Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quick Post - special new species - Peregrine Falcon

So, I didn't know about this until the news ran a bit last night...

Chicago is quite the home to peregrine falcons.  There are all kinds of blogs and sites for the sets that have permanent nesting locations in places like the Uptown Theater, St. Michael's Church and a few other places.

So, with our first really, really good weather day of the year (The news said we hit 90F, but I was on the lake all day, so if we got over 75F where I was, I'd be surprised.  It was LOVELY!) I went out to see if I could find one of these awesome birds of prey...

Found it!  I went up to the church, and parked about a block away.  As I was getting my gear out I saw a large bird circling the church, but it was really high up and really far away.  So I walked up to the building and looked where the news said to look for the nest.


I waited for about half an hour hoping it would show its head.


So I headed back to the car.  Just as I was unlocking the door, I noticed that swooping shape I'd seen before, so I grabbed the camera and started shooting, trying to follow it as it flew and get a few shots.

I don't have the kind of glass that would let me get a really, really clear shot of him as far away as he was.  As it is, I'm pretty impressed that these came out as clear and recognizable as they did.

I'm pretty sure I have one reason for that - spot metering.  It was really bright out today and I'm sure I would have lost him in the light if I hadn't set the metering properly.

This last shot is probably the best example of why I needed to spot-meter.  It's still not great - there's chromatic aberration around his tail, for example - but you can still see the shape of his legs and his talons.  Here he is perched on the steeple of the church he's made his home.

From there I went to the North Pond.  The amazing weather and the fact that I didn't have someone waiting for me to finish (like the last time I was out there) meant I could spend five hours making one circuit.  There were tons and tons of great finds.  A Virginia Rail, a redheaded woodpecker, more warblers and turtles so deep they were stacking themselves on top of each other to get spots on the logs in the sun.

But that's for the next post.  For now, I'm at 15 new species for 2011.

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