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on Sep 21, 2012 in Landscape Photography

Critters are Saying, It’s Fall!

They are predicting our first snowfall in the Sierra this weekend. Not that it will stick, but snow means lower temps and lower temps along with the shorter days triggers critters into winter mode. Talking with folks around No America, it would seem the Farmer’s Almanac is right. We’re in for a wet, long winter and it’s just starting. As wildlife photographers, we need to take note of this and prepare accordingly. When it comes to birds, migration is in full swing in most regions and the numbers heading south at one time seem greater than normal. This can produce extra drama you might not have seen in the last few years.

While it might be obvious, just wanted to point out that traditional migration stops for waterfowl and shorebirds might be the place to be the next month. Some are saying the birds might head further south this winter, a combination of the winter prediction and climate change. With that comes the assumption that they might stay fewer days in their traditional stop over locations. This means we might have a smaller window to photograph this incredible spectacle that is part of our wild heritage. My suggestion is if you don’t own long glass, you contact and get one reserved. When it comes to looking at dates, try to find a time around the full moon as that tends (weather dependent) to increase activity during migration. And where to go?

These images of Lesser Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese were taken at Bosque del Apache, a mecca for fall bird photography. But there are LOTS of locations around No America you can tap. Personally, I start by looking at the Birding Hotlines for my area to see what birders are seeing. Spending your time behind a lens rather than travel makes the most sense to me because one day a pond could be empty and the next day overflowing. Another great resource to finding congregations of birds are hunters. While the birds might be more wary, often they will land just outside the hunting zone which provides you a shooting (with camera) opportunity. Do your homework now, think through gear and location and you’ll have a great fall shooting!