a Great Blue Heron in the duck pond on Granville Island and snapped this shot.

Attempting to Take Photos of the Local Birds

One thing about trying to learn something new is that sometimes it takes awhile…

Due to lack of photographic subjects in Vancouver this winter I turned my mind to learning how to take photos of birds.

From the little ferry that crosses the False Creek there was a mural of all the birds in the neighbourhood which included the Barrow’s Goldeneyes (but not Mallards – perhaps they didn’t work with the colour scheme).Pink Mural of the Birds of False Creek in Vancouver, Canada

The online key informed me that there were Canada Geese, Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Great Blue Herons, Horned Grebes, Northwestern Crows, Gulls, Cormorants, Bald Eagles and Anna’s Hummingbird all hanging around the neighbourhood. 

After seeing the mural I immediately spotted a Great Blue Heron in the duck pond on Granville Island and snapped this shot. Great Blue Heron in the duck pond on Granville Island, VancouverWith only 5x zoom I had to get really close to get this shot but the heron just ignored me – he (or she) was totally focussed on fishing. In this light this ‘blue’ heron looks really blue but in most photos the colour appears as black. Great Blue Heron in the duck pond on Granville Island, VancouverAnother Great Blue Heron, again close enough to touch. He (or she) is really puffed up, and black not blue, almost looks like a different bird.
Great Blue Heron standing on one legCanada Geese, famous for the mess they make.
Canada Geese crossing on the Seawall in Vancouver, CanadaApparently the best way to get photos of the goslings is to get down to their level. I tried this once last year, and almost got run over by a stampede of goslings on Seawall. I will try again this year, and maybe go for a different camera with more zoom and an adjustable shutter speed. Canada Goose having a splashing bath in a nearby duck pond. There were about 20 of them all doing this strange-looking rollover, exposing their fat bellies and then rolling back and splashing madly.Canada Goose splashing bath having a bath in the duck pond on Granville IslandWhile the geese were doing their bath thing in the open area of the pond these red-winged blackbirds were having their own bird baths flinging themselves off a low-lying limb of a tree. red-winged blackbirds having a bath in the duck pond on Granville IslandNorthwest Crows are all black with a black beak. They are quite aggressive; I have seen them herding larger ducks out of their favourite eating areas, and attacking both people and birds who come too close to their nests and fledglings. This little demon crow has been burying peanuts in my plant pots and then uprooting my newly planted herbs and flinging them on the deck. I have put wire cages on the plants so that hopefully they’ll root. Or maybe I’ll end up with a peanut crop…Demon Crow patrolling the railing on my deck (cherry blossoms in the background)Now to Bald Eagles. There are 20 nesting pairs within the city itself. One of these pairs lives only about four blocks away. I discovered the site on one of my ‘back’ road walks, and took a photo of the nest. One of the eagles was up there – I could see tail feathers every so often as it bustled around. But the 5x zoom was impossible, and I decided that the next blue sky day I was going to return with a different point ‘n shoot, one with 30x zoom. The sky wasn’t the blue I wanted but I decided to try anyway. Unfortunately these are urban eagles and this one was quite the scruff – I wanted to call out, “shampoo and blow dry for the bird!” Urban Bald Eagle hanging out on a tree nearbyWith eagles the female is larger than the male, with a more pronounced curve to the beak. So he (or she) was joined by their mate for awhile. I can see that point ‘n shoots don’t really cut it for bird photography – getting it to focus where I wanted was a challenge… Urban Bald Eagles hanging out on a tree nearbyAt any rate I have learned a lot about ‘how not to shoot birds’, and may get there some time, especially with all the posers hanging out in the hood!

More of the Friendly Friday Challenge: Something Learned.

3 thoughts on “Attempting to Take Photos of the Local Birds

  1. Beautiful photos! Makes me think there are probably much more birds around us than we first think, especially in urban environments. But when one starts looking, they are everywhere.
    I love the blurry goslings!

  2. You did very well with your bird photography! Much much better than I. My bird photo’s are largely empty spaces of where the bird had been 🙂
    Isn’t grand to live in a city with twenty nesting pairs of Bald Eagles! Not many people/cities can claim that.

    1. That was the result of about 6 different shoots, of which almost 100% of the shots were deleted. The Bald Eagles are a true treat, although where they are nesting is slated to have 11 towers built, some 59 storeys high, so I don’t think they’ll be hanging out in the hood much longer…

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