Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A "Long" day - first digiscoping experiment and a Great Egret on crutches!

Judy and I went to Robert Long Nature Park today. Here is a pic of the mudflat from the picnic pavilion to set the stage for this story. Here is pic of the mudflat at the max 3x optical zoom with my Nikon point and shoot camera. The pics after this one are "digiscoped"!

I will relay our "adventure" soon - it was another "Red-Head Day"(!). For now, I am just working on pics from our "new toy". We now have a "birding scope"! (Thank you, thank you, thank you most wonderful anonymous basement-clearing and appropriately-recycling birder!!! Yes, you have already made a huge difference in our lives!)

We took our normal two hour walk with cameras, then went back to the car and picked up the scope and the bag with a field guide (I love the new Nat Geog guide!), our lunch, and other goodies.

We went to the picnic shelter and set up the scope. Overly expectant (same darn thing seems to happen when we play the Megamillions lottery!), we were disappointed to see that the normally bustling mudflat held only Killdeer! No gulls, no "peeps". Yet (!), we saw our first "red-eyed killdeer" (Wow, a scope really makes a difference!!! Who would have thought?! They are pretty cool in just black and white contrast!) It is just amazing what you see "up close and personal" thru a scope!

Anyway, after lunch, a few more birds were available for our "test flight" with the scope. We focussed on a Great Blue Heron and three Great Egrets all the way (75 - 100 yards?) across the pond. (We could not even see the Heron without the scope!) On the closer mudflat, we got really up close and personal with Killdeer. We also saw (only one) Spotted Sandpiper on the mudflat. (I am confident - no need to post a fuzzy pic and question my birder friends!).

It was not a totally exciting day for most birders I imagine, but it was certainly wonderful for us! Wow!

I have interspersed a few of the pics I took ("digiscoped" - cool! Great word and concept! I did it!) today in this blog. I have learned from reading Jerry Jourdan's notes that you need a "small" "point and shoot" camera to digiscope, and I just happened to have one that I used when I was working at the Ren Cen to shoot Great Lakes ships along the Detroit River. Today was a "test flight". It is weird, but it seems to have worked. And, yes, our larger Kodak "point and shoots" and my Canon do not work. I suspect you need a "dinky hole" (think shutter aperature) on the camera to make it work. You still have to "wiggle it around a bit" to get something to focus thru the scope!

Hey! The pics are not the best, but they show characteristics I have not photographically recorded before. Probably more importantly, Judy was just amazed - not only by the fact we could really see "up close and personal" the birds just "doing" (mostly sitting and picking - but that is what sedentary birds seem to like to do), but also the fact we could actually take a picture of them thru the scope!

What fun!
Now, the "big finish"! Have you ever seen a Great Egret on crutches? Wow! Who rehabbed this bird? He is getting by just fine! By the way, "Stylurus" dropped by during lunch (and, it was another wonderful conversation!) and he can verify that I really had a field guide in my possession! (Yes, a first!)

"Dr. Bob"

p.s., Look out, Jerry! I have a new toy! (Hey, I am sure you will be the first to encourage me! And, I am sure I will be in touch with you for hints once I experiment a bit more... and have something intelligent to ask...)

1 comment:

Janet said...

Nice pics, Dr. Bob. Digiscoping is a lot of fun and you will enjoy finding new birds that are difficult to spot from the usual trails at Long Park. I love hearing about your adventures at Long Park. I feel the same passion for the place.

Stylurus is a great guy who is extremely helpful and generous. He has helped me on numerous occasions and I am very grateful to him for his assistance.