Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winter Wildlife Sightings Increase

Mature Gobbler: Canon 7D MK II- Canon 500mm  F 4.0 IS L -ISO 800-1/320 Sec. F 5.0

So far there has not been a major snow storm in out area, but the ground is partially snow covered. The temperatures have been unpleasantly cold except for the occasional day that it rebounds to the 40s and makes one long for the days of early spring.  Wildlife sightings have been good lately as the birds and animals move about more searching for food and have calmed down somewhat from the effects of the fall hunting seasons.

Whitetail bucks in this area usually shed their antlers in a time slot of from late December until late February although I have heard of one rack buck sighting as late as early April. Many of the bucks have already shed as the photo below illustrates.

Already Shed:  Canon 70D -Canon 70-200mmf2.8 L II @88mm-ISO 400-1/1000Sec. F 4.0

Others still have their racks or have lost one antler as is the case with the buck shown below.

Partially Shed: Canon 70D -Canon 70-200mmf2.8 L II @80mm-ISO 200-1/1600Sec. F 5.0

Partially Shed: Canon 7D MK II- Canon 500mm  F 4.0 IS L-ISO 200-1/2000 Sec. F 5.0
Most associate the strutting and gobbling of wild turkeys with the spring mating season and that certainly is when it is most common, but it is possible to see it at other times of year as well and I have seen it quite often in the winter.

Mature Gobblers Strut: Canon 5D MK II-Canon 24-105 F 4.0 IS L-ISO 400-1/60 Sec. F 8.0
While it is the dead of winter now and spring seems far away, there will be a noticeable change in a few short weeks as large flocks of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese pass through Pennsylvania on their way to nesting grounds in the arctic tundra.

You will notice that today's post features photos from the 5D MK III, the new 7D MK II and the 70D.  I usually have all of these cameras along with the 500mm on the 7D MK II, and the 70-200mm on the 70D. I have been using the 5D MK III mostly with the 24-105 lens, but that will likely change once my testing mode is over and I will go back to using it a lot on one of the big telephotos.  I have been giving the 600mm a rest, mostly to get some use out of the 500mm and to avoid the hassle of handling the bigger lens. Believe me, there is a big difference in the mobility of these two lenses, but that being said the 600mm f 4.0 is still my favorite prime lens for serious long range work.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

The turkeys have so much beauty.This is something that is not as readily seen when they are not strutting.

Dan Gomola said...

Great photos Willard. I have been seeing more and more wild turkey lately but none strutting yet.

Linda Gross said...

The deer and turkey pictures are wonderful. I especially like the strutting turkeys, a sight I haven't had the opportunity to see.

northierthanthou said...

Those turkeys are definitely cool.