Faster than a speeding bullet, birds do things that I never really see with the naked eye. With the help of binoculars or an occasional look through a scope, I see more. However, it is really only when I get home and review my pictures that I see just how much phenomenal action I missed.
So often birds zip by or flutter in the process of catching a fly, displaying their out-streatched feathers with grace. On the spot, I never see the minute, delicate detail of their full plumage.
Sometimes, the pictures don't reveal the bird's beauty as the shots above do, but rather offer up enough detail to aid in identification. This American Pipit was fly catching off the rocks at Cape Spear, and I wasn't really sure what the bird was because of its speed. I could never get the binoculars locked on. With the help of this shot, I confirmed the identification with ease.
Then, there was this Merlin at Cape Spear. I could only catch a glimpse of it as it darted just below the edge of the cliff. Rather than risk life and limb to get a closer look, I was able to snag this shot between rocks to confirm the ID.
This pose lasted only milliseconds as the Yellow Warbler snatched a fly out of mid air. I certainly didn't catch the detail with my naked eye. As I looked at the shot, it reminded me of many of Audubon's sketches of birds, long before the photographic speed available to us now. He must have sat for hours and hours to actually see the remarkable moves and poses of the birds he painted. Some things just get better with time.
This Tree Swallow buzzed me as I was leaving Kent's Pond. He offered me one of the rare opportunities to photograph one in flight. These birds are fast, and their path is very unpredictable.
Of course, sea birds flying by Cape Spear are often far, far away and without a scope, it is impossible for me to make an identification. I suppose as I get more experience, I will be able to better match size and flight pattern to do so. Until then, I am tied to my trusty lens to give me an image I can study more closely.
Experience really is the key to enjoying more dimensions of birding. This year, I can quickly identify the common song birds. In consequence, I can also pick out calls I don't know. This, sometimes, leads me deeper into the woods in pursuit of a "special" bird. Let's hope this is going to be a birding season filled with surprises.