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Old Jun 27, 2004, 9:59 PM   #1
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Went today to my favorite spot for birding. For the past months, I was always hearing a 'strange' wacky sound coming from the marsh, first I didn't know what was it (ask MarcLB about it), then met someone who told me what it was ; a Common Moorhen (Poule d'Eau in French), but I could never get to see them.





Yesterday I bought a new set of binoculars, Canon 10x30 IS (Image Stabilizer) to improve my birding experience, and while walking near the pond/marsh, I could hear them. Finally I saw one, then 2, then 7 chicks.



The one above is my favorite one, look carefully the leg and toe of the bird, I can't tell which one is a male or a female, they look exactly the same., between the legs is a little chick, ugly little one they are, LOL !

This one was taken later on, it was already clouding over, eventually I had to leave, it started to rain.



Now this bird is the most difficult one I have ever caught, they are shy ! As soon as there's a suspecting noise, up they are hidden in the bush /grass. To take these shots, I had to litterally hide myself inside some dense bush, then I 'worked' an opening towards the marsh. Set the tripod and wait, wait... Eventually it paid off.

This one, I made a mistake, the chick was a little bit further away and even at the good distance I was from them, came OOF. Should have tried F/11 on that one, but I was limit. I wanted to keep the ISO at 400 max, and the further away you are, the more shutter speed is needed at 500mm, was taken at 1/500 sec.



The distance there were taken (all the shots) was between 50 and 80 feet.



This species eats aquatic plant, insects and snails. Interestingly my bird book says the immature one don't have a red beak, from the photo above the chicks are colourfull as well.



I invite you to view this in higher rez, it shows more details :

http://www.bytephoto.com/photopost/s...mp;ppuser=1867

So no, these are not ducks :-P

Cheers

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Old Jun 27, 2004, 10:52 PM   #2
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Eric, Eric, wow.

This bird's baby looks so much like the Coot infant that I was trying to photograph today but was not even beginning to get as successful as you. Wow, this bird is spectacular and your shots of it, at this distance, is nothing less than amazing. Great job. I hope you go back to get more as this bird is really cool.

Excellent job! And all of your work in the bush has definitely payed off here. Supreme! Boy, you know how to use that lens.


One more thing...doesn't it amaze you how it always begins to rain just when you don't want it to? Just so you know that it happens to me too, and you wouldn't want to be around me when it happens.
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 10:56 PM   #3
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nicely done eric! i didn't notice the baby until i read where you said they were there!

may i ask....how close are you to the birds (normally) when shooting? i'm guessing within 30 feet? if it is..these shots are pretty amazing! from such a distance, i'd guess this is full telephoto right?

anyway....gj...

Vito
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 11:09 PM   #4
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Normcar wrote:
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Eric, Eric, wow.

This bird's baby looks so much like the Coot infant that I was trying to photograph today but was not even beginning to get as successful as you. Wow, this bird is spectacular and your shots of it, at this distance, is nothing less than amazing. Great job. I hope you go back to get more as this bird is really cool.

Excellent job! And all of your work in the bush has definitely payed off here. Supreme! Boy, you know how to use that lens.


One more thing...doesn't it amaze you how it always begins to rain just when you don't want it to? Just so you know that it happens to me too, and you wouldn't want to be around me when it happens.

Thanks Norm, appreciate it, they are very very hard to get. They don't swim from one area to the next like ducks, they use the tall grass and other aquatic plants to move around, always hiding.. I could count the 7 chicks only with new binoculars through the grass again. Interestingly, both parents "splits" to feed the babies, but they always call each other. They are the toughest things I ever caught so far, they are masters of hiding. One reason we see less and less of these species is because of our own fault, less and less marsh lands around due to human devellopment (mainly residential houses built near prime rivers and so on)

Another anecdote, when I saw the darkening clouds, I knew my day was over, was only noon.. geez... and then walked off the tight row of trees where I was hiding and didn't pay attention... camera was off, I was not ready and turned my head where I was walking, making noise.. to meet face to face with this beautiful White Tail Deer, hop hop away it went towards the forrest, what a beautiful creature it is... Never had the chance to even turn on the camera and try something.

Another note, I've started to see baby yellow Warbler flying with their parents, geez they are already full size ! Funny thing is, they still have those weird feathers on their head, that's how I reconized them as babies. The parents hops from one tree to the next with the babies following, and the parents gives them insects to eat.

Now I want to get another shot at those Hen, I found there nest area, I'll take shots and watch the little ones progress. The hardest thing about that species is they don't want to get further away from one side of the shore (which is inacessible, unless you have a canoe). But patience will pay off.

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Old Jun 27, 2004, 11:19 PM   #5
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photosbyvito wrote:
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nicely done eric! i didn't notice the baby until i read where you said they were there!

may i ask....how close are you to the birds (normally) when shooting? i'm guessing within 30 feet? if it is..these shots are pretty amazing! from such a distance, i'd guess this is full telephoto right?

anyway....gj...

Vito

Thanks Vito, most of my tiny bird shots are always taken under 20 feet, over that most of the time, I won't even post-process them. But since this species was so shy, I had to work this out. I found even with a tripod, you need minimum 1/500 sec so the shot is not blurred. 1/640 or 1/800 is better. I did this a test today while waiting to get shots of these birds, I was shooting at the same distance to a aquatic plant on the other shore (60 feet about) and even with the timer on (10 sec), the shot was still bad at 1/500 and lower. I think the mirror flap induces some vibration, and the further away you are, the more amplitude that slight vibration is replicated. What I mean is at 20 feet or less, the vibration is present, but since its short cycle, low amplitude, you will get away with it. But the greater the distance, the higher the amplitude gets, so 1/800 (or more)seems to be the best scenario.

I think lens like what Eric s uses, his 100-400 IS and 600 L IS eleminate this (part of the magic of IS from Canon).

This is my latest understanding why shots are not that good at higher distance with a long telephoto without IS. I even think its good for one thing, I'll explain :

Lets say you are at18 feet, shoot F/8, the DOF is quite tight yet. The amplitude of the mirror flap /shutter is not showing much at 18 feet. But everything over lets say twice that distance is not only OOF, but also blurred by the vibration. Kinda like 2 ways of blurring the background in one. But I can't tell what percentage it is compared to the optic physics of lens (OOF).

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Old Jun 27, 2004, 11:31 PM   #6
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Eric, if that is a concern I've read in the Canon portion of the forum that there is a mirror lock firmware download. I'm personally not sure if this is a necessity if one uses a good tripod and a remote shutter, but apparently some think it is. I personally doubt that a mirror movement will cause too much trouble.
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Old Jun 28, 2004, 1:22 AM   #7
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Eric, you got yourself a great series of shots of this reclusive bird! They are a heck of a lot better than the pictures posted for identification on the Cornell University "All About Birds" website.

I know that you mentioned that your bird field guide states that the immature birds do not have the red-orange beak. Your pictures seem to indicate otherwise. Interestingly, the All About Birds website states that the immature birds have a drab, maroonish bill and that is not the color I would use to describe the immature birds you have photographed.

So, Eric, how many mosquitos or horseflies ended up biting you on this little jaunt into the swamps? When I used to live near the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, I'd often go birding there and would get eaten alive.
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