May 15, 2009

Billings Area, May 14th


I got a tip that there was a Great Egret out West of Billings. So the first chance I got, I was driving West. Upon arrival I saw three real birders (Yellowstone Valley Audubon). The Egret was right where my tipster had suggested it was, scope distance.

The three real birders were nice enough to let me use their scope, saving me some time, THANKS.

The birds position was not great for a positive ID, other than white Egret/Heron.

I made a quick loop around some of my favorite shooting spots, figure why not check them out while I was in area.

Made my way back for one more look and to try to snap a few distant images.

Well after stacking a 2X and a 1.4X on the 300/2.8L IS and adding a 50D to the back of it (1344mm), I was ready to try for a few images of the "Great Egret."

High wind and bright sun did not make for the best quality images, and add to that the great distance that I had to cope with and I was just praying that I could make a crop that would work for a positive ID.

I set up the tripod low to the ground, weighted the lens and tripod down, and used my body to block all the wind I could. I used Live View to manually focus and then shot some 250 images. I knew that I would be lucky to get a handful that would work for ID's, the atmospheric distortion was bad.

I have the ID images online and the bird turned out to be a Snowy Egret, a rare migrator through Montana, and not a bird that was on my list previously.

Thanks tipster and thank you stacked TC's.


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