Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mature Bald Eagle:Sinnemahoning State Park

An Encounter With A Bald Eagle

I posted a picture of a Bald Eagle as part of a discussion on lenses for long range photography with the Canon XL-H1 High Definition Video Camera on DV Info. Net Forum today and decided to post a shot here as well along with some information on eagles in Pennsylvania.

Mature Bald Eagle

Canon XL-H1:Canon 500mmF4 with 1.4 extender

Eagle populations are increasing in Pennsylvania. I have recorded the birds at Middle Creek Wildlife Management area at Kleinfeltersville, Pa. and at Sinnemahoning State Park, located between the Village of Sinnemahoning in Cameron County and Austin in Potter County. I have seen numerous birds in my home area, but they have so far been too shy to permit me to get the camera in action with the exception of an immature eagle that permitted me to videotape it at long range on one occasion.
Birds have nested in the same area of the lake at this park for a number of years. I was there on the morning of July 17th, 2007. I had a smaller lens mounted and was trying to get a shot of a flying eagle when I saw this bird land on the far side of the lake. I quickly mounted the camera to the 500mmF4 Canon with 1.4 extender attached. This gave me an the equivalent of a 5,040mm lens in 35mm terms. I took several stills in card camera mode and some video footage before the bird flew away.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Another Look At The Moon

Canon 40D: 300mmF4
It seems that the moon in becoming one of my favorite subjects. I arrived at my favorite observation post early last Monday morning and the moon was still shining. I noticed that the trees framed it quite nicely so I took several shots of it and this seemed to be the best one!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Is Best For The Resource

Hunters, tourists, and photographers want to see plenty of trophy animals, but are these goals compatible?

Doing What Is Best For The Resource-A Management Principle

We discussed Ralph Harrison and his contributions to Pennsylvania Elk management in some detail in a recent post.During late September of 2006, I had the good fortunate to speak with Mr. Harrison for an hour or so. During that conversation he brought up an important point. “We must do what is best for the resource, not what the tourist industry wants, not what the hunting industry wants, but what is best for the animals themselves”.

No truer words were ever spoken. I for one believe that Mr. Harrison, if in a decision making position, would pursue a management policy based on that statement and that it would be an excellent management policy.

Unfortunately the problem is that most people view what is best for the resource through the prism of their own self-interest. A good example is the current deer management controversy in Pennsylvania. (One could devote a blog to this subject alone) There are all shades of opinions on the matter but it mostly boils down to many who have problems with deer damaging property and crops want far fewer animals, while those who like to hunt and watch them want more.

A favorite statement of politicians is that the deer wars must end. The truth of the matter is that for the wars to end, one side must but give up their concept of what is the right number of animals and neither is willing to do so, even if the inability to compromise on the issue ultimately results in the destruction of the PGC!

This principle of course applies to elk management. Both tourists and hunters want plenty of elk and lots of bulls with large antlers. The problem is that while the goal of each may be somewhat the same on the surface, in actuality there is quite a divergence of opinion when one examines the subject in depth.

Mature Pennsylvania Bull Elk-Winslow Hill

Mature Whitetail Buck: Shenandoah National Park

I think the above points are well worth considering as we continue to explore wildlife management issues in future posts!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

First Sign Of Spring?

The Killdeer Returns

Although I have watched these birds since youth, I have not read a great deal about them. As a result I do not know if this is early for one to be in our area, but I was surprised to see one this morning in a small wetlands at the family farm. It was hopping about and occasionally found some type of food which it picked up with its beak and ate. It was 24 degrees at the time.

Canon XL-H1: 35-350L at 350mm

This seemed too far for the 500mm on the Canon 40D so I used the camcorder with the above lens. I estimate the range to be between 50 and 75 yards or 150 to 225 ft. I had more or less written this lens off for use with the High-Definition camcorders, but have been using it again lately and have been surprised with the results. This combination of lens and High-Def. camcorder doesn't compare to a DSLR for picture quality on still shots, but I doubt that it is possible for the DSLR to do this well on a small bird at that range, even with severe cropping. If I get another opportunity, I will test it and find out.