Tuesday, 24 January 2012

No New Birds, but a New Lens, Makes Me Happy

So, no new birds for the year in the last two days, and the rare bird alerts seem to have dried up in the area.  Pooh and pooh!  But since I had nowhere to run off to chasing new birds, I decided to treat myself to a new lens for my Sony DSLR.  I've been using my Canon with the 20X zoom and it works fine, but there is nothing like using an SLR for your photography.  So, off I went to Henry's downtown, chasing extra millimetres, rather than rare birds.  Being on a bit of a tight budget, I could not go for the 500mm arm length lenses some of the pro guys use, but I felt the 70-300 zoom would do me just fine.

And so the purchase was made and I decided to just bird the neighbouring parks, Claireville CA, James Gardens, Humber East and High Park the past two days and just shoot a bunch of photos with the new lens.

Below are some of the results:  A new photo of the Northern Pintail; a Gull,(probably Ring-billed), with a chunk of something, presumably edible, in its beak; an Odd Duck,(okay, a Mallard from a mixed marriage, I suppose); a male and female pair of Long-tailed Ducks; a poor web-legged challenged female Mallard in James Gardens,(saw here early last summer too);  and a Red-tailed Hawk feeding on a squirrel in High Park.  I was alerted to a bird in the area, described as a Falcon, by a dog walker, so was slightly disappointed to find it was a Red-tailed Hawk.  But I had only previously had a "Hawk in flight" photo, so it was fun to spend some time watching and photographing it with my new lens.

Oh, and last night I also picked up my first Field Guide.  I went with The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 6th Addition.  I didn't think I could really call myself a birder, even a bad birder, without a real field guide.  No one respects you if you only have an iPhone App.  Sue is jealous of mine, as hers is the 3rd addition and doesn't include the new Quick Find Index and Visual Index to Bird Families.  It also has neat tabs that direct you to specific categories of birds in the book.  Of course, first day out, I forgot to bring it with me.  I did have my iPhone, though.  It's like the American Express Card, in that I never leave home without it.  Except when I do, and have to turn around and drive home to get it.

I hope to be back to chasing new birds in the next couple of days.  Might go back to Hamilton and try again to find the White-fronted Goose and Cackling Geese.  I am sure they know I am coming and will be hiding just out of sight when I arrive, but it's the journey not the destination.  Ha!  Who am I kidding, it's all about the destination, the conquest and the fulfilment of a goal.

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