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I am not a birder, but…

By UrbanAnthropod, January 13, 2011 12:11 pm

I am not a birder. I am also not a photographer. I correct people all the time. I take pictures. I am not a photographer. There’s an important distinction. While I am an enthusiast, I’m not that great. I do take the occasional good one. And I can get artistic. But for the most part, I have some basic gear and I take mediocre images. And I can *make* the occasional image. With that caveat, I re-iterate that I am not a birder. In fact, I’m less a birder than I am a photographer. It’s just that I’ve been on this kick recently to find raptors and try to shoot them. Raptors are so cool! They hunt and eat vermin! And people don’t expect them to be in such an urban setting! I suppose one reason why I keep insisting that I am not a birder or a photographer… and not an avian photographer… is because I don’t want to get myself to spend loads of money on gear! I’ve spent hours looking at digiscoping and staring at expensive lenses! I have no business doing this! I can’t afford it!

Low Hanging Fruit

Anyway, I go for the low hanging fruit. I’m not a birder. I don’t know the birds that well. I can’t identify them. And I just don’t know much about them. On average, I know more than others, but that doesn’t make me a birder. So what low hanging fruit is there? Well, there’s that famous raptor that hangs out on Fifth Avenue. And there’s The Ramble in Central Park. So I walked over through The Ramble and over to Conservatory Water. And despite low hanging fruit, I did not encounter Pale Male. I did not encounter any prospective mates of Pale Male! Instead, I was surprised to find a Cooper’s Hawk.


Cooper's Hawk

It’s funny how you can have a telephoto lens and a tripod and situate yourself in front of a bird. Suddenly, you’re an expert birder! “What is that?” I heard that many times as people passed by. I stood there for over an hour watching this coop sit in the same place. It was 3 P.M. and super-sunny! It was cute when a little girl came up and asked me if it was an owl. But when the adults asked that exact question?!


Stretching Cooper's Hawk

Rambling

As i stated before, The Ramble is full of birds. Actually, there are feeders there, which makes it a goldmine for coops and sharp-shinned hawks that are in the area. But I’ve never seen a coop up close except fo the one above. Walking through the Ramble, I could hear the constant chatter of sparrows. Suddenly, there was a silence. As I looked up, my eyes were met by those of a juvenile red-tail.

Hawk in the Ramble

The shy bird gave me a direct look and then took off over the lake by Bethesda Terrace.
Hawk over the lake

Shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM Lens stabilized by a Manfrotto 190CX3Tripod

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