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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #1
Hairyman
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Default Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Dear All,

When travelling along a particular country road (Golden Highway, NSW, Australia), I notice a lot of birds of prey (no idea, maybe Nankeen Kestrels) hovering over the roadside ditches looking for food less than 50m in the air - strung out as individuals about 1-2 km apart.

They do not seem at all bothered by the passing traffic.

My question relates to getting in position to photograph them.

I suspect that they'd likely just disappear if I stopped and got out of the car with a lens pointed at them.

My thought was to put the car somewhere safe and maybe sit a bit back in the paddock on the opposite side of the road from the birds and wait for them to come back.

Anyone with any specific thoughts (I've had a read of the stick threads - what a great resource) on photography/bird behaviour in this particular situation?
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #2
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Cars make great blinds, birds are frequently comfortable with them.
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #3
Hairyman
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Ta - great news in fact.
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Old 22nd of July 2012 (Sun)   #4
mileslong24
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

I stop frequently for red tails. Some will take off when they see a vehicle stop, others may not. Pretty much a crapshoot in my opinion. I use my sunroof to peak out through that way I can rest my lens on the top of the car. That also helps if they take off across the highway so you can easily follow them.
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Old 23rd of July 2012 (Mon)   #5
Hairyman
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Ta. I'll give it a go.
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Old 23rd of July 2012 (Mon)   #6
Billginthekeys
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Yes, birds of prey actually seem more comfortable around people when you remain in/with your vehicle. I was taking some pictures of a hawk in a nest by the road for a while, had stopped by several times, shooting from through my window, or opening the door and staying behind it. First time I dared step away from the vehicle to try and get closer, she dove at me and beleive me I was glad I had a big lens on a monopod between me and her.

Use the car to your benefit.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

Thanks, I was more concerned about them flying away rather than providing opportunities for macro photography! I'll stick in the car.
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Old 6th of August 2012 (Mon)   #8
Jim Neiger
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway

From your description I would guess that the birds are kites, perhaps whistling kites. They often exhibit the behavior you describe. I think it is likley that you can get out of your car and photograph them all you like. I suspect they will ignore you completely, at least that is the experience I've had with them.
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Old 7th of August 2012 (Tue)   #9
dfbovey
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Default Re: Birds of Prey Beside a Highway



This one was an odd encounter. Sat there as the sun was going down, didn't flinch when I got out of my car and didn't mind the flash either. Sat there for me for a good 15 minutes. It probably helped that I was wearing black and my car is black, so that probably disguised my shape a bit.

You do have to be careful though when it comes to the law, a lot of highways are illegal to stop on unless you have an emergency. So keep a look out for police vehicles.
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