I was never very interested in birds……in fact, unless quite large and colorful and most often in a zoo they would go by unnoticed. Until Spring ’11 when a friend invited me on a fishing trip. Now, fishing is another story. Not only is it something I do not care for, it is also the type of activity I would just as well replace with just about anything else.

 

On this particular occasion, I was told that the St-Lawrence River in the area of Lac Saint-Pierre had risen to an unusual level and that several areas were now passable by john-boat and that wood ducks and others might be more easily approachable as well as other birds. It was decided that the fishing trip would be reorganized so as to include a sizable photo component.

 

Needless to say, I was sold and secretly elated to be able to try my new D700/28-300mm combo.

Couldn’t have picked a more perfect day!

 

Wood ducks, unless in a wildlife preserve or national park are by nature very shy, like to perch on tree limbs and preferably in the shade. This made the beginning of my very first bird safari quite disappointing as we could never get close enough for my limited lens reach to be effective.

Until we came upon the following and this made my day. Even now I have goose bumps thinking about this magic moment.

 

 

This turkey vulture couple had probably never seen people so close and the male was looking down at us about 25 feet below. I understand that one of the things they do when feeling threatened is to spit the regurgitate from the carrion they are in the process of digesting. In retrospect, I feel quite fortunate for having been able to take this shot and remain dry 🙂

 

 

Just a few minutes later we glided on to an area where Bald Eagles patrol their territory and hunt for local fish and sometimes a wounded goose or duck. On the branch sit a juvenile and an parent. Interesting to note that bald eagle females are larger than males. A few bird species are subject to this dismorphism based on sex. Here is a shot of the jevenile in flight showing the incredible plumage backlit by the sun:

 

 

And, if you think this was it for my first bird photo electroshock, keep reading: !

 

Arctic Tern.

Cormorant Rising.

Common Moorhen.

 

This half day spent in total photo bliss could not have ended on a better image than this one:

 

 

This first trip convinced me that my 28-300mm just didn’t cut it and there followed a trip to the local camera store to pick up the magnificent 70-200 f2.8 VRII coupled to a 2x TC20E III.

 

This combo rigged to the D300 would yield a reach of 600mm and to the D700 a reach of 400mm. Now the real fun begins. Unfortunately it also begins with getting used to shooting with a close to 15lb rig in your hand, most often shooting without a tripod or monopod so as to be mobile enough to track a bird in flight. Needless to say, very high speeds are necessary to assist the limited action of the VR mechanism. I usually use shutter priority at 1/1250s. Most often this means a high ISO which is not a problem with the D700 body but tends to be very noisy on the D300. You just don’t want to have to crop too much under these circumstances.

 

 

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2018

 

Hooded Merganser

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Birds | 0 comments

Hooded Merganser / Harle huppé (Lophodytes cucullatus)

 

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013. Too many males for one female.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f9.0, 1/1600s ISO 2000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Merganser Female

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Best of, Birds, Featured | 1 comment

Common Merganser female / Grand Harle femelle (Mergus merganser)

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013. Too many males for one female.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f9.0, 1/1600s ISO 2000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Muskrat

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Wildlife | 1 comment

Muskrat / Rat musqué

Eating something….

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f8.0, 1/1250s ISO 1000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Ice bound

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Abstractions, Others | 1 comment

Ice encasing a branch in the fast moving water.

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f7.1, 1/1600s ISO 2000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

 

Smokin’ Bubblin’ Teapot

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Abstractions, Others | 0 comments

Bubbling and on fire

December 2013.

Nikon D700/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 290mm, f8.0, 0.4s ISO 400

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Frida

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Pets and Domestic Animals | 1 comment

My Black Standard Poodle Female

 

Montreal. December 2013. Surprised

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f6.3, 1/1250s ISO 1000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Attentive Dark-Eyed Junco

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Birds | 1 comment

Dark-Eyed Junco / Junco ardoisé (Junco hyemalis)

Montreal. December 2013.

Nikon D700 / Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f9.0, 1/1600s ISO 2000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

 

Goldfinch

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Birds | 1 comment

Goldfinch Female / Chardonneret jaune femelle (Spinus tristis)

 

Montreal. December 2013.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f9.0, 1/1250s ISO 1000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Hairy Woodpecker Female

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Backyard animals, Birds | 1 comment

Hairy Woodpecker Female / Pic chevelu femelle (Picoides villosus)

 

Montreal. December 2013.  Feasting on suet and grain

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f9.0, 1/1250s ISO 1000

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016

Mallard Male

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Animalia, Birds | 2 comments

Mallard Male/Col-vert (Anas platyrhynchos)

 

Lachine Rapids, Lasalle, QC. December 2013. Too many males for one female.

Nikon D600/Sigma 150-500mm  f5.0-6.3 @ 500mm, f6.3, 1/1600s ISO 3200

Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2016