Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A long shot
These aren't the really nice bird pictures you are used to from Q and Paul but it's the best I could do this trip.
On the first day Parker and I went out it was cold and windy, VERY windy, but we spotted this very large bird in a field hovering about three feet above the grass, apparently looking for it's next meal.
We tried to get as close as possible, moving through the grass when the bird dove into the grass so he wouldn't see us coming. It seems that every time we would move about 50 yards closer the bird would move 100 yards farther out. He didn't seem to be paying any attention to us, he was just hunting and that took him farther away. At least that's my story any way.
After reviewing several of our photos Parker was able to determine this was a young Northern Harrier which has a wing span up to 40 inches.
To give you an idea of how big this bird was I took a photo of it as it flew between two buffalo that were in the same grassy area. I think Parker spent more time watching the buffalo than the bird just to make sure they didn't get too close. LOL
These photos were some what of an experiment. I took the advice Paul gave me this summer and bought a Sigma 1.4X teleconverter for my Sigma 150-500mm lens and it was in use during this shoot. These shots were taken with the Sigma 150-500mm lens with the teleconverter on and set at full zoom which gave me 700mm on the lens. The bird was between 200 and 300 yards away the whole time. Because of the teleconverter the fastest aperture I could set was f9 and I had to manually focus the lens. These photos are cropped about 50%.
Did I mention it was cold? And windy? The temperature was right around 42 degrees and the winds were howling at a brisk 25-30 mph the whole time. Even though I was using a tripod the winds were making it very hard to keep the camera from moving. These are my best shots out of about 100 shots I took of the harrier.