Birthday :: Birding

One of the ways I treated myself this weekend was to take three wife and my new Nikon D300 out for a birding trip. Sure, it was cold but I was seriously jonesing to get out anyway and the new camera was just more incentive.

Barnegat Lighthouse

We started at Barnegat, where I quickly added a new lifebird to my list: Bonaparte’s Gull. There were a bunch org them around and it was pretty obvious that they were different than the normal Herring and ring-billed gulls that are usually around. Acting more like terns than gulls, I had to rely on some friendly birders to help me with the ID.

Fly Like An Eagle...

As the Duck Flies

Then it was of to see the highlights of Barnegat: the Harlequin ducks that congregate there every winter. Unfortunately, most odd them decided to go surfing off of the beach instead of their usual haunt just of the jetty. But there were plenty of Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstones and Purple Sandpipers about to take up the slack. Further out, Common Eiders, Oldsquaw and Scoters were playing in the surf, while limited numbers of Brant & a single Red-throated Loon also stopped by.

Taking a Dip

In Living Color

I Shoulda Migrated

And the D300 was AWESOME. The bigger viewer allowed me to see the images better, and the clarity and colors were stellar. It took some getting used to the slight variations from the D200, but I really like this camera*.

Forsythe NWR

But the fact that most odd the action was further out made us decide to head to destination number two: Forsythe NWR. There were a lot more birds at Forsythe, although a cast majority of them were out in the middle where only a scope can go. Still, the tough light gave me a chance to play more with the new camera and its better low-light settings.

Most of the visitors to Forsythe were the usual suspects for this time of year: lots of Northern Pintails, Black Ducks, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and thousands if Snow Geese (including a half-dozen blue morphs). A bunch of Hooded Mergansers were joined by a smattering of Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks and Common/Red-breasted Mergansers. There were also quite a few Harriers around, and a third-year Bald Eagle did a flyby.

Unfortunately, tricky light and the Forsythe ‘forcefield’ conspired against any great shots there but we still had a great time.

*I told Shari not to buy this camera, as we really needed to save some money. But she didn’t listen – that’s part of why I love her.

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2 Responses to “Birthday :: Birding

  • Holy crap! Congrats on the new camera — those D300s are amazing. And you’ve taken some fantastic photos with it already. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you do with it. Oh, and happy birthday!

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