Tuesday 30 December 2008

Trip Reports - December in North Carolina

Just before Xmas I spent 2 weeks photographing the migratory birds that are currently near the North Carolina coastline, the weather wasn't at its kindest but I managed some reasonable results and certainly something to work on. As well as a variety of waterfowl there were Snow Geese and Tundra swans in good numbers, I visited a lake I had heard good things about and bumped into British Photographer Phil Mugridge who was over on a visit and we ended up spending a few days together, the lake where we met was huge and although we had good viewings of Bald Eagle, Geese, swans etc. they were a bit too distant to get good results, but we did get a couple of great sunsets which we both took advantage of.

The Swans on this lake were in the thousands and a real site to behold. We had hoped for some mass take off's and had heard of Swans returning in the evening en masse but it never happened while we were there so we decided to concentrate on the coast line and in particular the lakes at Pea Island and the beaches across the road from it, so early mornings before dawn we headed off and got onto position for first light, At Pea Island we managed good American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck and Egret and the beach provided us with Willet, Sanderling and some gulls along with the odd Brown pelican that glided on top of the waves, I only swapped over from Canon to Nikon in September and its only now that things are starting to feel natural, The new gear is working very well and I am very impressed with the performance especially when the light is low, The D3 shone here but I must admit my camera of choice when shooting the birds was the D300,

If the weather closed in which it did a few times or if things were slow we headed inland to search for Black bear, I had visited an area in September and went back with Phil to check it out as on my first visit a bear had run across a track we were on, although only a fleeting glimpse it was magic and I was desperate to get a better view, we drove around for a while before finding some fields where the crops had been cut in stripes of cut and uncut crop, the uncut crops were tall but luckily we found a female with cub in the uncut section and proceeded to make our way off road to her. We were very fortunate that she was calm, although the cub wasn't which was to be expected but mum was a star and we managed some OK images-a great start.

She looks very lean and the cub has certainly taken it out of her, Looking at the 'poo' on the road they are eating some left over corn and berries, I will be returning soon as I have now found 3 areas where the bears hang out regularly, The migratory birds will be here until the end of Feb and after that I will be trying for the Grey fox and possum that i see at night around my garden


Sunday 14 December 2008

News - No owls to be seen

I went out to day to a site where Short Eared Owls are being seen at the moment. Sadly not today though. It was cold grey and windy and the light would have been awful. Did get to see plenty of Fieldfare, some Corn Buntings, which are becoming increasingly rare and a few Redpoll on the tree tops. Also bumped into another well known wildlife photographer from these parts, Mike Lane, who was also after the same photo opportunities as me. It was nice to have a chat - small world!!

The image of a Short Eared Owl is one that I took back in February this year at a different site


Saturday 13 December 2008

From the Archives - Starlings at Twilight

Here is a sight that is truly spectacular. Taken a couple of years ago from the car park at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, UK. Using my Canon 1Dmk2N at ISO1600, my 70-200 f2.8 IS L wide open at f 2.8 I managed to capture the split flock. I needed to use noise reduction software to keep the noise out of the sky, but given that it was almost dark it shows what can be achieved with older generation kit.


News - New Blog Site

Celebrating wildlife photography across the ocean, this blogsite is a joint collaboration between two wildlife photographers, David Courtenay and Martin Dyer.

David is a Nikon user since September in 2008 and with many years experience with Canon before that and Martin has been using Canon gear for many years. What you will see on here is our experiences with our cameras and the systems behind them - a celebration of Nikon and Canon - NOT Nikon v Canon as I am sure you will have seen in many other places. Although Dave is true to the Nikon stereotype and sports 'facial hair'

We aim to set out news, views, reviews on what we do, how we do it and what we like in wildlife photography and will share some of our favourite images from the various trips we make.

Join us on our journey

Dave and Martin