Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birds of a Feather

What's that saying? Birds of a feather flock together?

One of the many glorious things about living here in NM is that the Rio Grande river offers a migratory path for wintering fowl. This past Sunday, I got to fulfill one of those things on my list, which was to do a photoshoot of these migrating birds. Linda was the one who thought of it and invited me to go with her. We chose this past Sunday since there was a full moon rising that evening.

We started off our birding trek at the Bernardo Waterfowl Management Area which is north of our destination, the Bosque Del Apache Reserve.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the only way to 'shoot' wildlife! You have to stay on the roads and cannot walk into the fields to get a closer view, so having a long lens is helpful. I didn't have a longer lens. A 300 mm lens is usually more than enough for me, except this is when I wished I had something bigger and better!

Shooting something that is flying up above and moving at a good clip is not easy to do! My lack of experience as a wildlife photographer (and I will never profess to be one) was a bit of a hindrance for me. I made a lot of 'mistakes' (the list is long like the litany of saints recited at mass during Holy Week) but I learned a lot about what to do differently next time.

I've been taking a lot of photos lately of just one feather stuck to a plant. I may have to post them as a group one of these days! This dead seedhead is from a wild sunflower plant.

The rest of the images are taken at the Bosque Del Apache site. (FYI)

If take enough photos of the subject matter, you do end up with some that are 'decent'!

When you hear the word, "corn rows" these days, this is not what comes to mind! This flock are geese, but I'm not sure what kind.

I wonder if those legs that this crane has to tuck under his body are relaxed or does it have to consciously hold those legs like that?

So, what do you do at the end of the day? Hang out and eat with your buddies! This is what I would call "happy hour"!

And they just keep coming in and coming in. In waves. Their honking announces their arrival.

And when the Snow Geese come in, they come in like a school of fish, no, more like a thick blanket of mosquitos!

And, they KEEP on coming!

The light kept changing constantly. It was a lot to take in visually.

We moved around from one area to another. This was the last pond that we ended up at to watch the sun go down and to wait for the moon to rise.

With the changing light came the changing colors. So rich, so warm. And those birds kept coming home!

More seed heads provide a wonderful silhouette against the red orange sky.

And they keep coming!

Such a perfect day!

The moon rise was spectacular too, but I've come to the conclusion that I suck at photographing the moon and will have to return to this place again next year and apply all the lessons I've learned.


robin bird said...

oh my god paula!! i am so glad you told me to stop by on this particular day :) first of all i must say that you are completely adorable on your video on 8X8X8. I loved seeing you in person and hearing your dulcet voice. you are very pretty :) and what a brilliant studio artist and curator you must be to have come up with this concept and pull it off.. :)

now this post... WOW! i love the single feather captured on the seed head and the all day story of the beauty you saw throughout the changing light. i so wish i could try this during the migration here..or where you are would be very cool too :)


Paula Scott said...

(blushing) Thanks, Robin!
Well, there is an annual event that kicks off the arrival of the cranes (and other migrating birds; there are 377 species recorded there). It's the Festival of the Cranes and you can visit their site at:

Leau said...

I love that place more than you can know. And these are great shots! All of them! And I am sure there were many more you didn't share. But thanks for sharing these. smooches

Jaime said...

Ha! They do look like mosquitos!

Beautiful shots Paula...I love that beautiful orange sky. And those large birds soaring through the sky with wings the size of airplane wings! What a wonderful day you must have had.


redredday said...

hi Paula! sorry for taking so long to say hello here. i wanted to catch up with all the posts i've missed. so much positive affirmation and beautiful images here. i especially love these ones of the birds. the shots of them all in the sky and the orange red sky and tree silhouette are amazing!
the other day, John and i saw these many pigeons all lined up on the ledge of some building. these city birds sticking together to try to stay warm. no trees to cozy around. it was freezing that day. i wish we got our camera to capture that shot.

hope your new year has been off to a good start...must to wonderful to let yourself slow down a bit and just enjoy the moment of things yeah? :).

Laurie said...

wow Paula, beautiful shots -- and there you were so close and I didn't get to see you. :(

Pekka said...

Lot of big birds and lot of good photos. I like them both. ;-)


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