Friday, May 22, 2009

Here comes the sun(bittern)

One of the many, many things I love about my nikon d300 and sigma 50-500mm lens combo is being in, kind of, a state of perpetual readiness. From a nature perspective there are very few things I can't shoot with this. Dragonflies, birds, reptiles and amphibians right up to whales, sharks, crocs and dolphins: All fine. Flowers and big trees are equally easy too if I stand far back enough. Whilst it may not be the perfect tool for the job it lets me capture memories I might otherwise miss.....and whilst if missed they would still be memories, with the d300 and bigma I have something worth sharing with you like this. We were on a river in los llanos recovering from seeing one of the coolest things I've ever seen naturewise (it was a mammal and will appear here soon, no more hints) when something almost as cool flew by and someone shouted out "sunbittern!"


I had a fraction of a second to sort of half-turn, half lean back and swing the camera round and then started shooting. It was not unlike shooting claypigeons from a swivel chair and the end result is above. I just love this shot even though the bird isn't sharp. Below is a crop showing the critter in question slightly larger.

sunbittern crop

As I said not quite sharp but I love the beautiful patterning on the wing tops, the flashes of red and the hint of legs hanging beneath. Sunbittern is one of those species birders dream about getting in the neotropics, fairly rarely seen and spectacularly beautiful to boot and I couldn't believe our luck. Seeing it made me feel like a proper birder if that makes sense. Often down here, birding on my own with no-one to compare notes or share finds with I feel kind of isolated from other birders. Being on a boat with 2 guys who really knew their stuff and sharing such a fabulous bird with them made me feel like the real deal again even if I didn't see it first (I did feel like I held my own though bagging yellow-knobbed curassow for the boat no photos of that one - more claypigeon practice needed). Notwithstanding the soft focus there is a good chance this may get some heavy artistic photoshop and end up on my office wall perhaps looking something like this:

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