Tag Archive | White-crowned Sparrow

Digiscoping

Digiscoping is the activity of combining a digital camera with a spotting scope to record images through the scope.  Anyone who has ever looked through a good scope knows how impressive they are at turning distant specks that can’t be identified, even with binoculars, into sharply defined birds.  The combination of big lenses and up to 60X magnification really brings faraway objects into close focus.  Scopes are especially useful for waterfowl far out on lakes, and shorebirds on distant shorelines.

Today’s post features some wonderful photographs taken using digiscoping by local birder and photographer Daniel Arndt.

Eared Grebe and juvenile, by Dan Arndt

Digiscoping can be done with any point-and-shoot or SLR camera (or even a camera phone) coupled with any scope or binocular, but it can very tricky to get to good quality pictures by just holding the two together.  Here is a White-crowned Sparrow I photographed in my yard this week, using my camera phone held up to my 8X42 binoculars:

It’s very hard to tell when you have the shot in focus.  It’s even hard to get on the bird!  You get a better shot with just a good camera:

The same bird, from the same distance, taken with an SLR and 400 mm lens.  Note the leg band.

Here is another shot I took (in the winter) of a House Finch, using a point-and-shoot camera held up to my spotting scope.

However, the birds in these examples were only about twenty feet away.  I could identify them with the naked eye.  If you are dealing with distant waterfowl and shorebirds, the thing to do to get good photographs is to get an adapter that fixes your camera to the scope.  Dan Arndt’s outfit, pictured below, consists of :

Pentax K-5 camera with T-mount adapter
Meade ETX-90EC 90mm Matsukov-Cassegrain Telescope
Meade #844 Advanced Field Tripod
Meade Electronic Focuser
Meade MT-64 Camera Adapter
Pentax 39892 Waterproof Remote Shutter Release

Photo by Dan Arndt

Here are some of the amazing photos Dan took this summer at Frank Lake using his digiscoping rig.

White-faced Ibis with juvenile, and American Golden-Plover, by Dan Arndt

Lesser Yellowlegs by Dan Arndt

American Avocet by Dan Arndt

Black Tern by Dan Arndt

Black-crowned Night-Herons by Dan Arndt

American Golden-Plovers by Dan Arndt

You can see all of Dan’s digiscoping pictures on his Flickr page here, and while you’re there, explore all of his other excellent photographs as well.

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

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Banff: A National Treasure Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

After visiting Peyto Lake, we headed to magnificent Bow Lake, which has views of two glaciers; Bow Glacier and Crowfoot Glacier as well as views of Wapta Icefield, Bow Peak, Mount Thompson and Crowfoot Mountain.

We were at Peyto Lake in search of a small, cute mammal at home on rocky slopes: the Pika. Giving high-pitched alarm calls when they spot danger, the Pika, also known as the ‘rock rabbit’ or the ‘whistling hare’, is always alert. After waiting a dozen minutes or so and getting eaten alive in the process, we found Pika on the scree slopes at Bow Lake.  The sight of these short-limbed creatures was well worth the bites though.

As we walked around the lake, we also saw a family of Barn Swallows and a group of Clark’s Nutcrackers.

The best bird sight however, was a White-crowned Sparrow drinking water from the lake’s edge right next to us.

By the time we had finished our walk, it was early evening and we headed back to Johnston Canyon Campground. On the way back, along the Bow Valley Parkway, we spotted a family of black bears; a mother with two young by the side of the road. The bears were contentedly munching on grass and gave us only the occasional glance. It was definitely a beautiful sight to behold.

We arrived back at the campground and I did a short walk beside Johnston Creek as the sun began to set and the thrushes began to sing with renewed vigour before the night closed in.

The third and final part will come on Thursday.

Posted by Matthew Sim