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Thread: Bar-tailed Godwit - Very rare in California!

  1. #1
    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Bar-tailed Godwit - Very rare in California!

    So here's one of those frames that reveals my birding background. Bar-tailed Godwit is a Eurasian species which nests in Western Alaska but only reaches the rest of North America as a vagrant.
    We might get 2-3 a year on the California Coast, but they're almost always in restricted access areas. Even if they're found in accessible areas, it's a bad idea to approach them too closely as
    birders often drive great distances to view them. There's no faster way to get crucified on birding message boards than being the azzhole who scares a rarity away while pushing too close to
    photograph it.

    Anyway, as I have a strong hold in both the birding and photography communities, I've learned how to walk the line between the camps. This was one of those instances, and I was able to get
    very close to this bird even as birders watched it. After ticking it for my list, I watched its behavior and figured I could approach it. That was a correct assumption, and the bird stayed put while
    I crawled around it. This is one of those instances where it's really important to understand which people care about which birds. If I flushed a Marbled Godwit, a super common bird around here,
    no one would care. But flushing this guy would have been bad news!

    Canon 600mm f/4 IS II + 1.4x III on EOS 1DX2
    1/2500 at f/5.6, ISO 800, handheld
    2-3 very small distractions removed. Do not want to remove more.

    Name:  AT8I1012.jpg
Views: 106
Size:  366.8 KB

  2. #2
    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    cool shot Dorian to me who has no clue this just looks like any godwit and I would have not bothered clicking the shutter but your ornithology knowledge paid off! nice shot and a cool story.

    P.S. I agree bird photographers and bird watchers don't mix peacefully you are a rare instance!
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    BPN Member Paul Burdett's Avatar
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    Beautiful image Dorian. They're common here, but I've yet to get a good shot of one. TFS

  4. #4
    Lifetime Member Colin Driscoll's Avatar
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    Ticks all boxes, a worm, lifted leg, smooth light, details, background and supporting info.

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    Well done, Dorian. Lovely image and informative write up. Thank you for sharing,
    Joe Przybyla

    "Sometimes I do get to places just as God is ready to have somebody click the shutter"... Ansel Adams

    www.amazinglight.smugmug.com

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    BPN Member Bill Dix's Avatar
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    Congratulations! Great bird and a fabulous shot. I can just visualize 30 guys/gals with scopes lined up watching you crawling around in the mud close to the bird, muttering under their breath as they checked it off their list. I'm not sure that was a risk I would be willing to take. (I could see a slight cropping up from the bottom.)

  7. #7
    BPN Member dankearl's Avatar
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    You were lucky, the birders would have been pretty nasty if it flew...
    Excellent shot as usual and nice story.
    Dan Kearl

  8. #8
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    Low angle is great. Nice how the foreground and background blend together smoothly. Detail and the pose are right on.

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