There is something about birds in flocks that attract me, I take pictures of them almost every day. Most of them end up in the trash bin, when I take them it’s obvious most are throw aways. Some I keep mostly because I like them whether they are good or not. Then some are actually good images, in that case I look at them and wonder what in the heck am I going to do with them. It’s the old dilemma of life when an item is too good to toss away and not good enough to justify keeping.
There are those as the one above that is so busy and confusing the only time I use them is in a display such as this. The Geese above are the Great White Fronted Goose, or speckle bellies; they number in the hundreds on some days. They have a long migration from the Yukon to the California Delta on the West Coast and similar wintering areas through out the country.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to capture this small group of Speckle Bellies with the light perfect and the birds in a handsome pose. Being completely wild this flock will not approach the houses on the near Levee; they fly between them on occasion. Normally they avoid civilization completely choosing to follow the river North or South whichever fits their flight path.
Pelicans are high flyers, unlike the Speckle Bellies these guys fly directly over the houses, cars and boats. They leave the impression of having a laid back demeanor; I pick that up by watching them leisurely flying around the slough. They are out here nearly every day in various numbers, at times there may be two other times many more.
Mute Swans are not frequent visitors to the slough, I took this picture in March when they had been around for a few days. They are from the East Coast displaced out west they are classified as an invasive species. There are a lot of disadvantages for any animal that is classified as such. Number one problem for them is like the Wild Turkey (they are invasive as well) the birds can be shot on sight. It is encouraged by the fish and game for some infraction they commit; my observations notice they do live quite a bit so we can’t have that.
Canadians are around all Spring and most of the Summer, they will leave in late June or early July. They are like a flying army with their highly organized formations allowing each member to lead the way. The Vee formation is formed to allow the wind resistance to be optimal the further back in the flock the bird is. They slowly make their way to the front to resume there turn to lead.
Ibis fly past on a regular basis early morning then again at dusk when the Sun slips behind the Mountains. Flying South in the morning I see them from a considerable distance working their way across the Island on the far side. Heading North at dusk they follow the same flight path as they did in the morning. My 600mm lens was really stretched to the limit when this image was taken. It is one of those that I debate whether to delete or keep. In this case I kept them because I didn’t have any before these, I kept them for a blog; besides I like flocks.
That’s a considerable amount of flocking birds, I make attempts photographing flocks of small birds as well; they are tough. With them there is hardly anything to focus on which leaves me with hundreds of black smudges all over the image. For now it’s all large birds in flocks, I am planning on a blog displaying flying small birds. Now that’s a challenge for me; but I’m getting better.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance