I was at Carburn Park for Paddlefest and had the opportunity to take my family for a trip around the pond in a canoe. The funny thing about being on the water is that swimming birds tend to think you’re one of them and they ignore you. Maybe not completely, but they certainly allow you to get much closer than if you were shore. I find this phenomenon all the time and I’ve made some of my best images of birds from a canoe.
Here are a couple of images of waterfowl that I made while toodling around the lake with my family in the Canoe with me. The first is a beautiful Red-necked Grebe. I’ve made lots of images of Grebes in the past, but I’ve rarely been as close as I got to this one. It’s so much easier to make great images when you get close! The second image below is a pair of American Wigeons launching out of the pond. They were pretty comfortable with us as we got closer and closer, but I guess we went a little bit too far and the they took off! I love the water droplets falling down off them as the fly.
I love Carburn Park and I’m always amazed by the things you can see there. Grebes are actually quite common there at certain times of year, but it’s surprisingly difficult to get one to pose for a picture while the light is good enough to make something decent out of it. I went back several times after I found this one as it was quite obliging!
I was at Carburn Park for a walk with my family this morning and there were photographers and bird watchers all over the place. Many of the photographers were set up on the small pond watching a Grebe that was hanging out in the middle. Not wanting to disturb the birds (ie. scare them away from the other observers) we continued on our way around the park. When we got back to the pond I noticed that many of the photographers had bunched together to chat, and that the Grebe that they were watching was still way out in the middle of the pond.
But I also saw that a second bird had come to the surface around the corner from them, and that it very close to shore. I started walking towards it and then ran the rest of the way as soon as it dove back under the water. I wanted to be as close as possible to it, without scaring it away when it surfaced again. Fortunately it came back up in almost the same spot and I was able to make some really nice images!