Home > Birding, Photography > Hornsby Bend Field Trip – July 2008

Hornsby Bend Field Trip – July 2008

Every third Saturday, a field trip of Hornsby Bend takes place. As I mentioned before, I’ve been wary due to the bug count in the afternoon. But today, I managed to haul myself out of bed to get there at 7:30am. While I can’t speak for other days, here’s how it went for me. Refer to the map.

We drove down to Hawkwatch, between Ponds 1 East and West. A couple of people had spotting scopes. These were invaluable. Compared with my 70-300mm lens, the difference is amazing. There were quite a few shorebirds. At the moment, shorebirds means to me: a bunch of small brown birds that all looks suspiciously the same and are hard to photograph. The Black-necked Stilts are an exception. They are bigger, and will get closer. Grackels galore, and hundreds of Swallows and some Purple Martins.

We then drove to the west end of Pond 1 West where we spent the rest of our time on the trails between there, Pond 3, the greenhouse, and the birding blind. I definitely saw many more birds than I would have by myself. I think that part of this is due to our numbers. With 12 people, you are bound to have more sightings.

Thoughts:

  • This is really for birders, at least at this time of year. Trying to find, much less photograph, small birds along the trails is difficult. My best photos were of butterflies today!
  • 8x binoculars are not enough. 10-12x definitely.
  • It’s a little luck. Last time I was there, the Snowy Egrets were perfectly positioned for photographs. Today, they were hiding behind the shrubbery and far from the road.
  • I need a bigger lens. I will probably order a 300mm lens this weekend. While it’s the same focal length as what I have, the quality is better and you can add extenders to it to increase the length. Canon has a dearth of telephoto lenses below the $4000 mark, and there’s no way I’m spending that kind of money, regardless of the quality :)
  • The people were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. A very welcoming gorup.
  • The further west you go, the worse the smell is. This was definitely the worst it’s been for me. Very unpleasant.

You can see our sightings on the site. The ‘sightings’ are, again, for birders. Recognition of a bird call is enough to get it on the list. Nothing wrong with that, but from a photography standpoint, it’s disappointing to realize that alot of those birds you won’t see, and if you do, you need a very expensive lens, or a scope.

With all that said, it is probably worth taking the field trip every month, simply because the birds at Hornsby will constantly change due to migrations. Or I may go by myself from now on. I think the birds are probably more skittish with a large group of people. That also allows me to take my time and set up the tripod and whatnot, if I so desire.

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Categories: Birding, Photography
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