Posts Tagged ‘digiscoping’

Background Check

Sharp-shinned Hawk digiscoped by Bill Schmoker

A lot of digiscoping tips and discussions center around gear and technique. These are certainly important but once your rig is dialed in it is important to also remember to spare some thought for composition.

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Snowy Showoff: Bill-vibrating behavior

SNEG_DelMarCA_11Oct2014_Schmoker

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 39th Western Field Ornithologists Conference in San Diego, California. Among the wonderful places I birded was the San Dieguito River Estuary in Del Mar. Its banks and mud bars hosted a pleasing variety of shorebirds (Pacific Golden-Plover, anyone?), and landscaped properties bordering the river teemed with bird life. But I think my personal highlight of the stop was a Snowy Egret engaged in a behavior I’d never seen before. It was out in shallow water, facing in the direction of a light current moving inland with the rising tide. The bird was crouched horizontally, holding its bill in the surface of the water burbling away like a kid about to be rebuked for blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk.

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Dueling Video Techniques

Both digiscoping and DSLR rigs can be used to obtain high-quality video of birds.  Below we'll compare results from a Nikon DSLR rig (right) and a Leica APO-Televid + iPhone rig (left.)

More and more I find myself looking for opportunities to shoot video of birds along with stills. With HD video recording capability now widely featured in DSLRs and high-quality cell phones it has become easier than ever for birders to grab really neat movies of their avian subjects doing cool things. On my annual sojourn to northwest Wisconsin this past June I had a cooperative Yellow-bellied Sapsucker whose favorite drumming post was right outside my cabin. I took advantage of the opportunity to film the bird both with my DSLR rig and through my Leica APO-Televid 65mm spotting scope. Below I’ll summarize a few considerations for both rigs and present short movies taken with each setup for your perusal and comparison.

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Enough Light to Digiscope at Night

"Peenting" American Woodcock, Maumee Bay State Park, OH, May 2014.  Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

I recently had the great pleasure of joining David La Puma and Jeff Bouton at the 2014 Biggest Week in American Birding. The event is hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory at the famed Magee Marsh and nearby Maumee Bay State Park along Northwest Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. Droves of neotropical migrants make their way through the region each spring, earning the region its nickname, ” The Warbler Capital of the World.” I certainly enjoyed the abundance of warblers and other gorgeous passerines, but the chance to see American Woodcocks doing their thing was certainly among my personal highlights.

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Suet Piranhas

Bushtits raiding the suet, Longmont, CO  February 2014.  Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

For most of the winter I’ve been enjoying the hit-and-run tactics of a Bushtit flock in my Longmont, Colorado back yard. Up to about 15 of the wee long-tailed fuzz balls will make a raid on my home-made suet in the morning, attacking it with fierce gusto like a school of suet piranhas.

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Observing Plovers in Florida

adult male "Florida" Snowy Plover - Leica digiscoped image 2/16/14

Notes from field study of the “ringed” plover group from the gulf coast of Florida, and subsequent research at home reveals some curious mysteries.

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Digiscoping in Miami – first birding trip!

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  The crew went digiscoping in Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne, and took the Traveling Trinovid with them. There was a great assortment of shorebirds, gulls, and terns here.   Some of these birds were easily separable from the other birds on the beach including this Dunlin that had a pure white feather on [...]

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