The Croissant-shaped bird

I got out today and did some of my first birding in Maryland, but was sorely disappointed. The weather had turned bloody cold but there are still no ducks around. Maybe they don’t get ducks out here? I guess that is a possibility. I did manage to pick up some year birds including a Pileated Woodpecker for #72. That is not very fantastic for the start to the year but I’ve been busy and the weather hasn’t been conducive. Well, in between reading fascinating life histories of grassland birds I took some time to go back through the photos I digiscoped in New Jersey last month and edited a few more.

These first two are some shots I got of Brant. I was ridiculously close to the Brant and am a little bitter that I didn’t get anything clearer to show you. The morning sun was particularly bright and I didn’t account for that in the cameras settings so I ended up with many overexposed shots. The shots that did turn out well were sharp enough, so I guess I can’t complain too much. I do wish that I had an SLR camera for such close birds, I could have turned out some fantastic images in no time at all.

I was also plagued with light issues digiscoping the Ruddy Turnstones that were hopping over the rocks at Barnegat Light. I definitely learned that more light is not always better. The light was shining right down the barrel of the scope and so most of the shots show that distinct sunbeam going right across the turnstone, washing out all the color. I fixed one up the best I could in order to commemorate the turnstone that got picked off later in the morning by two hungry Peregrine Falcons. I particularly like the hunch-backed look to the turnstones. In Pete Dunne’s Essential Filed Guide Companion, he describes them as having a croissant-like shape which I think is a apt desciptor.

Now the last picture I am going to show you is what I consider one of my luckiest digis because I didn’t focus on the bird and even aiming at the Great Blue was luck. It took off from where it was perched and I whipped my digiscope setup around, using the auto-focus to lock on the bird if I got it in view. After a little clean up editing in Photoshop I am fairly proud of this flight shot. I hope you enjoy these!