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



  1. nice blog dave. like the layout. same as mine. i like blogging but it's easy to forget to do it.
    lovely images.

    eyemocean is my blog on the same address.



  2. Hi Guys,
    Good luck with the Blog. Probably the best route to self promote without getting lost in the fog.
    Dave, since we've been banned from discussing all things Nikon, I read your comments about the D300, I used one on St Patricks Day last year attached to a Sigma 30mm 1.4. Absolutely stunning combination. The colour focus thing I thought was a gimmick but great in practice, bit like eye control but not quite, very useful indeed. Pity its only a crop lens but if you have a few quid spare, I know its not a nature lens but very good all the same.

    Suffice to say the D700 is superb. I agree with your comments about the D300 being better than _any_ Canon offering, but you should see the D700, even better again.

    Anyway back to work, just thought I'd drop you two renegades a hello, stalked you on facebook or myspace or bebo for a while (cant remember which) but been busy but will keep an eye on the blog.