Saturday, December 7, 2013
Thirty-Eight Degree Birding
After two indoor days, noon-time today brought on a bad case of cabin fever. So I did what I do: bundled up and set out birding.
I learned several years ago that for me, wearing a heavy winter coat does not work well when birding. The coat constrains my arms in a way that makes raising binoculars and camera uncomfortable. So I came up with my own mix of 5 layers, with layer 5 a light-weight windbreaker. Layers 1-4 include a big-armed fleece sweater and a heavy sleeveless vest.
I don’t don all five layers very often, but at high noon today my outdoor thermometer read thirty-eight degrees. (Yes, a new record cold for this day.) But cabin fever trumped cold temperatures, so I grabbed my camera, binoculars and layers, and off I went.
With no sunshine and a dark-grey sky trying to hold back drizzle, I knew today would not be great for photography. So I decided to have a bit of fun and attempted a “selfie” with my phone’s camera. I look like one cold big-bird, all fluffed up to keep warm in my five layers (not to mention my windbreaker hood pulled up over my funniest warm hat:
The lighting was terrible. The photos would be terrible, but still I had to try….
A male Lesser Scaup:
A female Lesser Scaup:
And after seeing so many Royal Terns at the Texas City Dike, I was delighted with sighting this Caspian Tern, whose deep-red bill over-saturated my camera sensor on this greyt day:
It took less than two hours out in the cold to send me back inside, ready to sip hot tea and warm my hands by tapping on the keyboard.
Before closing this post I thought I’d include a few pictures from this past week's sunny, warm day on the Texas City dike.
American Oystercatchers won’t let you get close, but I happened on these as I was watching distant Common Loons, from the gulf-facing side of the dike. I find Oystercatchers especially difficult to photograph. The bills and eyes are a challenge, often looking plastic or digitally manipulated. But the lighting for these gave me my best Oystercatcher photos to date:
And a couple photos of Royal Terns: