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  #46  
Old 11-21-2019, 09:53 AM
benb benb is offline
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
very nice

i've never seen an owl since I started, though I know that they are around, as one hoots quite often

out of curiosity, do you ever feel that you need more reach with a 300 mm lens?
Yah I have (back in my single days when I had more time) spent a lot of time hiking around trying to locate an owl that I could hear but not see, always ending in failure. I think the frequency of the hoots is in the range where our ears have a hard time figuring out the direction of the sound. This owl we saw fly to the branch. Only time I've ever seen one flying.

I don't have the picture handy but we had some kind of tiny owl land in the tree in our back yard in the last couple of years too. Might have been a Saw-Whet Owl. That's it for sightings for me.

As for the 300mm lens... the one I have is a Canon EF300mm F/4L IS. It's an ancient lens in the Canon system. I bought it in 2003, it came out in the 1990s. It was something like $1600 back then. A lot of money. I've had it ever since. It has been serviced once about $350 IIRC, that was in 2017, the IS was not working correctly after all those years.

In terms of shooting birds 300mm is pretty short with a 35mm sensor body... it is a lot more reach with an APS-C body. I haven't had an APS-C body in a long time though cause I mostly just use my camera to shoot people.

300mm prime is long for sports a lot of the time. Not long enough for a lot of wildlife. I have a 1.4X Teleconverter.. that gets me 420mm f/5.6 with a little loss of contrast. I've had to have the Teleconverter serviced too but that wasn't very expensive, it was something in the mount and they charged me very little. (Canon service is absolutely amazing IMO)

I have little desire to buy anything fancier or much of anything new at all.. lenses have gotten absolutely ridiculous.. the next step up to the 300mm f/2.8L costs like $3000 I think, and it's enormous. The 300mm f/4 is already a PITA to carry on a hike. If you go up to a 400mm f/2.8 or a 600mm lens you're getting on towards $10k or something I think, and they're absolutely enormous and you need a really expensive tripod... when I've seen people using them for birding they often have a Gimbal too, which I'm sure costs a fortune. Better to rent but all these lenses cost a lot to rent too. I've never rented a super-telephoto but I have had good luck with rentals in general.

Somehow I'm sure if Canon cancels the 300mm F/4L IS that I have and comes out with a Mk II version the price will be $3000+. Almost everything they update goes up by 2X in price on the lens side the last 10 years it seems. Supposedly the prices are set based on the Yen to Dollar ratio when the product ships, then they never adjust prices which is part of it. But the market seems to be demanding every higher performance and is willing to spend a fortune. It doesn't seem like prices are any better on the Nikon or Sony sides.

Last edited by benb; 11-21-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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  #47  
Old 11-21-2019, 10:22 AM
cash05458 cash05458 is offline
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"nicely done (though i'd imagine schlepping 100 pounds of seed is no fun)"

well, it's not a big deal really...our costco sells 40 pound bags for 15 bucks...one bag fills two 5 gallon buckets we keep right there...we got rid of both HBO and netflix which covers the food...the birds are a lot more entertaining to be honest... we are getting sparrows of all types, blue jays, small woodpeckers, chickadees galore, morning doves, tons of cardinals, differ types of finches and many more can't yet identify...but tons of them and have a huge lilac tree right there for them to take cover in...bonus as well is the cats who love to sit in the window and watch it all unfold...
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  #48  
Old 11-21-2019, 10:37 AM
echappist echappist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martl View Post
is that what they are called? possibly! Had to rely totally on dict.cc for the word...
in that case, probably one of the two below you saw. Both are native to much of Europe (but not North America, where chickadees reside). Their English names are blue tits and great tits. Combative little fellows. Chickadees are in the same family of birds though



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  #49  
Old 11-21-2019, 10:53 AM
benb benb is offline
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Impressive songbirds are like methheads... they never stop moving.

I really want a great flight shot or a shot of a bird taking off in my quiver of photos.. I have some of slower moving birds like Gulls (easy), Pigeons (harder), etc..

I have one neat shot of a blue jay splashing in the water.. otherwise it seems any time I spot a cool bird perched I get a bunch of shots of it sitting still that are great and then I manage to blow the shot when it takes off. There is a lot of skill required there, and I know it's not my gear.
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  #50  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:18 AM
kppolich kppolich is offline
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Glad to see there are some other bird watchers/Ornithologists here. My favorite class from college and also the one I retained the most information from was Ornithology. We met twice a week. Wednesday nights from 6-9 and then Thursday morning at 5am to go out bird watching. I can still remember the fist time I saw a Rose Breasted Gross beak.
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  #51  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:23 AM
echappist echappist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benb View Post
Impressive songbirds are like methheads... they never stop moving.

I really want a great flight shot or a shot of a bird taking off in my quiver of photos.. I have some of slower moving birds like Gulls (easy), Pigeons (harder), etc..

I have one neat shot of a blue jay splashing in the water.. otherwise it seems any time I spot a cool bird perched I get a bunch of shots of it sitting still that are great and then I manage to blow the shot when it takes off. There is a lot of skill required there, and I know it's not my gear.
I hear you

when I first got started, I ended up spending so much time on it, that it ate into my time for cycling. One would imagine that this could easily take 4 hrs on a weekend morning (or more)

I don't really dare to dream that I can capture the good action shots (taking off, landing, etc). maybe when i'm retired
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  #52  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:34 AM
benb benb is offline
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I haven't been in a photography club since around when I got married.

