One of the must-have equipment for wildlife photography in general, and bird photography in particular, is to have a telephoto lens powerful enough to capture subjects with sufficient details and sharpness, without having to come too close to them. Since most of us can’t afford super telephoto lenses, also called second-mortgage lenses, some of us resort to using an extender, which is much less expensive, to increase the reach of our lenses. With a 1.4 extender, a 400 mm lens will be equivalent to a 560 mm lens.
I have had such an extender for two years, but almost never used it because the results had been disappointing especially in terms of sharpness. Finally, looking at photos posted by Jerry from Quiet Solo Pursuits here on WordPress, I decided to give it a try with the Canon 5D Mark IV that I have been using since last year.
Following are some of the shots I took yesterday at the refuge and at Colonial Lake under a bright sun with the 100-400 mm lens and a 1.4 extender.
Now that the Ospreys have migrated South, their nests are being taken over by squatters, temporary ones anyway . One of them is a Peregrine Falcon that I saw perched on a nest.
This is the season for Snow Geese migration, and there were many thousands of them at the refuge.
Today was the warmest February day for this area, and it felt like summer as I stood at the observation area near the Inlet/Outlet Tower of Merrill Creek Reservoir in Harmony Township, NJ, and watched tens of thousands of Snow Geese resting on the water during their migration back to their tundra breeding grounds. In the photo below, the geese form that white band in the middle. A birder next to me estimated there was probably 50,000 Snow Geese in that long band.
Suddenly, something disturbed the geese and they flew up in the air.
The sound was extraordinary, like the noise a million bees would make when they swarm. The undulating cloud of thousands and thousands of Snow Geese was a sight not to be missed, with shapes and colors changing as the geese turned in synchronized motion according to signals that only they could understand.
Once again, there was no easy way to get closer to the geese, so these photos taken from at least half a mile away will have to do. However, I may try again another day.
Geese form beautiful skeins when they fly, and capturing them in flight is irresistible to most photographers. A few days ago, I was fortunate enough to see both Snow Geese and Canada Geese in V formation heading along on their Spring migration paths.
In the fall, Snow Geese migrate some 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from the northernmost reaches of Canada to as far South as Mexico. In the Spring they do it in reverse, and so we get to see them twice a year, in flocks of a few hundreds to as many as hundreds of thousands of them. In the latter case, they cover the ground like snow, and the sight of them lifting up to fly is a wonder of nature.
The above photos were taken at Merrill Creek Reservoir on a bright sunny day three years ago. The following photos are more recent close ups of Snow Geese in flight. They were taken at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on an overcast day.
Snow Geese migrate every year between the tundras of Alaska and Canada to as far south as Mexico. They have become very efficient flyers, taking advantage of high thermal currents to move great distances. When they are not flying, they are foraging for food and eating their way across fields and swamp lands. Here are a few shots taken last month of these birds doing what they do best, flying. They were among a flock of several thousands at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, and all I had to do was point the camera up and click away.
What do you do when hundreds of Snow Geese descend from the sky and started landing around you? This happened to me at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge two weeks ago.
I initially tried to capture everyone of them in one photo! But I quickly gave up that attempt and concentrated on two of them. Here are the results, with all the following photos taken in less than 2 seconds.
This past Sunday, some Snow Geese found a good place for food on the banks of the salt marshes at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
As I watched them, every minute or so more Snow Geese kept flying in. I only had to point my camera up to the sky to catch them landing at their new feeding spot.
They made big splashes but that hardly bothered those who were busy eating.
The record warm weather here has probably confused the Snow Geese which usually come down from the Artic tundras to winter in the Midlantic region. For two weeks in a row I have seen large flocks of them fly North. When winter finally gets here, will they again fly South?
In the meantime, it was a great opportunity for me to photograph them at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
Yesterday I saw a Snow Goose wearing a yellow neck collar with two letters and two numbers: UP and 62. Neck collars have been used to study the life and migration of these geese. A yellow collar means that it is a female. The letters and numbers probably mean something also, but only the researchers would know that.
Right on cue, the female turned in my direction to allow me a better look at the collar.
Suddenly, the male Snow Goose signaled they should take off.
For this challenge, here are three photos of snow geese that I took in March as they flew to their summer grounds in Canada and Alaska.
Among other things, snow geese are distinguishable by their black lips, a dark line around their bills.
Snow geese are usually white, with black wing tips. Last weekend as I was looking at the waves of geese landing on Merrill Creek Reservoir, someone shouted: “See those black ones!” I did see two of them flying by, but they were too quick for me to take a shot.
Going back to my files from two years ago, I found the following photo where you can see a snow goose that is not not white. It is grayish brown, a genetic variation or morph, of the species.
I took this picture at the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge about this same time of the year in 2012. It was a warm spring-like day with no snow in sight. Now two years later, more snow is coming tonight and tomorrow, on top of the white stuff that is still on the ground, unable to melt away because of the freezing temperatures of the past week.