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12-08-2022, 04:09 PM - 12 Likes   #1
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Clackers' Beginners Tip 51: Wildlife in Breeding Season

Good morning all, I can't seem to do anything right.

After winning the game, I threw the ball into the crowd, just like they do on TV.

Now Iím permanently banned from that bowling alley.

It gets worse. My boss has threatened to fire the employee with the worst posture.

I have a hunch, it might be me.

This week I want to talk about bird shots taken at key points in the Spring.

Let's forget about the experience of feeding the ducks at the local pond. Not just walking past, but even looking at an animal in the wild is intrusive. Staring at something instead of carrying on with your own business in the animal world is a preliminary to attack.

Now, there is a wide range of opinions in the bird photography world, but I take less pictures in nesting time than any other time of the year, and it has to do with it being the most important and stressful time on a bird's calendar. Advice from organizations I respect include making sure any shoot is brief, and letting at least 3-4 days pass before visiting the site of any nest again.

Knowing species behaviour is important ... for example IIRC, there's a type of honeyeater that if they ever realize they have been spotted entering or leaving a nest, will abandon it, even if eggs are present, and they will attempt to lay again somewhere else, or give up for the year. We don't want that on our conscience.

If a nest is occupied, feeding should be regular, and if parents don't return when you're nearby, it could be because they see you and their routine is disrupted. Set yourself a time limit ... say half an hour, and then move on. And then best not to ever come back to that particular spot.

Photographers who are determined to document a particular nest really need to think about a good hide arrangement and a very long lens, like the professionals do. That hide needs to be present long enough before shooting is done from it ... ideally days ... to relax all the local inhabitants.

The picture below is of a so-called 'Noisy Miner' (bullies in the bird world here, to be honest), with I think my Sigma 150-500mm.

To finish with, there's the story of an Australian named Bluey, who during his army career had become friends with an English lord who made a point of getting in touch and inviting him to Britain for his first experience of a white Christmas.

Bluey had a wonderful Christmas day with Lord and Lady Wotherspoon on their country estate, and after a suitable amount of drinks retired for the night.

The next morning, Lord Wotherspoon awoke to the clatter of crockery as his butler brought him breakfast in bed.

'Tell me, Jenkins,' enquired the old gentleman, 'is my Australian friend still asleep?'

'I believe he is awake, sir. There are signs that he has been urinating from the balcony into the snow.'

'Well, we've always done that at one time or another, Jenkins.'

'Perhaps, sir, but in doing so he has managed to write his name in the snow.'

'That's not so terrible, is it?'

'Not in itself, sir, but it seems to be in Lady Wotherspoon's handwriting.'

Find the rest of the series here: Clackers' Beginners Tips (Collected) - PentaxForums.com



12-08-2022, 07:41 PM - 2 Likes   #2
Des
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Good advice as always Clackers. One of the other things about looking too closely at a nest site, especially with a camera or bins, is that it advertises its presence to predators. When we have had birds nesting around our place I always watch carefully for predators like currawongs, butcherbirds, kookaburras, magpies, ravens, sparrowhawks etc before having a look. Sure the predators might already know but if they have a big territory they might not.

Currawongs used to be occasional visitors here but now they are breeding residents. They have taken a big toll on breeding success in the last couple of years.
12-08-2022, 08:49 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Good advice as always Clackers. One of the other things about looking too closely at a nest site, especially with a camera or bins, is that it advertises its presence to predators. When we have had birds nesting around our place I always watch carefully for predators like currawongs, butcherbirds, kookaburras, magpies, ravens, sparrowhawks etc before having a look. Sure the predators might already know but if they have a big territory they might not.

Currawongs used to be occasional visitors here but now they are breeding residents. They have taken a big toll on breeding success in the last couple of years.
Yeah, I've occasionally seen birds go nuts at one of my workplaces, I look around a bit, and they've noticed a butcherbird lingering on a fence railing.
12-08-2022, 11:08 PM   #4
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There is a mistake in the thread title, it should be wildlife in freezing season, for all of us up-side down on the globe.

12-08-2022, 11:57 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
There is a mistake in the thread title, it should be wildlife in freezing season, for all of us up-side down on the globe.
Yes, didn't think you were a flatearther, BE, for half the world we're in summer now.

Not that in Melbourne we notice anything different. We're famous for having all four seasons in one day.

