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Posts tagged “American Avocet

Incoming Avocets

Time for an Avocet flight shot.  It’s almost always a group shot with these birds as they travel in flocks.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/640 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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A Very Good Day

Bolivar Flats along the Gulf of Mexico in SE Texas continues to amaze me.  Made my second trip over the long holiday weekend yesterday and this one was special.  My typical goals at Bolivar include trying to find and photograph Avocets and Reddish Egrets.  All other birds are icing on the cake.  It was a target rich environment and had the opportunity to have my cake with lots of icing on top.

In my FeatherFest workshops, I stress to the participants to keep your head on a swivel and look behind you as the best shot may be there.  Took my own advice and it paid off big time on this outing.

All photos were taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.   Very little cropping on most of these photos.

Got up at 3:30 a.m. and made it to Bolivar before the sun came up.  Hiked along the beach to check out where the birds were located and saw this Great Blue Heron flying by.  Picked up my rig, including the ground pod, and got a series of blurred flight shots.  Got a nice blurred wing spread when he landed.

1/20 sec @ F16, ISO 1600, +2/3 exposure compensation, evaluative metering, handheld

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Worked my way down the beach and saw a group of White Pelicans, Gulls and Avocets in the distance.  Didn’t see a practical way to get close to them so headed to one of my favorite spots and settled on a small sandbar just off shore within reach of a Reddish Egret.  Got a few shots of him dancing around when the tide came in and the sand bar went under water.  Decided to stay put and laid in the water waiting for some more bird action.  Patience paid off as I heard a group of three American Oystercatchers coming in for a landing near by.  Got off my first shot as this one was landing and he gave me a very nice wing spread.  They only hung around for a couple of minutes and took off.

1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 4000, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, evaluative metering

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Looked behind me and saw a Reddish Egret dancing in the distance so headed back in that direction.  Saw what I thought was a Snowy Egret and decided to lay down and get a few silhouette shots.  Discovered that he was actually a White Morph Reddish Egret, which ended up providing some great shots over the next hour.

1/4000 sec @ F9, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Followed this White Morph back to near my original location when a Reddish Egret flew in and scared him off.  After the Reddish Egret didn’t do anything but stand there, turned around to see that the White Morph had landed back in the area where I first spotted him.  Moved my position again and ended up working his way back towards me.  Got some of my best White Morph shots as he danced around.  I’ll post some more shots of him later.

1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 800, +1 exposure compensation, evaluative metering

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After the White Morph walked passed me, heard a familiar bird and looked behind me to see a single Avocet starting to feed along side a Yellow Legs and a Willet.  The challenge at this point was to rotate around in the wet sand without spooking him.  The Avocet kept moving back and forth and got close enough for some head shots.  This one is uncropped.

1/400 sec @ F16, ISO 800, evaluative metering

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A very good day indeed.

Avocet in Breeding Plumage

Took Friday off of work to properly break in my new camera at Bolivar Flats with a little sand and salt water.  It was low tide at sunrise but most of the sandbars were covered in seaweed.  Just as well since I forgot to take my rubber boots with me.  The outing started out slow with some Willet shots at a distance but ended up great with getting head shots of Avocets and a Reddish Egret.

Relocated my position a couple of times and ended up with two options.  Off to my left was a group of Brown Pelicans/Black Skimmers and off to my right was a Reddish Egret with a few Avocets near by.  Not likely to get close to the Pelican’s without spooking them so I headed towards the Reddish Egret.  Couldn’t get real close without my boots so ended up picking a spot upstream of the Egret and laid down with my ground pod hoping that the birds would come to me.  I love it when a plan comes together.  The Reddish Egret ended up going right by me and two of the Avocets walked right towards me.  One ended up being too close to get a full body shot so I focused on the top half of this body.  Minor cropping to reposition him in the frame gave me this shot.

Losing the crop factor from my 7D won’t be a big deal when the birds cooperate like this.  Only minor adjustments in Photoshop with saturation/contrast for this photo.  No sharpening was required in Photoshop.  Something tells me that I’m going to like my 1DX/500mm combo.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1250 sec @ F11, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation


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Avocet with Breeding Plumage

My day job and non-cooperative weather has kept me away from photography lately so it’s time to dig into the archives.  Found this Avocet that was coming into his breeding plumage at Bryan Beach, TX last summer.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

1/500 sec @ F4, ISO 500, evaluative metering


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