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Incredible bird photography experience

sjn

Mtn View, US
194 posts

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sjn Basic Member
Sun 21-Apr-02 10:45 PM


I just had an awesome bird photography experience this morning. I was out at the Palo Alto Baylands (not the main part of the park) for what was initially going to be just a quick walk to check things out. I brought the F100 and the 80-400VR. At the end of the short trail and across an 8 foot wide water channel were two Snowy Egrets doing their courtship ritual. Over the course of 15 minutes I was able to approach to the waters edge about 20 feet from them.

Unfortunately, the lithium batteries decided to die after 4 shots. I quickly went back to the car for more batteries and 4 rolls of film. As I was walking back a birder with his scope spooked them away. A real disappointment since another male had showed up and both males were fighting over the female. As I got closer one of the males came back and a Blue Heron also. I went through the slow process of approaching again.

I eventually got back to the waters edge without spooking them. After about 10 minutes they were comfortable enough that I was able to sit on the ground. Over the course of the next 2 1/2 hours (only 1 1/2 hour with film!) I was visited by 3 different Blue Herons, 2 different Snowy Egrets, 3 different White Egrets, several American Avocets, the first Geese family with about 1 dozen chicks. All of this occurred less than 20 feet from me.

After awhile one of the Blue Herons and one of the Snowy Egrets were comfortable enough that they crossed the channel of water to my side to continue eating. Many times the Snowy Egret was closer than the minimum focus distance of my 80-400VR! He walked right in front of my feet - about 6 inches away several times! When I left an hour later they were confortable enough being 5 feet away that they weren't bothered by me standing up and slowly backing away. Since this is California and not Florida I was really surprised. The birds here have never been so tolerant.

I only wish I had more than 4 rolls of film with me. I guess the best part of all of it is that I really don't care if not a single photo is good - to be able to be that close for so long was just incredible!!! Throughout the area there were at least 6 Blue Herons, 12 White Egrets, 6 Snowy Egrets, tons of Canadian Geese, Avocet, ducks, Terns, Stilts, and a flock of White Pelicans.

What an awesome day!!!

Scott

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