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Thread: On approaching some water birds.

  1. #1
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    Default On approaching some water birds.

    A couple of thoughts on getting close to subjects. With waders /shore birds on beaches and tidal flats for several years now I will often pick up a short bit of stick or shell or whatever and dig a little with near the waters edge deliberately flicking a bit of sand here and there. I approach birds gradually in a zig zag manner, stopping to repeat the little digging, I keep lowish ie don't stand bolt upright as you move. I shorten the distance I move each time as I get closer to the subject. I'm making no attempt to hide and to birds I think I'd be viewed as just another shore forager. I've used this technique to get quite close to several different species and often have birds approach me to see if there is something for them. The areas where I'm doing this are also areas where fisherman often pump bait. Not saying this will work everwhere and with every specie, but one more tool in the birding armamentum to keep in the back of your mind. Become an observor of your subject look for nervous behaviour. The purpose of the little stick for digging is so I'm not putting sandy fingers onto my camera. I also start taking photos from a long way away, not that I want the images, but it gets the birds used to the camera sound and now the fill flash as well. A few days ago I went to my local tidal flat to pump some nippers, the minute I started pumping several birds arrived landing within about 20mtrs of me including a Beach Stone Curlew. Next time I go to pump some bait I will take the camera
    Kind regards Trevor.

    Website: www.trevormurrayphotography.com

  2. The following user says thank you to Trevor Murray for their reply:

    Ákos Lumnitzer (09-12-2011)

  3. #2
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    Exactly what I do too except I get sandy fingers so I will try a stick as suggested. Works very well when you have no cover. Many of the tundra breeding species have never seen a human when they arrive here so this technique will work well with them. I always try and avoid any hunched, predator like movements too as this will automatically be construed as threatening behavior.

  4. #3
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    Well done Paul, I hoped my suggestion wouldn't be greeted with total amusement. "Many of the tundra breeding species have never seen a human", one of my little pet theories is to go either where birds see no one (difficult) or go where they see lots of people in non threatening situations.
    Kind regards Trevor.

    Website: www.trevormurrayphotography.com

  5. #4
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    A little proof of the theory from today. This bird actually came too close for a while, couldnt fit it all in the frame, after a fair while I was hoping it would walk away a bit as I wanted to stand after squatting for a fair while.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Uncropped, 40D 300mm+1.4TC, tripod. I must do this early one morning when the light will be with me rather than against me
    Kind regards Trevor.

    Website: www.trevormurrayphotography.com

  6. #5
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    How cool! Would never of thought of this. Thanks so much for sharing.


    Cheers,
    Cameron
    Cheers

    Cameron

  7. #6
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    Thanks for sharing your technique, Trevor. I will try it next time I'm out on the sand. How I wish a Striated would come as close as yours did.
    Cheers,

    George

    Life List : 481 (Southern Cassowary, Etty Bay, QLD, Oct., 2016)

  8. #7
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    Great advice Trevor. Great hearing how everyone does their thing
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 684 - Grey Honeyeater
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  9. #8
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    The things we crazy birders do in the pursuit of "that" shot. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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