Wednesday, 2 May 2007

My Camera and I : Becoming Friends - Good Friends

On May 1st, Laurent took me and my new camera to Crane Creek, one of the migration hot spots of the Great Lakes region and frankly the whole of North America. We only had a few hours there but a few hours at Crane Creek are always better than a few hours not at Crane Creek (so I was told), especially when it is your first visit to the area.
After my camera and I had started to get to know each other a little bit at the Arb, this was meant to be the first real test of the strength of our newly established relationship, so I was almost as anxious to see how my camera would behave as to see how the birds would perform.

What can I say?
Only the best as my camera proved to be very well behaved in public and the company of birds and the birds themselves were performing very well as well.
This, therefore, is the first post on Belltower Birding that will not be so much about the words than about the pictures, a little celebration of my new camera, the beauty of birds and the wonder of spring migration around the Great Lakes.

Hope you enjoy it...

The board walk at Crane Creek where all the song bird action takes place

Capturing a Snowy Egret in flight proved still a little difficult ...

...but this Great Blue Heron managed to calm down my slightly disappointed camera, ...

...and this Great White Egret finally fully restored the camera's self esteem.

This female Bald Eagle had challenged the camera by hiding amongst thick branches and twigs but had no chance of escaping, no chance at all.

Thrushes were still dominated by Hermit Thrushes, which I didn't mind too much .... they proved to be exceedingly cooperative.

A Wood Thrush was a bit elusive but still a marvellous sight ...

...and American Robins are nice as well.

A Common Grackle posed as a multi-task - or rather multi-straw - builder...

...while a snobby male Rose-breasted Grosbeak apparently couldn't be bothered to attend the photo shoot

A newly described Wintergolden-Summerruby-Crowned Kinglet in its summer plumage

We encountered a total of 10 wood warbler species, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Cape May Warbler (nice!) and Black-throated Green Warler (this time I got the spelling of the colour right).
The warblers sure were difficult and the following images don't do their beauty justice, but I think my camera braved this extreme quite well and we learn from our mistakes (like not using the flash when photographing a warbler against the background of a bright blue sky, which from now on I shall do).

Mr. Handsome himself: the Yellow-rumped Warbler

Same bird, different angle, still looking good

Western Palm Warbler, slightly out of focus but I don't care.

Black-throated Green Warbler

A frustrated Cape May Warbler:"Use your flash, stupid!"

Nice of him to still pose for the camera

Black-and-white Warbler, head-on view

Black-and-white Warbler upside down, making it the first documented White-and-black Warbler ever

And from behind, the first documented Relbraw etihw-dna-kcalb for Crane Creek

Apart from being a good bird watching day, the afternoon at Crane Creek was also excellent regarding Birdering, as we managed a fine encounter with Kenn Kaufman. Well, we didn't get in direct contact and I only managed a photo documentation (not a great shot) of this very special birder record, but as you won't believe me without proof, here's the pic:

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