Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another day with the birds!

Today was another day with the birds, with a trip out to Oak Hammock Marsh near Stonewall.  It was a windy day so sadly the birds were few and far between but there were a few surprises.

Songbirds were pretty much nowhere to be seen, but at one point a curious American Tree Sparrow let me check him out as he perched on a nearby bullrush:

American Tree Sparrow

A slightly more interesting find was a small cluster of what turned out to be Marbled Godwits.  This was my first time seeing these birds, so I was happy to get a decent capture.

Marbled Godwits

That was about it for keepers at Oak Hammock itself, but on the drive back, my wife noticed something by the side of the road:

Snowy Owl

I thought this Snowy Owl might have been injured, but once I got close enough, it showed that it was okay:

Snowy Owl Launching

Sadly, it never turned back to me, but I like the sense of motion as it launched so this was the shot I kept.

Thinking the day might not be so bad we headed to nearby Lockport to see if the Pelicans that gather there were up for a photoshoot.  What we found put a smile on my face:

Pelican In Flight

Pelican in for a Landing

Fighting for Fishy Flesh

A great end to a fun day out with the family.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

More telephoto fun...

Took the new lens out to Fort Whyte today hoping to get some new critters. I found some of the expected critters like Muskrats, Turtles and Geese, but I got my first Yellow Rumped Warbler and I managed to get nice a close to a Chickadee who posed for a nice shot as well.

Here is today's collection:

Black Capped Chickadee

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Tasty Roots for Muskrats

Western Painted Turtle

Water Off a Gooses Back

Itchy Mallard

Merganser Pair

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New toys...

I miss my 70-200. I miss it a ton. I knew I wanted something with more reach, and the 1.4x teleconverter I was using did sap some sharpness. All last summer, I didn't go for bird walks, nature hikes, zoo trips and the like because I had sold it and lacked a telephoto option.

I thought I wanted a 100-400mm but the push/pull zoom seemed unnatural to use, and the lens is starting to show it's age when you compare it to some more modern options. Financial constraints also meant that I wasn't going to be buying a new lens last year.

Lo and behold cash flow is a bit better, and Canon has launched this little beauty. Since you lose a stop with the teleconverter, compared to the 70-200mm f/2.8L the max f/5.6 is not a huge hit, the IS is generally a bit better, and the autofocus should be faster without the teleconverter. It also takes me from 280mm at the long end to 300mm which is not a huge difference, but it is a little bit longer. I might have to push the ISO up a stop indoors, but for outdoor work it should be a great lens.

So the 70-300L came to the Zoo today for a test run:

Lion Asleep

Lion Awake

Crowned Pigeon


Ground Squirrel

Flamingo Feathers

And since I have posted any pics of them in a while, here are the kids!

Windy Boy

Rockin' Girl

Boy on the Go

So far, I'm happy with the lens! Tomorrow we are going to try Fort Whyte Alive for some more telephoto fun!