MatthewK wrote in post #19012724
Thank you, Chris!
These White Breasted Nuthatches are one of the few birds that will come super close, as they are super curious at times. On the rare good days, like this one, quite often they come in too close, well under MFD. So, I just drop the camera and enjoy their company.
The secret? Ha, if I had any secrets I wouldn't have gone three months with hardly any photos to show
Going out as often as possible, seeing which trees they prefer, and then stationing myself around those trees until they come calling. Sit perfectly still for a few hours, contemplate life, and eventually you get lucky. Winter birds are a "sit and wait for them to come to you" scenario, because they see you coming from a mile away, and won't give you the time of day. Thus, I try to "get ahead" of the group: try to predict where they'll go, and then get there first. Bring a small camping chair or sit back against a tree, and wait.
Nice to read about your experience Matthew. So we all have our ways, solutions and "tricks" to get close to birds! Where I live (in the Netherlands in North Western Europe), civilization has claimed almost all of the land, and even our forests and woodlands our cultivated and small. Agriculture has intensively exploited the main parts of the non-inhabited land in the last 60 years, and sadly many of our birds have vanished and/or are dwindling in numbers.
Next to that, Europe, and mainly mediterranean Europe, has a long tradition, going back centuries, of shooting migrating birds out of the air for sport or consumption. (hope you are still with me and not stopped reading because of getting depressed :rolleyes.
This has led to two types of birds in my country, that is halfway off one of the largest bird migration routes: domesticated birds that are easily approached, and "wild" birds that are notoriously shy of people and stay well out of reach of even a 600mmm lens. We have a lot of birding hides here, and these are about the only way to get up close to a lot of birds. Just walking around in woodlands, you may start to believe there are no birds at all, only hearing them in the distance.
There is one area that is an exception and that is the area that started me birding in the first place. They are the Frisian Isles, a number of small isles that have a unique tidal system that floods a large part of land twice every 24hrs and also exposes it twice every 24hrs, resulting in an abundance of seafood. These isles are directly situated halfway the large bird migration route, and so a large number of migrating birds that breed in the (virtually uninhabited) upper north of Europe, and spend the winter in north and central Africa, stop at these isles and stay for two weeks to restore their body fat before resuming the migration.
Totally shy of people, there are still some tricks that allow you to get close, and one of mine is using the rising or setting sun in my back as a camouflage, where the bird only sees my silhouette, and if sitting motionless may wander off in my direction.
That is how I got the below shot of my favorite duck, the Eider. It still took me 784mm on crop though!
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