Saturday, November 27, 2010

Total Rookie Mistake

Thank goodness I am still in my rookie season of birding. Today I made a total rookie mistake. Normally I work my way down my mental checklist when stalking birds. Be conscious of where the sun is, don't break too many branches, don't get distracted by just 1 bird. Make sure I have battery left in my camera, make sure that I didn't knock the camera off the good settings, and other camera tips. Today was a new one to add to my mental list.

I walked down to the lake and it was super windy, so I decided to walk counter-clockwise around so that I wouldn't have to walk into the wind across the dam. I would have it at my back when I crossed the dam at the end of my walk. I got to the bay where the Hooded Mergansers were yesterday and the 6 were out there swimming. On the way back to the trail, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. It was an adult Cooper's Hawk. It was easy to see since most of the leaves had already fallen from the trees. Problem was that it was facing away from me and there were branches in the way.

Adult Cooper's Hawk

I had to get around the hawk without scaring it away. Got halfway around.

Half Way There

I didn't want to startle the hawk since it was being so patient with me. I got nearly all the way to the front, but the sun was very bright behind the hawk. I tried about 4 or 5 different spots but I always had a stick here or there in the picture. Finally found a pretty good spot and then my camera started acting up. Auto-focus going in and out, not taking a picture etc. I had to get back on the trail to leave the hawk before I figured out what was wrong. Out of memory space on the card. Man, what a rookie mistake!!! I deleted a few of the 50 pictures that I took of the hawk, but I passed on going back down and scaring the hawk off.  Add that one to the list.


  1. I can so relate to your story. Number one, I too am a rookie bird photographer with less than two months experience with my DSLR. The quiet storm that goes on in our minds as we multi-task our way towards a click is hysterical. If there is anything more challenging than wildlife photography I don't want to know about it!
    What a great job you did getting these marvelous images. You have a phenomenal blog and I am proud to be your newest follower.

  2. Oh no! Of course my solution to this problem is just to get a ridiculously large memory card, instead of remembering to delete old photos. You still managed to get some great shots!

  3. Not only do I have a large memory card but got a second one just in case. You just never know when you're going to have a great birding day.

  4. Yeah... total lesson learned. I'm sure that there will be more lessons too!

  5. Perfect shot! For me, I'm taking a daily shot on flowers as I have difficulty making it perfect.