Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Magic Hedge - 5.20.11 - post 2

So there have been tons and tons of nests visible through the branches this spring, because it's been so cold for so long.  Apparently the birds can read a calendar and set up housekeeping because it's May and they should.  Trees on the other hand say, "It's freaking cold.  My leaves are doing just find inside, thanks."

The leaves are starting to come out now, but still a lot of the nests are pretty easily seen.  Unlike last year when the mother robin built her nest about three feet off the ground (and consequently lost it and her four eggs) most of them are like fifteen to twenty feet up.  Not something I can go investigating.  But a few are in the eight to ten feet up range.  Now, I'm not even five feet tall, but I have a tripod.

I've been putting on the kit lens, pulling the focus back as far as I can, setting the camera on auto and then putting it on the tripod.  I set the timer for ten seconds, the continuous shooting mode for 5 (one shot every second for five seconds), collapse the tripod legs together and hold it up over my head like a boom mic and *hope*.  A lot.

This shot was a little easier than most to get.  I stood back from the tree and didn't have to worry about angling down.  I wanted the mother crow in the nest.

I waited her out and she finally left (okay, a few loud people behind me scared her off, I think - I watched her for like half an hour and she didn't mind, but then these teenage girls came through...)  Anyway, I did the camera-on-a-stick thing and got this.

Not wonderfully in focus and I wish those leaves in the bottom left corner weren't there, but you can see that mama is waiting for something to happen. :)

I found this nest a little bit later.  This was as good a shot as I could manage, but I haven't seen a bird in or very near it in the past two weeks I've been watching it.  It may be abandoned, or maybe I just have lousy timing for catching something in it.  I *think* it's a robin's nest. (If someone else out there knows better, please let me know!)  The mud around it makes me think of this shot...

Another camera-on-a-stick moment.  I never saw the mother in the nest, but there are roughly a billion robins in the Hedge, so I'm pretty sure she's around somewhere.  I'll be keeping an eye on this nest. :)

So about half-way across the park, a really heavy fog started rolling in off the lake.

Now, when you're actively trying to shoot things far away from you, it's not fun when the fog makes everything, well, foggy.  But if you switch your focus to getting mood shots, some fun stuff can happen.

 This looks better bigger.  In the midground there's a flock of seagulls.  This is the volleyball court on Montrose Beach, which is just behind the Hedge.  You can't even see the lake.

It looks like I took this shot in October.  Like I was saying, the leaves aren't making much of an appearance yet.  For that matter the wildflowers aren't making an appearance at all.


Okay, up next, a new bird-watching spot in Chicago.  It's half-way between the Magic Hedge and the North Pond.  If I ever got seriously energized, I could start at the South Pond, hit the Lily Pond, go up to the North Pond, hit this new spot and then go up to the Hedge.  And freakishly, each of those spots has at least one bird I haven't seen at any other place.  And we're talking about a roughly four-mile stretch of the lake front.  Geographically speaking, that's not a huge area to cover!

1 comment:

  1. Nice nest shots. And a great idea to use tripod as boom, thanks for the tip! :-) You gotta have strong arms though... :-)