a reaction time that's usually measured in minutes. . .

Scott

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Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post
A good days shoot? I'd say so!
I've only been lucky enough to see one BCNH and only got a fair shot of it. all your pix are wonderful! I can relate to your Swallow episode, same here with the Purple Martins.
Hi GW,

The only BCNH rookeries that I've heard of around here are pretty far away, but they seem to like this local pond -- it's a great small bluegill and crappie lake -- and this tends to make it a very productive Largemouth lake (for an urban area). It supports a good number of very large (for Northern IL that means over 4 lb --) Largemouth Bass. I used to average 4-6 4+ pounders per season out of this lake when I was really into C&R bass fishing with ultra light gear quite a few years back. . . but it's very hard to fish due to limited shore access and the fact that it fills with weeds very quickly.

A couple of weeks ago, I actually saw 5 adult BCNHs at this lake in an area small enough that I could have gotten all of them in one shot with a 50mm lens. Yesterday, a juvenile flew out from behind some brush while I was shooting the adult. This lake surprisingly borders on a 700+ unit condo complex, and people are constantly amazed that Herons and Egrets frequently fish here.

Scott
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 8:32 PM   #7
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Scott - I agree with you about the skittish swallows - great fun to watch, impossible (for me) to photograph. Our BCN Herons are also very shy, I've only got distant shots of adults, but close to the immatures. All these photos are wonderfully done - thanks for sharing!
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 2:16 AM   #8
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They are all great, I love the Black Crowned Night Heron, the reflection in the dark green water is beautiful and the Great Blue Heron is a magnificent bird plus the swallow is down right cute.
Well captured Scott.

Rodney.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 4:24 AM   #9
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Very good captures indeed! I especially liked #1 with full reflection both for clarity and composition taking advantage of the dark background as well. The image was shot vert timely regarding the pose and from the most representative angle displaying the characteristics of the species as in ancient Egyptian wall paintings!
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 7:45 AM   #10
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All are beautiful. I'm especially jealous of the barn swallow. When I went out to take the shot of the oil rig there was an overpass taken over by barn swallows. Probably close to a hundred. I didn't even attempt to capture them. Knew it was an impossible task.

Patty
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