After a tiring work week, it was a challenge to drag my old carcass out of bed early on Saturday. However, calm winds in Galveston coaxed me out of bed at 4:00 a.m. and I headed to the gulf coast. The last two trips have been less than stellar with the tide being too low, which spreads out the birds with Avocets nowhere to be found. Had high hopes on the way to Galveston with seeing the distant water vapor from Texas City plant stacks going straight up with no wind. The clouds were a gorgeous pre-dawn red color as the ferry approached Bolivar. All promising signs.
Geared up in my waders and headed out across the flats as the sun started to break over the gulf. That sight in itself made the trip worthwhile. Found a flock of Avocets nearby. Walked slowly towards them and laid down in order to not spook them. Started belly crawling to get closer when some birds to my left took off. Looked behind me and saw two wade fisherman walking along the shoreline, which is not a good sign for getting good bird photos. As anticipated, they ignored what I was doing and walked out into the water and headed straight towards the Avocets, per the photo below. Needless to say, my Avocet high hopes for the day were dashed.
With my prime targets flying away, had to come up with a plan B. After looking around at my options, decided to move closer to the water line and wait it out, hoping that the birds would return. No Avocets but the Willets and a Yellowlegs cooperated for me. Frustration turned into some decent shots and incentive to go back again another day. A slow morning at Bolivar is 100 times better than sitting at home.
On the way back to the car, got a chance to talk to a couple of other bird photographers, which is always a good time.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod and Wimberley II gimbal head.
My original target – flock of American Avocets
Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation
My two new best friends…
Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation
Willets with some nice crossed beak action
Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 2/3 exposure compensation
Yellowlegs checking me out with some direct eye contact
Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 exposure compensation
Hence their name, Yellowlegs. These shorebirds move around very fast while feeding in the shallow water. It’ a challenge to track them and keep them in focus so I tend to use all focus points on them when they get close. They have been in abundance this year at Bolivar Flats.
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
1/2000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation
1/1250 sec @ F0, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation
1/1250 sec @ F10, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation