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Bowerman Wildlife Refuge, WA (shorebirds)

 
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 5805
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Bowerman Wildlife Refuge, WA (shorebirds) Reply with quote

Every spring at the end of April, into early May, tens of thousands of shorebirds stop over at these tidal mud flats on their migration to the Copper River Delta in Alaska. When the tide is "out" they are widely disbursed and actively feeding. Not great for pictures. But when a good high tide comes in, the mud flats gradually become submerged, and the birds begin to congregate on "higher ground" near the waters edge. So for about an hour before and after the high tide you can get some amazing shots of masses of these birds in flight. (With a long lens!)

I used to visit here regularly in the 80's before it became a wildlife refuge. At that time it required a 1 mile slog, often through deep, tenacious mud, to reach a good viewing area. In those days, an amusement while waiting for the tide was to watch another "birder" struggling, stuck up to their knees in the mud. (I think there are probably still a lot of boots beneath the surface). Today, there's a real nice boardwalk and interpretive signs. Ahhh progress! (? Wink ?)








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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles, You know that I always enjoy to be taken on such little virtual excursions.

Over here in spring and autumn similar scenes take place on the tidal mud and sand flats of the coast of the North Sea, the so called "Wattenmeer" or Wadden Sea. This reaches form the Netherlands along the German coast of the North Sea up to Denmark. The whole German North Sea coast is protected in form of three national parks. We regularly visit the one of Schleswig-Holstein.

So looking at your beautiful pictures of plenty brings up memories: I can almost hear them whooshing and flapping their wings, and I can well remember wellies stuck up in the grey mud too! Smile

BTW, how long a lens do you choose for taking such pictures?

--Betty Very Happy
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 5805
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Betty,

Yes, quite spectacular. Someday I would like to also record some of the sounds... both the vocalizations of the birds (interesting when they are in such numbers) and the "wind" noise from the wings themselves.

The upper shot is a 500mm f4 on a Canon 5D (24x36mm sensor). The lower three are my Nikon 800mm f5.6 with a D200 (smaller sensor). You can see why us photographers really sank into the mud back in the 80's!... these days I'm glad there is a boardwalk!

In the "old days", it was possible to be closer Crying or Very sad and you could get by with something with a little less focal length. But the current arrangement is probably better for the birds! Very Happy
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7076
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing how they can fly so close without hitting one another. Very Happy
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