On March 23, 2015, the Tri-City Photography Club enjoyed John Gordon’s presentation Where to Find Birds in the Lower Mainland. Many members of our club are avid bird photographers and John’s talk and slideshow was engaging and educational. Our novice bird photographers discovered many new locations to capture their favourite species. Some of the best times for local bird photography include April-May and the Fall while June-July provide opportunities to view birds active with their young.
John discussed the value of finding a “birding buddy”, buying used equipment and using a right angle viewer for shooting birds at low angles (at ground level). He stressed birding etiquette – respectful watching, avoid disturbing the birds (especially trying to make them fly away).
For tips and techniques, John mentioned ISO settings (commonly uses 400-800), change your viewing angle to decrease distractions in the background, use light effectively to create natural catchlights in the eye via the sun or when requiring flash. (Set your flashes at 45 degrees to the subject. Never use direct flash for birds, especially owls.) Shutter speed should be set from 500 to 1000 (use the higher speed to catch flight). Tripods are great but what if I need to take a handheld picture? Press both your elbows tight to your sides, squeeze your ribs, hold your breath and shoot.
Did you know?
Metals in foods consumed by birds are built up in their brain and aid their navigation.
There are 18 types of Canada geese.
You can be notified when rare birds are sighted in BC. Check out British Columbia Bird Alert.
You can still watch CBC’s Nature of Things recently aired program Songbirds SOS by clicking on the title.
Do you have an App for that?
John shared information on a few Apps including iBird which displays pictures and sounds for birds throughout North America. Users can submit their images.
John also mentioned Apps for checking out # shutter clicks for used cameras before purchasing. Buying a used Canon, try Shutter Count. Various programs are available online to check shutter counts for many different cameras using unedited .jpg images.
Where can I find selected birds?
Burnaby Mountain Park (behind Horizon’s Restaurant) – Warblers
Tsawwassen Terminal (turn left at gas station and follow the road) – 600-700 Herons
Brunswick Point – Sparrows, Herons, Snow Geese, Prairie Falcon (seen only every 10 years) Directions and Info
George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary – Snow Geese, Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Ducks Directions and Info
Grant Narrows – Trumpeter Swans, Ospreys, Black-throated Sparrow (home to rare bird and unusual birds) Directions and Info Free meet-up for Tri-City Photography Club members with John on Saturday, April 25th at 9 AM Pitt Lake Parking Lot – bring your gear.
These are just a few of the places John discussed during his presentation. The Lower Mainland is full of regional parks suitable for the birder in all of us.
Bird Canada is an extensive website which provides information on the 426 Canadian bird species, birding guides per province and invites bird bloggers to share their birding experiences.
Please check out John’s Blog post about his presentation to our club and visit his website, John Gordon Photography, and his Flickr account to view more of his photographs. John has sent us a few more images for your enjoyment.