Birding On A Cloudy Day

As all too common around here in winter, Sunday’s trip to the Port Townsend with the Tacoma Audubon group area provided great birds, but awful photographs, all the more frustrating because I saw several firsts on the trip, like this one of a female Greater Scaup.

Female Greater Scaup

Although we avoided being rained on and it was relatively warm, at least with gloves on, clouds glowered overhead all day, all too soon accompanied by ground fog. The day got darker as it got later, later being 1:00 p.m.

Still, the company was good, and the group was small enough that you got to visit with everyone on the trip. And everyone but Leslie knew far more about birds than I did, ensuring that I learned considerably more about birds than I knew before going on the trip.

Unfortunately, there were very few times when there was enough light to get decent photos, even with settings of 1600 ASA. At 1:30 I was getting readings of 1/20th of a second, far too slow to get a decent picture of constantly moving birds.

All the close-up shots I took of this Pileated Woodpecker were so blurry that I deleted them, but this long shot pretty well conveys the kind of day we had.

Pileated Woodpecker On Snag

I was amazed to learn that good birders could identify most birds by silhouette, more proof I’m a better photographer than birder.

5 thoughts on “Birding On A Cloudy Day”

  1. Wow. I absolutely *love* that picture of the woodpecker. The proportions as well as the content remind me of a Japanese scroll. And at the top that slightest hint of red on the crest. Superb.

  2. What Lady P said. Superb. That’s precisely how things have looked lately with the ever-present cloud cover.

    I saw some Greater Scaups up in 100 Mile House in B.C. a few springs ago. I had asked the birder in our midst, “What kind of duck is that with the blue beak?”

    And I’ve got to say that your recent photos of the butterflies are on my list of all-time favorites.

  3. I’m glad people like the woodpecker; it was my favorite shot of the 100+ shots I took.

    I’m still disappointed I didn’t have enough light to get some of the other shots I missed.

  4. Loren,

    I was there, and it was a wonderful day! Some things are just meant to be enjoyed in the moment if photography is not possible…

    Nice eyes and water droplets on that Scaup!


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