Whenever I’m out in the field taking photographs of birds, I find myself relying on my musical abilities. It’s very seldom that I don’t hear a bird long before I see it.
There are certain bird calls that I’m quite used to hearing – the American Robin, Song Sparrow, Dark-Eyed Junco, Varied Thrush etc. But, every now and then something new moves in and I know it immediately because I don’t recognize the call musically.
Yesterday I heard such a call. And as it happens very often, the birds are some distance away and quite small. What I usually do after I hear a call is scan the area with a pair of binoculars trying to get a glimpse of what critter is making that sound. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to spot him, and this is where having a good reference for bird identification comes in handy. A good book, a laptop, or an Iphone is an essential aid.
Once identified, you may be able to have better understanding of the habits of the bird and where you’ll be likely to see him again.
I was very fortunate to be able to grab several frames of an Alder Flycatcher yesterday. The procedure was the same. I heard him. I spotted him at a distance. I referenced him. Then I waited and anticipated where he may show up again. Patience is the name of the game. And having luck and light is ok too.
ISO 400, 500mm, 1.4x TC, f6.3, 1/1250s, -1/3ev