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Thread: Getting Close to Birds

  1. #1
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    Default Getting Close to Birds

    I know this was of topic in the old forum and I have my two cents to throw in after what has been an interesting couple of days chasing snipes around the lakes here in Weipa. As photographers we have the need to get close to our subjects, usually by creeping up or hiding and waiting for the birds to approach us. After 2 days of chasing snipe around the shore and getting no closer than say 25 metres and being disgusted at how the sharpies and other less interesting waders allowed us within 5 or 6 metres, a new technique was stumbled upon which proved very fruitful. In rapidly fading light yesterday afternoon and after spooking the snipe on foot, one flushed to further up the bank. It was almost too dark for more photos so I said to Kristy to just jump in the car and we'll drive up to it for one last crack at a picture. I couldn't believe getting to within 5 metres by staying in the car! Today at mid afternoon we went looking for the snipe again (while the light was good) and found them where they have been hanging out. The three were present, resting on some grass by the edge of the lake. Instead of getting out of the car and going into stealth mode, I drove right up to them, switched the car off and we shot away through the car's open windows. Eventually they became a little uneasy and got up but moving only a metre or so further away, began feeding. Eventually I opened the car door and got out - slowly, which immediately flushed them 100m or so away. We used the same technique on some red kneed dotterels as well and got some other great shots - all from the car! I guess some birds don't see a car as a threat like someone creeping up armed with a tripod and DSLR.
    Canon SX10IS P&S, Always handheld and usually too far away!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Getting Close to Birds

    I have had very similar experiences. Often, flighty birds such as Common Bronzewings will become amazingly carefree when I am in a car. We almost ran over a bunch of around 10 in the Pillaga a month ago: they would simply not get off the road. Conversely, when I am not in the car, they willl flush before I am within 30 metres of them (I hope it's not in response to my looks :P ).

    Annoyingly, my camera is almost always in the boot, when these car-hide opportunities come along, so, when I go to get out of the car (we have a protective wire mesh between the boot and the seats), the birds always fly off. So I don't even have record shots of many (including Common Bronzewing)

    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

  3. #3
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    Medowie, Port Stephens
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    Default Re: Getting Close to Birds

    Lesson learnt Ashy. Always have the camera accessible. Mine is usually on the floor in the passengers side. I am guessing you have a station wagon if you have the wire safety grill. Try folding down the rear seat if you have one too. I did that the other day to access the camera bag. None to graceful but did the job

    Ben. We have the same sort of success on Ash Island with waders. You can drive right next to birds, but try to get out of the car and they are gone. Strange they don't see cars as a threat because I am sure they can still see you in there.
    Life list - 278 species (Painted Snipe) updated 06/11/11
    2011 list - 160+ species (stopped counting months ago)
    Web site http://www.darrylluck.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Getting Close to Birds

    Completely agree with the car hide theory. The wife & I both contribute our shots to the forum.
    Whenever we are driving around in the bush, or going from one location to another I drive & Judy
    has her Nikon on her lap. It's amazing how many good shots she's got out of the car window.
    As soon as we get out of the car the're off, so now we approach them a few metres at a time
    remaining in the car, it works almost every time. As an example refer to her Brown Falcon ( Kestrel
    morph ) shot.
    Cheers Keith



    .Our land abounds in Nature's gifts. Of beauty rich and rare.


    Life list total (seen by both of us) = 440 Latest addition Tawny Grassbird Ritamada Point QLD.

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