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Old Jan 9, 2005, 5:17 PM   #1
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This guy was on the ground just digging away at something. I was able to sneak up pretty close.

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Old Jan 9, 2005, 7:53 PM   #2
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I'd bet he was digging up grubs. I basically never see them on the ground... looks weird to me.

These are lovely birds, I enjoy photographing them when I can. You did a good job with these.

I wonder if this is a winter plumage thing... when I see them in the summer the white spots are on white feathers not redish/brown as in these pictures.

Eric
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 9:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
I'd bet he was digging up grubs. I basically never see them on the ground...
I'd say that's a very good possibility. The ones I photographed last summer were almost all on the ground picking at worms and such. I think this is the female red shafted without that black line of a moustache.

Nice shots zoomn. If it wasn't so cold out here it wouldn't be so bad as I can get some photos of some birds, but when it's cold like this you guys are really making me jealous with all of your photos of breeds that disappeared from here long ago.

Did you get that tripod yet? I was looking back at some of my old 50-500 posts this afternoon and even ran into a flicker photo. Then Eric CAN appears (Mr. 50-500 himself) out of the blue, and you come up with a shot of what looks like the exact flicker I was shooting. Life is interesting to say the least...ah, Least Flycatcher! Now watch, you'll go out and find one of those tomorrow:-)
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 12:43 AM   #4
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Eric, it's strange that you never see the eastern variants of these flickers on the ground. Flickers love the ground. Their bills are made for rooting into the soil and digging up grubs and worms and other insects to eat. It must be a peculiarity in your local populations.

Norm, this is a male red-shafted flicker. It's only the yellow-shafted flicker that has the black moustache, and only the males at that, as you correctly pointed out. Despite the fact that both variants are now classified as just the Northern Flicker, there are real id characteristics that differ between the subspecies, the most visible when flying being the yellow-shafted versus red-shafted feathers on the wing undersides. Take a close look at your field guide to compare the two subspecies.

Zoomn, nice shots here. I think on a brighter day you might also be able to get some shots of them in flight as they are not the fastest flyers and would afford you a sporting chance at capturing them like that.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 5:31 AM   #5
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Some really nice shots of these guys. They used to look really cool when
they fly off and that white tuft of feathers pop out of theeir butt. I say
used to, because I haven't seen any around here in a VERY long time. They
used to be quite common a year or so ago and before. Not sure what is
happenning to them around here.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 8:29 AM   #6
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Thanks for taking a look , appreciate your comments.

This may have been a younger bird, it looked kind of small for a flicker.

Geoffs I don't think this lens is going to be ideal for in flight shots. It is not the fastest focuser. I have been getting lots of practice though on ducks and geese, slowly getting better at it.

Normcar yes the tripod is in the house. Been making great use of it. Really makes a difference. I think it is safe to say I will not be bringing in a Flycatcher shot, never seen one to my knowledge. My current nemesis is the Kingfisher.Probably see 10 a day but can't get close to one.Tried sitting and waiting by their favorite perches and given it the ultimate stealth mode sneak, all to no avail. One of these days............


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Old Jan 10, 2005, 10:50 AM   #7
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Very nice Zoomn. Making great use of your lens.

Kingfishers are also one of the toughest ones for me. I only have2-3 shots.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 5:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
I don't think this lens is going to be ideal for in flight shots. It is not the fastest focuser
For what it's worth, I got some of the best flight shots with that lens zone focusing. Since that lens shoots very sharp at F8 when I watched the wildlife I could almost predict where one would fly by or land. I'd get focus on that area and get the shot many times. I think it's a good technique no matter what lens one has. Sometimes manual will do the trick even better than AF. I've found that birds for the most part are extremely habitual and zoning seems to be a viable option for me personally.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 6:19 PM   #9
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By zone focus do you mean to pre focus on a spot and then shoot when the bird gets to that spot?
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 8:17 PM   #10
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Essentially, yes. For instance, if I spot geese flying back and forth over a particular area then I will manually focus on either a goose flyingor an object at the same distance and set my focus by that. With water I have focused on waves below the target area, set my focus, then waited for the target to come to me. This same thing is often done in sports such as basketball.

Another consideration:since one can stop down aperture much more in the sky because it is lighter in sky for the most partthe DOF canend up beingquite substantial and will allow for an area of grace in focus area, not to mention the fact that the whole bird will be crisp if the preset is correct.

As well,on a bird with slow wing movements (goose or heron)one can gain aperture even more byhaving less shutter and panning which provides that background blur that is special and cannot be gained by fast shutters. It's also very tough to do properly.

Any of the above need not have AF when pre-focusing has been done. All one needs to concentrate on is keeping track of the bird and being as steady as possible. Sometimes I think that there is so much AF out there that people forget that it's also an option to MF. Photographers for decades before AF were getting some very dramatic and rich photographs via MF.

The best thing to me about AF is that you can also MF, the choice is there.
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