Saturday, May 11, 2013

Whip-pool-will. A "bump on a log" lifer at Magee Marsh during the Biggest Week!!!

Whip-poor-will!!! Lifer!!!

I never expected I would ever see this bird! I am posting a pic that kind of shows what it looks like just sitting in a tree. To me, the back looks just like bark/lichen texture - perfect camouflage! If no one had pointed it out, we would have never seen it!!! This is a fantastic reason to go to the Biggest Week in American Birding (BWAB) in northwest Ohio! There are so many guides and just wonderful birding people who spot and share things you would never see otherwise!

Here is a pic - not very much enlarged from the 300 mm lens shot I took of this "bump on a log". How would we ever have seen that bird without knowing exactly where to look!!!. Judy and I tried for many minutes while people kept telling us where to look!  "It is right there!"  The bird was not moving. It was fairly far away. It was doing its "daytime thing" - just being a bump on a log! They are active at night, feeding on bugs.  They are in the same bird family with nighthawks and nightjars (oddly the common name of this family is Goatsuckers ... look it up ... interesting history).   Sure looked like a knot on the tree to me - it took forever to find it even when pointed out!!!

Bump on a log

Looks more like a bird ...
OK. I saw it and shot it. Tonight I "played with" another pic taken with my telephoto. I cropped and fixed a bit. (Thanks Jerry Jourdan for the hints you have given me over the years. I did not do all of your suggestions, but it sure made a difference!)

It now looks more birdy, but still a "bump"! Come on -that is a bird? Well, I guess I can see a tail ...

OK. Another pic - the bird got up and started a birdy thing like "picking". Now it looks even more like a bird!

Yes! A bird!

What a fantastic experience!!! All of  the previous shots were taken with my own T2i camera and non-image-stabilized 70-300 lens.Lifer! Judy and I saw it. We both shot it! Judy was using an SX30 Canon point and shoot. Super cool!!!

Of course, we would never have been able to even know the bird was there without a great Biggest Week supporter who I think actually spent the whole day at the spot just to share this experience! My applause, accolades, and great thanks to Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optics! I think he was there all day.And, I think Clay had spent the day before at another location on the boardwalk similarly sharing a special owl with BWAB visitors. This is just one of the many things that draws us to the Biggest Week. We well remember last year when "Bird Chick" Sharon was showing a new-for-us owl species (again, a lifer) thru her scope, and offering anyone to give her their cell phone to take a pic thru the scope. That was before I had a "smart phone", but I was pleased that she even tried with my very low resolution (1 mb) flip phone. Hey! It is just all about sharing and trying!

My smart phone pic thru a great scope
Clay let us look thru his scope at poor Will. So cool!!! Then I watched and learned as he taught someone how to take a cell phone pic thru the scope. This was great revelation! Do not start with the camera right near the scope (as I had tried to do many times), but get the camera first finding the "eye of the scope" and slowly moving in. It does take a bit of practice and a  steady hand (hard for me), but I managed to take a couple of my best ever "digiscoping" pics that way!!! Super! (I now realize that my old Nikon personal scope has a much smaller ocular, so I finally understand it is just not only me, but my equipment that is involved. Fascinating. What fun!!!

Then I watched as a guy with a "fancy" Canon camera asked Clay take a pic thru the scope using an adapter with a Canon mount.Cool - it fitted over the eyepiece.
Clay takes a pic for another guy
When he was done, I asked if the adapter would work with my T2i Canon. It did! Clay took several pics with my own camera. Here is the result. WOW! Great detail!

Clay explains to "Dr. Bob" what camera settings to use.
Now it is my camera on the scope attachment

My T2i camera pic on Swarovski mount
taken by Clay for me
You can see the bristles they use for bug-catching. What a difference! I want one!!!

Yes, my friend Jerry Jourdan, digiscoping really makes a huge difference! Especially with super optics! Yet, you have been SO helpful in allowing me to make the best of what I have, I am more than satisfied! With a little bit of patient teaching, we can all become better bird photographers!

I need to stick with what I have because of cost, but I sure treasure the fact that the Biggest Week allowed me to see possibilities! And I really appreciate Clay and the many other people we met on the Magee boardwalk to point out the birds we would have not seen otherwise!!! What a great time!

Lifer! Memories! Great folks! What more can anyone ask?!!!

- "Dr. Bob"


Jerry said...

Great photos, Bob! And thanks for the kind words...

"Dr. Bob" said...

Thanks Jerry - my friend and mentor!!! A lot of what I try to do is because of your inspiration! I feel a need to pass it on!

Bruce Stambaugh said...

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing about the camera/scope connection.