Posts Tagged ‘migrating’

Yesterday I noticed several small flocks of blackbirds swooping in and out of the cattails at my local marsh and suspect that they are migrating birds. The marshland park seems to be favorite stopping-off spot for all kinds of birds as they move south.

I managed to get his shot of one of a male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) in a rather typical pose on a cattail stalk. Unlike in the spring, when males seem to spend a lot of time calling out to potential, the blackbirds yesterday seemed to be much more focused on foraging for food.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) continue to make migratory stops at Huntley Meadows Park, the local marshland in which I have been taking a lot of photos recently and I have been able to observe them closely. I am always struck by their beautifully expressive eyes, which seem to reflect an inner gentleness.

The old proverb says that the eyes of the mirror of the soul. I have been told from the outset that I should always strive to have the eyes in focus when I am photographing people and animals. As far as I can tell, that’s one of the few rules of photography that is almost never broken.

How often do you make eye contact with other people? I am amazed at how infrequently people acknowledge the presence of others by looking into their eyes. It was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I left military service, in which you saluted and greeted everyone in uniform that you passed. So often people pass each other without any visual signal that they recognize the presence of other sentient being. Needless to say, I am not a fan of wearing headphones in public.

People may think that you are a little strange, but I encourage you to look others in the eye and smile and greet them—it’s amazing how their attitude and expressions change.

Profile of a Canada Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When migrating geese land at my local marsh, most of them spend their time foraging for food, storing up energy for the next leg of their trip. This Canada Goose, however, seemed to have decided to rest a bit to regain his strength and secluded himself from the feverish activity of the other geese. His position is not that unusual, but his surroundings make this photo stand out for me. The colors contrast nicely with the black of his head and I really like the reflections. Click on the photo if you would like to see it in higher resolution.

Canada Goose at rest

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) continue to stop in at my local marshland (Huntley Meadows Park) as they migrate to unknown destinations. Sometimes they come in large groups, though most often I have seen them come in small groups of two to  six geese. I watched them for quite some time during this sunny weekend, and it seems that they spend most of their time on the ground foraging for food or simply relaxing and grooming themselves.

I’ve tried to take photos of the geese when they are flying and have found that this is much more challenging than I had anticipated. Lighting is perhaps the biggest issue, but the speed and direction of the geese is an almost equal problem—profile shots are great, but their relative speed seems fastest when they are moving perpendicular to the camera direction. Camera settings are sometimes hard to choose and adjust, especially when the geese decide at the spur of the moment that it’s a good time to take off. As I’ve found out repeatedly, the settings appropriate for taking photos of the geese in the water are not appropriate for geese in the air.

Here are some of my photos of geese in flight from this past weekend. As you can see, the weather was sunny and the skies were blue.  I am still working on my techniques, but I like the results so far (though I wouldn’t dare reveal how many shots I attempted in my quest to capture the geese in flight). If you click on the photos, you can see a few more details in a higher resolution view.

Migrating Canada Goose

Soaring Canada Goose

Climbing Canada Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was walking through the marsh land early this morning, a flock of very loud black birds flew overhead. I was surprised at how many there were and how noisy they were. I think they may be some kind of blackbird and that they are in the process of migrating. I managed to snap a few photos of some of the birds as they were flying. It is fun to look at all of the different body positions of the individual birds when I took the shots.

I especially like this first photo. It looks to me like the bird who is lagging behind is calling out to the other birds, requesting that they slow the pace a bit so that he does not fall behind. The birds look almost cartoonish and the photo just makes me smile.

“Please slow down.”

The second photo shows an even greater number of different positions. You may want to click on the photo for a higher resolution view so that you can appreciate the uniqueness of the individual birds.

Unsynchronized flying

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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