I have written about gulls before, and exploiting their love of potato-based baits to get close up photos, and I have written about using a GoPro. This time, I combine the two, for a 120 fps free-for all, slowed down to 1/4 speed for your edification.
Along the way, I also managed to snap a few other cool shots.
This is a still from the GoPro. Note the extreme distortion and the off yellowish cast.
And here is a shot from my Canon 60D.
A Pigeon Guillemot on a oddly pleasing background.
When the sea looks like this, it is almost like a woodcut.
I realize that the Weekend Expedition is getting a bit repetitive, and I resolve in the New Year to shake things up a bit. In fact, I make you a promise. Starting in January, things will be different around here!
I did get away again this weekend, and it was back to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, again with Wild Research.This time, it was not as productive WRT raptors as previous visits, but we did see a Peregrine, some eagles, a Cooper’s Hawk, and a Rough-legged Hawk. The main attraction of Reifel is the ridiculously human-acclimated birds. Cranes feeding from your hand, chickadees landing everywhere…It is like a meetup group for bird flu lovers!
The cold winter air has moved on, and the canals and ponds are melting. The atmosphere was very much like standing in front of a cool mist humidifier.
Mike Hrabar captured this shot of some artistic use of the GoPro to record feeding pigeons.
Mike shooting with his new 300!
The reflection from the ice really makes these ducks pop.
Paul Levesque channeling Steve Zissou.
I just love the calls of these elegant birds.
After Reifel, Mike and I headed down to 64th St. (On Boundary Bay) to check out some Long-eared Owls. This one was the only one there, and not very active. Pretty though!
I am always a fan of raptors, and have a special place in my heart for social and predation behaviour. Here is a story that combines all three! In the latest issue of Journal of Raptor Research, a remarkable observation of a large group of Golden Eagles harassing elk on a steep ridge is reported (but paywalled).
Matt O’Connell and Michael Kochert witnessed and filmed the astonishing sight of at least 8 eagles repeatedly stooping at a group of elk, either trying to drive them off a cliff, or perhaps just playing around.
Golden Eagles are known to prey on ungulates, sometimes by driving them off cliffs, but the authors are cautious at definitively stating the motivation of these birds. I would suggest that the hypothesis of play and that of predation are not mutually exclusive. I could certainly see a great selective advantage for these carnivorous birds to engage in “play” that sometimes results in the grisly death of a large ungulate.
If you would like to see the video, here it is below. What do you think?
Bergo, G. 1987. Eagles as predators on livestock and deer. Fauna Norvegica Series C, Cinclus10:95–102.
Deblinger, R.D. and A.W. Alldredge. 1996. Golden Eagle predation on pronghorns in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin. Journal of Raptor Research 30:157–159.
Erwins, P.J. 1987. Golden Eagles attacking deer and sheep. Scottish Birds 14:209–210.
Zettergreen, B. 2006. Golden Eagle attacks and kills yearling mountain goat. Wildlife Afield3:27–28.
I thought it prudent to get a small video camera to document upcoming fieldwork, so that I can provide PR materials for granting agencies. For this purpose, I got a GoPro, a small “action cam” which has a watertight housing and super wide lens. To put it through its paces, Jeff, my brother and I took it down to Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria for a close up look at the Harbour Seals. The following is the result.
Not bad eh? Given decent lighting, it does fine video. The still images from it in poor lighting are pretty noisy though, and it probably be best not to rely on it for still shots in the evening:
Nonetheless, it does have a certain gloomy charm.
With the SLR from the surface though, the seal image quality is much better.
The gulls were also looking fine against the reflection of the sky.
So the verdict. Seals and GoPros: a good combo!
I was going through some old videos, and came upon this cool one of a Junglerunner (Ameiva ameiva) chowing down on termites. These amazing lizards are related to the Tegus, and are almost the New World equivalent of the monitor lizards.
I was never able to catch any of these lizards, but we did see some get trapped by researchers. Amazingly, they are very gentle to handle, unlike their cousins the Tegus, which are reportedly very willing to bite.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the video!