Archive for the ‘Photographers’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

Scaled Quail, Eddy County, NM, 23 July 2014.  Photo © Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team.

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Wordless Wednesday

Common Loon, Burnett County, Wisconsin, June 2014.  Photo © Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team.

© Bill Schmoker 2014

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Lesser and Common Nighthawks – wing shape and pattern

The pale (white here) bars across the primaries of Lesser Nighthawks are closer to the wingtip than on Common Nighthawks. On Lesser Nighthawks, the bar isolates a dark wingtip that approximates an equilateral triangle (three even-length sides) - the pale bar on a Common Nighthawk isolates a decidedly longer isosceles triangle of dark at the wingtip.

This photo primer discusses the ID of Lesser and Common Nighthawks in the field [and on the branch, and even in the air!]. While geography and a knowledge of status & distribution can get you pretty far with this species pair, it’s helpful to focus on wing shape and exact pattern in order to nail down an identification.

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“Get to da choppa!” Helibirding for science and style

Ammodramus sparrows were remarkably easy to see from the helicopter. Often, it was fairly straightforward to separate small, pale Saltmarsh Sparrows...

It’s hot, humid, and buggy – time to enliven your birding with a bit of a change in perspective. Join Leica Birding Team member Tom Johnson on a helicopter bird survey in New Jersey.

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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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Wordless Wednesday

Western Snowy Plover Nest, San Diego, California, Photo by Jennie Duberstein

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Wordless Wednesday

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Wordless Wednesday

Black-and-white Warbler at Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Jennie Duberstein.

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Wordless Wednesday

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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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Wordless Wednesday

Black Vulture, Hunt, Texas, April 2014.  © Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

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Wordless Wednesday

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Mountain Chickadee, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 26 January 2014. Photo by Bill Schmoker, Leica Birding Team

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Wordless Wednesday

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Common Raven showing off its gleaming black plumage in fresh snow, Lafayette, Colorado, 8 February 2014. Photo by Bill Schmoker.

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Wordless Wednesday

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How many Buff-breasted Flycatchers can you spot in this picture? It was taken during VENT’s Camp Chiricahua, which Leica co-sponsors, in August 2013 in Portal, Arizona.

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Athena in The Bog Part 2: Hanging with Erik Bruhnke

Athena meets the bog

The Duluth, MN birding community is a tight nit one to be certain. There are a number of excellent birders who guide visitors into the Sax-Zim bog, and our guest blogger here is one of them. Erik Bruhnke, owner and operator of Naturally Avian tours, took Athena for a few-day spin into Sax-Zim bog right after the Sax-Zim birding festival. Initially I (David La Puma) was going to write about my experience with Athena in the bog, but once Erik got ahold of her I knew only he could do her justice… especially given Erik’s keen eye for a fabulous photo! Come read on about Erik’s time with Athena in one of my favorite birding destinations.

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