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page 10 Karl Egressy

Written By onci on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | 7:46 PM

Shooting the Elusive Birds

I have been wanting to get a shot of a Mourning Warbler for at least five years or more.
, I see them, I hear them, by the time I put down the tripod and try to aim, they are gone.
In May we went to Point Pelee and had good shooting of Warblers, even elusive ones such as Common Yellowthroat.
I heard that other birders/photographers found the Mourning Warbler but it eluded me.

My gear is 25.5 lbs with the lens, tripod, head, flash arm and flash., I was lugging it day in day out for five days. When I got home I was absolutely exhausted. My shoulders were bruised, my neck was hurting and was very very tired. I told to my wife that I would take a few days off, that she welcomed very much.

Next morning I got up and started going through of my emails which includes
hundreds of OFO bird location postings which is normal for this time of the year.
It is the peak season for migration after all. At one point I saw this report about a Mourning Warbler being spotted in Mississauga. I checked my shoulders, amazingly the pain was gone in a second. I told my wife that I had to go to Mississauga to shoot a Mourning Warbler.

She was good sport, she said that she would go with me if I walk slow. We found the spot with the help of other birders and heard the unmistakable song very soon. The bird was singing from the trees and once or twice dropped down into a shrub or the undergrowth. At one point I was listening to the song and my camera was aimed at a log right in front of me, by chance.

The next second I just could not believe my eyes; the bird just landed on the log. I did not loose my cool, I aimed and started firing away and I fired a six shot in one burst. On the first image the tail was still twitching.. Then the second one hit a perfect pose. The third shot hit only the tail of the flying away bird. The rest of the shots, an empty log. In reality I had about half a second to take my shot.

By the time my wife lifted her camera, the bird was gone. Luck, or experience or both? I would say I was ready.
Having had one week continuous shooting, my aiming skill was at its peak for the time being ... But still the biggest factor was luck. But you know what, I take it any time!

(just click on the image for a full size view)
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