Travellers have asked me, 'I'll be in Melbourne for three days. What should I bring to wear?"

I say, swimming costume, singlets, sweaters, giant fur coat, everything.

Last edited by clackers; 12-09-2022 at 12:03 AM.
12-09-2022, 06:22 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Very nice and helpful introduction to the subject, @Clackers.

May I draw your attention to the following, which details the UK legal position regarding bird photography during the breeding season. Alongside this, there are restrictions on disturbing or destroying breeding habitat or potential breeding habitat at this time of year (which is basically February to August) - it's often tempting to remove twigs or branches that obscure the view, but this too can lead to legal action.

http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/BAWC_Photographing_Schedule_1_bird...%20or%20harmed.

There can also be a grey area regarding birds breeding on Nature Reserves - at Cley NWT a few years ago, a pair of Avocets nested on an island within 30 feet of one of the hides. They showed no distress at the phalanx of lenses perpetually pointed at them, and indeed hatched successfully two broods - but technically photographing them was against the law, as none of the photographers had a 'Schedule 1 licence'.

.
12-09-2022, 09:58 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Good morning all, I can't seem to do anything right.
Ian, you are too funny my friend. You need your own YouTube channel I enjoy reading your posts a lot. You made my day. For you to be a Pentaxian is icing on the cake. Keep them coming bro.

12-09-2022, 02:45 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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I took this shot in Chile a few years ago. The bird was on the nest. Later I showed it to a well-known Canadian birder who was guiding a tour I was on and he immediately shot back "You were too close!". I thought that was unfair as the image was only about 1/6th of the frame with APS-C, and a 300m lens plus 1.4x TC. I'm guessing we (including a guide) were about 30-35 feet away - we stayed low and quiet and the bird showed no signs of stress, it was still there when we left. It would be one of my favourite shots (the Diademed Sandpiper -Plover is known as a rare and mysterious species) but it's tainted by that guy's off-the cuff comment. I'm still not certain we did the right thing.

12-09-2022, 04:15 PM - 1 Like   #9
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As you say, the bird shows no signs of distress or alarm, and I think that a distance of 30-35 feet is reasonable for this shot. Thanks for sharing it - and as the guy who made the comment was not there, how did he feel he had the right to pass judgement ? Sometimes you have to make the call yourself, and I see no problem with your actions. In your place, I would have done the same.
12-11-2022, 05:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
I took this shot in Chile a few years ago. The bird was on the nest. Later I showed it to a well-known Canadian birder who was guiding a tour I was on and he immediately shot back "You were too close!". I thought that was unfair as the image was only about 1/6th of the frame with APS-C, and a 300m lens plus 1.4x TC. I'm guessing we (including a guide) were about 30-35 feet away - we stayed low and quiet and the bird showed no signs of stress, it was still there when we left. It would be one of my favourite shots (the Diademed Sandpiper -Plover is known as a rare and mysterious species) but it's tainted by that guy's off-the cuff comment. I'm still not certain we did the right thing.
It's such a great shot, Steven, so sharp, he can be forgiven for thinking you were closer than you really were.

And yes, since our even being in sight of wildlife is stressful, by definition just by being there any hiker or photographer is being intrusive.

Unless we adopt a strict moral code about it, I guess all we can do is limit our presence!
12-11-2022, 06:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
Very nice and helpful introduction to the subject, @Clackers.

May I draw your attention to the following, which details the UK legal position regarding bird photography during the breeding season. Alongside this, there are restrictions on disturbing or destroying breeding habitat or potential breeding habitat at this time of year (which is basically February to August) - it's often tempting to remove twigs or branches that obscure the view, but this too can lead to legal action.

.
Yes, thanks, I can guess who that's actually aimed at.

For all our handwringing and angst as photographers, the real threat is the property owners.
12-12-2022, 02:12 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
<snip>

For all our handwringing and angst as photographers, the real threat is the property owners.
Don't I know it ! I am currently in a war of words (when they have the courtesy and manners to respond) with the North Norfolk District Council. I complained to them when a landowner destroyed over 250 yards of hedgerow (which in the UK is protected nesting habitat) during the breeding season. Their response ? 'It was only bramble scrub, so didn't matter'. I asked where the head of the Wildlife and Countryside Section did his ecological training, but strangely he declined to comment. I shall continue.
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