Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Birds

I read an article recently on a way to better control the auto focus on a camera. Its called back-button auto focusing. It works on most digital SLR camera like our Canon Digital Rebel XTi. The concept is that the camera focuses while a button is pressed on the back of the camera. Release the button and auto focus stops. This promises to be a great help when photographing birds or anything in motion. I regularly have the problem when panning that the focus will get lost and I lose the shot.

Wanting to get some experience with this mode before leaving for Africa, I went out on Sunday to try it out. There was a report from Friday of a very cold, lost, rare bird for Idaho, a Tricolored Heron. It was seen and photographed along the Boise River on Friday. While no one could find it on Saturday, I thought I would give it a shot.

No luck. I did find many great birds including three Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Heron. Boise River.
Great Blue Heron. Boise River.

The lighting wasn't great, but I did get some good experience with the camera mode. Not a bad day for birding either. Other birds - Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, American Crow, Common Merganser, American Wigeon, Mallard, Pied-billed Grebe, Barrow's Goldeneye, Northern Flicker, Dark-eyed Junco, and Black-billed Magpie.

Yesterday we received 3 inches of snow. I watched in fascination as the Dark-eyed Juncos learned about snow in my backyard. They flew from the feeder to land on the railing of my deck. They would disappear in the soft powder. They flew out and tied to land on the ground. Once again sinking out of sight in the snow. In a cloud of flakes they flew up looking for a solid place to land. The finally settled in the tree and on the fence where they could remain above the snow. What a different world they woke up in today.

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