The slough has not been real active since the beginning of the Fire Season and now with the unpredictable weather. The migratory birds will be arriving soon it seems they are a bit late this year, as scrambled up as it is weather wise everywhere it is not a surprise. I heard shotguns this morning fairly early I keep up with what’s going on around the Island but I have yet to check when it does open. A flock of Mute Swans flew overhead followed by a flock of Pelicans neither of which paid any attention to our slough.
The Seagulls have returned to the yearly ritual fighting over this Pylon, This bird thinks he owns it. I am not sure how but it is part of their mating ritual, although way too early he will be challenged during December. The battle will continue through January and into February. I take many pictures of them posting often but somehow I don’t feel I do. Seagulls offer great experience tracking flying birds, it’s a good way to stay in practice, consequently I have difficulty deleting what would normally be the keepers. But that’s alright I had a unique opportunity this morning.
This Cormorant flew slightly above my head down the center of the slough exposing itself in close to perfect light. I have made numerous attempts to capture a good to excellent flying image for a long time. Most of them appear as black smudges against whatever the sky is doing. I could not have asked for a better chance at achieving my goal.
All of the photos in this stream are of the same Cormorant, I set my camera on high speed 7per second pictures. They are very dark birds, I have taken many photos of them with what I would guess is an acceptance percentage of 1%, yes one out of a hundred. If it is in fact that high, this morning I took 152 photos of mixed critters and the Mountain range. Of those I kept 13 which is just under 10% which is OK with me, that’s what my goal is. If I rank in the top 10% of anything I feel as if it was a successful session.
Yesterday I wrote about light on my other blog about the Golden Hours, this morning wasn’t so I may use them tomorrow for one on Neutral light. The Cormorants are rapid flyers, unpredictable as well. In these images the Sunlight is reflected off of their wet plumage. I was watching one this morning taking a bath in the center of the slough much as a Canary in a cage will. He was making a huge amount of upturned water completely engulfing him until he was out of sight. I suspect it is a regular activity they perform.
I am happy to have been presented this opportunity more so to be able to take advantage of it. I did manage to miss two chances of capturing a Red Tailed Hawk. I confess to missing them a lot, I would venture to say 6 times a week. One I missed as I walked onto the porch, I sat down picked up my coffee (yep that’s my excuse) took a swig just as he flew over me slightly to the left. The second was when a very large Hawk or another predator, it may have been a Golden Eagle as I didn’t get a good look at it. It’s much like the big one that got away, I convinced myself it was a Turkey Vulture.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance