Author Topic: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy  (Read 6464 times)

Offline good sam

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #30 on: December 25, 2016, 12:22:12 AM »
Love the three birds coming back at the end for pachim ktanim.
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Offline ari9

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #31 on: December 25, 2016, 12:40:25 AM »
great perspective in the video

Online Something Fishy

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #32 on: December 25, 2016, 01:36:42 AM »
Thanks, glad you guys like the video.
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Online Something Fishy

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #33 on: December 25, 2016, 01:37:49 AM »
Day 2

Once again we woke far too early for supposedly sane people and headed down to Bosque. Our goal this morning was one of the three geese ponds spaced along the road. As planned, we got there before anyone else. We had scouted the main pond the night before to find the best spot: we needed it to line up with the sun exactly at our backs, the wind coming exactly from our right, and the least weeds between us and the cranes. Now that we were here first we were able to stake our claim.

It was still pitch dark, but my camera was able to pick up this great blue heron in the pond with the cranes in the background:



Once it became somewhat light we were able to observe - and laugh at - the cranes themselves.

Cranes have a great many body-language signals, the most comical being right before they take off. They turn so that they're facing the wind, stretch out their necks as far as it would go, and lean all the way forward. They remain this way for a number of seconds, as if trying to make up their minds. Then all of sudden they spread their great wings and take a running start to take off.





This guy stayed in this leaning position for a minute or so, his head cocked toward us. Had he been able to speak, I'm sure we would have gotten a snarky "what are you looking at?" from him:



You could also get an idea of the crane's size compared to the snow geese in front of him - which themselves are fairly large birds. The one with the dark feathers on the right is a blue morphed snow goose (in case anyone cares ;D).

Taking off:





After a while most cranes were gone from the pond, so it was back on the loop road to explore some other spots in the refuge.

The pond in the Coyote Deck area was hopping with cranes and some other ducks, so we stopped there for a spell. That's cranes in the water and a flock of mallards in the air:





Part of the pont was frozen over, which made for very comical moments as the cranes tried to take off but instead went slipping and sliding on the thin ice:





Made it:



[









A flock of American avocets and a mallard were hanging around happily:



When suddenly they took off in fright:



Guess who's looking for breakfast again:



The eagle landed on the ice, right by a mess of white feathers: he had killed a snow goose earlier and stashed it. Now it was time to party.

Or so he thought...

As soon as he landed, a dominant female arrived and proceeded to show him who wears the pants in the house. She sat on the kill herself and chased him off:



"You never care about me, you're only busy with yourself, last night you came home after midnight and left me to put the kids to sleep by myself, all you care about is hanging out with your buddies, I'm sick of it!"



"Umm, k, I'll just... I'll just hang out here, fine? Lemme know when I could have some goose."



So he sat off to the side staring hungrily as his rebbitzen ate her fill and washed it sown with some feathers (mmmm!):





Only when she was full did she allow him to begin eating:



The rare double-headed eagle (twice the 'Murica!, of course):



Oh, you silly raven, you really think she'll let you have anything?



Moving the goose somewhere safer:



Just in time for another eagle to show up:



This guy was a teenager, as evidence by his head, stuck halfway between the juvenile brown and adult white. Surprisingly, both adults tolerated him long enough to eat some delicious entrails:



This incredible display of nature continued for nearly an hour. It was fascinating watching the interactions between predator, prey, and a couple of ill-advised scavengers. Most interesting of all was the relationship among the eagles; the eagle family dynamics were very accurately presented here. If a male has been reprimanded by the female - which is typically bigger and stronger than him - he will often bow his head to show his submissiveness. This is not a behavior very often seen; we were incredibly lucky to witness this.

Presently the eagles had had enough and left, and so we did too. Up to Socorro for a nap, and then right back to the refuge.

Stopping as a small pond for a quick shot of a northern pintail:



And a flock of mallards:



One of the resident species of birds in Bosque is the roadrunner. There are a fair amount of them around, but they're typically quite hard to find - they hide in the bushes, where they blend in perfectly, and when they do show themselves, are quite fast. Being that neither of us had ever seen one, we were very keen on catching a glimpse, or better yet, a photograph of one.

