Saturday, January 26, 2008

Birding While Jogging

This morning I got up early and went to Pilates, then planned on going for a run afterward. I called my boyfriend before leaving the gym and since he was up for a run too I decided to forgo the warmth of the gym and head home to go for a jog along the river with him. As I left the lot I saw groups of seagulls, geese and (what appeared to be) buffleheads gathered along the edge of the ice covering in the bay (of the Charles River). My long jogging route involves going from my apartment to that very spot so I certainly had motivation to make it back there today. I made sure to pack my PowerShot inside my camelback and wear my fingerless mittens for quick access to the camera (they've been indispensable this winter!). It worked out well to bird while jogging today since the route is 6 miles and in this cold weather it was a difficult task to do non-stop.

Mallard Ducks:
It was their rows orange legs that caught my eye as I was running past. I had to stop and snap them since it was a view of them I've never seen! The "seagull" in the middle of the picture also drew my attention.

Female Hooded Merganser:

Male Hooded Merganser:

Buffleheads (and apparently Hooded Mergansers! thanks Bennet for the correction) are so difficult to photograph! The contrast between the white and black, combined with the sunlight off the water seems to be more than the automatic settings on my camera can handle. Anyone have any tips?
And yes, thanks for the help in identifying this duck. I think I had seen buffleheads earlier when I first passed by the river (the white breast was very noticeable) so I just assumed these were too. That and I was so preoccupied with my 'mystery bird' I didn't even bother opening up my bird guide to that page in the diving ducks section. The bufflehead and Hooded Merganser are on the same page and the difference is very clear. Yet another clue should have been that my friend Dave mentions seeing these ducks and they should have been on my radar. But it's all part of the experience! I'm learning more and more each day.
Mute Swan:
This one came out really well I thought- it's neat how the water dripping of its beak was captured, and I like the contrast of the light off the ripples in the water.

Great Blue Heron:

My boyfriend spotted this guy whereas I just blasted past. Unfortunately there are all those sticks in the way, but I always hate disturbing them and didn't want to make him feel threatened enough to fly away. I'm always surprised how large they are up-close. After consulting my Sibley Guide I learned that they average 46" in height! Wow- 4'. That's huge to me (especially being just a little over 5' myself).
American Goldfinch:
Male Northern Cardinal:


Bennet said...

Great pics! I think those Bufflehead are actually Hooded Mergansers though. I don't have any suggestions about how to solve the photo problem, your leagues ahead of me in that department. I'm still stuck on keeping the birds in focus!

Birdinggirl said...

Thanks Bennet! There I go again 'blogging while not thinking'! If I had taken the time to just crack my bird guide I would have realized the difference. And that's a new species for me- I should have picked up on that and have been excited to put a name to it.

Bennet said...

I'm glad it's a lifer for you! I'm sure everyone has mix-ups in bird ID. I know I have! And as for "blogging while not thinking" I've had a post up for a month with a picture of a mockingbird for a poem about a nightingale. I swear I read the poem, but for some reason when it came time to post I did an image search for the mocker. Go figure.