But a lot of this type of photography the contests were dominated by retired folks who had a LOT of time to go sit by the water and wait. Same thing with travel & landscape photos.
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  #53  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:40 AM
cash05458 cash05458 is offline
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funny little aside via birds...they mostly hate us...they really do...it's just instinct and they are most likely right...I used to be a zookeeper...worked with the largest and most "dangerous" African livestock ones...once they got to know you...smell and vision...you were mostly fine unless you did something really stupid...meanwhile, the keepers who worked down in the bird world complex were constantly being attacked...always being taken over to the emergency room with small wounds from air attacks...they don't care much for us...
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  #54  
Old 11-21-2019, 04:41 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benb View Post
I am less active these days with birding & photography but I really do love birds.

This is probably the picture of mine I'm most proud of in terms of birds. Wild Barred Owl... IIRC this was my old Canon 5D + 300mm f/4 lens + 1.4x Tele Converter. I am way more proud of actually spotting the damn thing. My wife and I were snowshoeing and we spotted this owl. In our area you hear them constantly but they are incredibly hard to spot. We have a pretty large print of this (12"x18" matted & framed) in our living room and it gets a lot of compliments.



This one is not technically great.. exposure could be better, but I've always been psyched about this one because it's so rare to spot Swans in the air and I got the shot at all.. this thing came flying by me very fast and it was a huge surprise so I was psyched I even got it in the frame & in focus. This one was with just the 300mm lens I think and it was with my current 5D Mark III. This Swan came by me really close... it was like getting buzzed by a small airplane.



I do have a few more I'm really proud of.

Where I work I constantly spot Great Blue Herons and Red Tailed Hawks from my windows.
Great photos. Barred Owls, Blue Herons, and Red Tailed Hawks very common around here. I dragged a partially hollow log out of my timber a few years back. When I was sawing it into firewood lengths, a Screech Owl flew out. He must have enjoyed the 1/4 mile ride in the log but not the saw.
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  #55  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:21 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Originally Posted by 572cv View Post
When its below freezing, having a little suet feeder is great for those guys. I think it is a red bellied woodpecker, which doesn't have a red belly, curiously.
Actually does have a small red area on its belly, sort of between the legs. Very hard to see in the wild - barely showing in the pic I posted. It's bigger than the similarly colored (but lacking the red spot on the belly) Hairy and Downy (smallest of the 3) woodpeckers.
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File Type: jpg red bellied woodpecker.jpg (110.0 KB, 67 views)
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  #56  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:24 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Originally Posted by benb View Post
These guys are really confusing.. we have a bunch of birds called "Flickers" which look like this and they are all quite hard to ID unless you have a good guide with you. (Which I almost never do)

Years ago my parents had a major issue with one of these during mating season deciding to "drill" their siding on their house. It was pretty crazy.. sounded like someone was hammering inside the house.
Flickers have a brown back and are often seen feeding on the ground, which other woodpeckers don't do. The banging on metal is a territorial/mating thing.
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  #57  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:28 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Originally Posted by josephr View Post
its a yellowhammer...state bird of Alabama...also called a yellow-bellied sapsucker.
The Yellowhammer has more black on its back, lacks the sharply defined white spotting of the Red Bellied Woodpecker.
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  #58  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:32 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echappist View Post
very nice

i've never seen an owl since I started, though I know that they are around, as one hoots quite often

out of curiosity, do you ever feel that you need more reach with a 300 mm lens?





I'm pretty sure that the woodpecker is a red bellied woodpecker. One has to really observe closely to see the small patch of red on belly of the bird.

I'd like to catch a glimpse of this fellow: the red-headed woodpecker. But they are quite rare


and I think you and @nighthawk are probably right that it's a red-tailed hawk. the bird was quite large. Also a bit funny that this is the only hawk i've observed since I started



nicely done (though i'd imagine schlepping 100 pounds of seed is no fun)

I kept on telling my partner that we'll get feeders set up one of these days. It's really cold here in Wisconsin, and I think the birds really do need it. Doesn't hurt that I may get a few chances to get that cardinal(s) in the snow shot that I really would like to take. Only downside is that we'll have to be really diligent at cleaning...
I have red headed woodpeckers here. I usually see them on utility poles along the road next to the timber. They don't come to the feeder like the other woodpeckers do, even though the feeder is within sight of where I see them.
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  #59  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:35 PM
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oliver1850 oliver1850 is offline
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Originally Posted by duke View Post
Common Loons are just that around here in the winter.
Used to go fishing in Voyageur Natl. Park with an old Belgian guy who mistakenly referred to them as goons. We don't have them here as far as I know. Would like to hear one again some time.
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  #60  
Old 11-21-2019, 05:41 PM
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Gsinill Gsinill is offline
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Red-tailed hawk and hummingbirds

We have an abundance of different kinds visiting us.

My wife really got into recently; she has several books and reads up on any new species she identifies.

This year, we had a lot of hummingbirds and whereas they usually just eat from the feeder and fly away, we had one that actually seemed to watch us through the kitchen window every time it showed up.
Really neat to watch.



We also have a friend who is into falconry, he came out a little while ago with his red-tailed hawk. Majestic bird, especially close up.

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