We kept our eyes peeled for two days, asked everyone we met for tips, and got nothing. Being that dynamite is generally discouraged on the refuge, things weren't looking too good for us.

From long experience, I know to always be ready to shoot at a second's notice. Whenever we were in the car I had two cameras on my lap ready to go - the D500 and 150-600 lens, and the D600 with a 24-70:



So when I suddenly shouted "roadrunner!", I was out of the car and had blasted off 43 shots before the car even came to a complete stop. By the time whYME and CITH caught up I had gotten my shot, and the roadrunner was gone :D.



For some reason, whYME and CITH were not amused when I teased them about how slow they were ;D. So if you ever want to get clubbed by a tripod, mention "roadrunner" to one of them...

But gosh, these birds could run! In the three or four seconds that I was shooting it, he must've run at least 100 feet.

Back in the car we went, and headed to the cornfields again. We had gotten some good pictures there yesterday, but the light had been meh and there were some behaviors we still wanted to observe. Today's forecast called for lovely light, so off we went.

Crane portrait:



When cranes are annoyed by their neighbors they jump a few feet into the air:



But sometimes they'll try to settle it like real men: a good old fist wing fight:



Soon the light turned really lovely, and just got better and better as the afternoon wore on:



















I looked towards the west at one point and was pleasantly surprised to see a wonderful landscape photography opportunity. This remains my only landscape shot from this trip, which for me is very unusual:



The light was fading fast, but the post-sunset colors were incredible yet subtle:





I really wanted to get a shot of a bird in front of the moon, but the moon's position just didn't work. But I did get a fairly good moon shot, I think:



And with that, it was adieu to a wonderful place and a years-long dream fulfilled.

But the trip was not over yet... we had one more thing to shoot. A bit over an hour away lay the Very Large Array telescope. 27 80-foot telescopes are spread out across 22 miles of desert and each is movable along railroad tracks. I had a shot in mind involving the Milk way rising beyond one of the dishes, but alas the moonlight was to be too bright during our time in New Mexico. No worries... I had a different type of shot in mind as well.

So we drove out, left our car at the side or the road, and hiked the mile or so to the nearest dish which was facing in the direction we needed it too. The hike was fun: pitch black, freezing cold, over railroad tracks, dodging patches of snow and huge piles of tumbleweeds... But we made it. We were there for maybe 5 minutes, go the shot, and hightailed it back to the car.

ET phone home:



Back to Socorro, checked out of the hotel, and then to the airport... homeward bound.

The end.
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Offline Yehoshua

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #34 on: December 25, 2016, 02:07:05 AM »
Wow, those eagle pictures are just amazing (as well as all the others of course). Thanks so much for sharing!!

Offline Emkay

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #35 on: December 25, 2016, 02:20:04 AM »
Absolutely incredible pics!

Offline Proisrael

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #36 on: December 25, 2016, 05:03:46 AM »
Mo Rabu doesnt even cut it....This was amazing!!

Offline Yaalili

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #37 on: December 25, 2016, 07:43:14 AM »
Magnificent pictures!

Offline shulem92

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #38 on: December 25, 2016, 10:31:47 AM »
Loved the theatrics. The eagles were great!

Offline benjie1305

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #39 on: December 25, 2016, 10:42:21 AM »
Wonderful.
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Online chff

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #40 on: December 25, 2016, 10:59:50 AM »
Wondering, did you get dirty?

Online Moshe123

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #41 on: December 25, 2016, 11:23:06 AM »
The photos are beyond stunning!

Offline Work-for-ur-muny

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2016, 01:10:34 PM »
Wow! Thank you so much!

Offline Dawie

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2016, 01:35:18 PM »

Offline challah baker

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Re: For The Birds: On A Wild Goose Chase With Something Fishy
« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2016, 02:26:40 PM »
wow!! amazing stuff