Friday, May 23, 2008

Sky Watch Friday-Clear Weather Brings Wildlife Activity

After a long rainy period with a few sunny intervals, we finally had a mostly clear day yesterday with only a few mid-morning sprinkles. After that it turned into a stunningly beautiful day, the only problem being that the temperatures were more like March than late April.

I prepared the photos for this post last evening, but found that I had no internet service so I had to wait until service was restored this morning to post.

Canon 40-D: 17-40mmL at 17mm,1/350sec-f8 ISO 100

The beautiful sunshine brought the wildlife out early in the evening, with a herd of whitetail deer being the first to arrive. The deer are now changing from the winter to the summer coat and the does are pregnant. Most fawns are born between mid-May to mid-June, with most arriving in my area around June 8th. Each year I anxiously await their arrival! Within the near future I hope to be able to show you some of the new born.

Deer enjoy the sunshine too:Canon 40-D 17-40L at 17mm 1/180 sec. f8 ISO 100

The Gobblers are still strutting: Canon 40-D 500mmF4+1.4x extender-severely cropped
1/750 f8 ISO 400

Even the turkeys visited the meadow. This bird was nearly 200 yards or 600 ft. away. This is a small central portion of the photo. This gobbler was strutting, but he did not gobble. Turkey mating season should end within the next week or so and then my primary focus will shift to the deer and the arrival of the fawns.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Osprey At Meadow Grounds Lake

Ospreys are also known as “fish hawks” because they are fish eaters. Licking Creek borders two sides of our family farm and I occasionally sighted these birds there during the late 1960s and 70s, but never photographed them.

I have not acquired any acceptable still photos with either film camera or DSLR, but I did get close-up video footage of one back in the late 1990s at Meadow Grounds Lake near McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. I heard a tremendous slapping, splashing sound in the water a long distance away, and saw it was an Osprey diving for fish. I was unable to record that action, but suddenly the bird landed in a tree top well within range of the camcorder and I did capture him sitting there.

Fast-forward to Thursday morning of last week, and I was at Meadow Grounds Lake looking for waterfowl, eagles, and ospreys. Suddenly an osprey landed on the far side of the lake.. It was too far for a decent still with the 40D and 500mm lens so I mounted the Canon XL-H1 Camcorder on the 500mmF.4, which gave an effective focal length of 3,600mm.

Canon XL-H1 Camcorder: 500mm F4
It looks better if you click to enlarge: you wouldn't believe how far away it was!

In terms of image quality, camcorders cannot compete with DSLRs yet as still cameras, but the gap is narrowing. At least the XL-H1 gave me my best still capture to date of an Osprey.