On my last trip to Bolivar Flats, the willets were in fighting mode with breeding season in full swing. While taking photos of avocets, the willets were squawking away and chasing each other around. These two started going at it and were circling around after one grabbed the others neck. He then lifted off trying to get away but the other one held on for a while. He finally broke free and left the area.
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.
Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @F 7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation
Finally made a trip back to Bolivar Flats to check out the shorebirds last weekend. It’s been several months since I’ve shot any bird photos there so it felt great to go back. The best time to shoot at Bolivar is at low tide when the sand bars are exposed, which hasn’t happened around sunrise for a very long time, including this trip. Decided to go anyway to see what I could get. Tons of people were there wade fishing and camping on the beach so conditions weren’t ideal. They also have the area beyond the beach at the vegetation roped off with signs to keep out so no luck with trying to find the falcons.
The day had its moments. Got there about 1/2 hour before sunrise and walked the full length of the beach before trying to take my first shot. My high intelligence level quickly alerted me to the fact that my battery was still in the charger at home. Luckily had a spare but it was in the car that was a few hundred yards away. Since it was about 10 minutes before sunrise at that point, I walked as fast as I could which did a number on my feet in the ‘ol rubber boots. Ended up getting two large blisters on my heels and ripped the skin off, joy. After about an hour of shooting, a group of 6 guys walked about 20 yds right in front of me in the water and scared all of the birds away. I just laid there and looked at them and they were oblivious. I just love people sometimes.
Ended up having to shoot from the beach the entire time with the tide being too high. Tried to take advantage of what I had to work with and took a combination of back and side lighting shots. Can’t wait until it’s winter with cooperative tides and no people around. It’s great out there when the temp’s in the 30’s.
Taken with Canon 7D and 100-400 lens on Skimmer ground pod