Last weekend I returned to Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, Ontario along Lake Ontario in an effort to locate a HADU that had been seen in the marina area. Sure enough upon arrival on the scene, a beautiful adult male HADU was swimming quite close to shore in the marina. Every winter and early spring I look forward to photographing this species somewhere along Lake Ontario. HADUs, which are an attractive sea duck are seen occasionally in this part of the country and you can usually count on the odd one or pair hanging around for part of the winter.
This Hermit Thrush enjoyed taking a bath for several minutes along the edge of a small pool in Toronto (October 19). Cloudy skies at the time combined with a relatively fast shutter speed of 1/1250 s increased my ISO setting to 4000 or 5000 for these photos; however, I find the Canon 1D-X is pretty capable of handling the resulting noise, especially when noise reduction is applied as is the case here. Whenever possible I like to capture bird behaviours in my photos. This individual entertained me as it splashed around several times and seemed oblivious to my presence.
Townsend’s Solitaire is a common western bird, but here in Ontario it is rare. It rarely wanders farther east than the western prairies (Dunne 2006). On October 19, at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto, one was found by David Pryor and reported on Ontbirds. I and several other birders and photographers had an excellent opportunity to see and photograph this one-day visitor. Seeing a lifer is always exciting; however, capturing some good photos is always a pleasant bonus.
Out west, Wilson’s Phalarope is a common breeder and abundant, however, it is uncommon in the east, although it does breed in southeastern Ontario (Source: Pete Dunne’s Essential Field Guide Companion). On the morning of August 15 as I headed out, the rain made me wonder if bird photography on this day would be a worthwhile pursuit; however, the weather forecast suggested it wouldn’t last most of the day.
I thought it would be a good idea to test out my new Canon EOS 7D Mark II (cropped sensor) near the mouth of the Humber River where it meets Lake Ontario and where an immature male King Eider had been hanging out. I figured the 60% increase in effective focal length due to the cropped sensor camera in combination with my prime lens would come in handy as I expected the King Eider could be quite a distance from shore, assuming he was still around.
As a bird photographer, I know that patience is often one of the critical attributes for a successful outing. Finding your subject is just the beginning. From there you then look for some of the other ingredients required to produce a “keeper”, namely good light, good composition and a co-operative subject. Unfortunately, when dealing with birds as subjects, they don’t feel compelled to help you out much of the time.