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on Oct 16, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Catch ‘Em Headin South

Marbled Godwit
captured by D5 / 800mm

The birds are heading south right now and in really great numbers. You can see for yourself for your area with BirdCast. One even set another record going from Alaska to Aukland, a Bar-tailed Godwit who made the 7500 miles journey in 11 days. Dang! It takes fuel to do this and that’s when we want to photograph them, refueling. We don’t want to cause them issues feeding, just photograph them doing such. And if you are there right now, you’ll photograph many in their breeding plumage like this Marbled Godwit.

Marbled Godwit
captured by D5 / 800mm

The best way to get the photograph is actually real simple, just requires a little biology and technology combining. First, find their food source. Second, find the best background. Third, Position yourself so you’re at the distance you need for the image size you desire with the food source between you and that background. Fourth, place yourself in that spot and then wait for the birds to come to you. Do not chase them, they need to save those calories for migration. They will come to you cause they want that food and when they come on their own terms, you’re golden.

This applies to any bird species but when it comes to shorebirds, I would add into the mix, get down flat on the sand. You are not only less of a threat, the angle of view is great. And remember to have a sense of humor while shooting. When you’re all wet, it helps to tell their story as they are heading south.

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