A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Ring-billed Gull looking for a fishy handout
Ring-billed Gulls were very common along the Mississippi River, last weekend while was on a boating outing with friends near the Palisades State Park of Illinois. In the past on trips to the Apostle Islands or Isle Royale National Park, I remember huge flocks of gulls following commercial fishing boats on Lake Superior (hoping for a handout of unwanted fish that were cast from the boats. So while we were cruising the Mississippi in the speedboat, every once in a while a Ring-billed Gull (Above, 8-7-10) would fly up behind the boat and follow, probably checking us out to see if we were a fishing boat with handouts available. When the gull decided that we weren't giving out fish treats, it would fly off. A couple of times the gulls flew so close behind us, I was able to get some good photos without using my zoom at its maximum level. Using the Sports mode on my Canon Rebel T1i made it possible to capture the gulls in flight to stop action.
The ring on the tip of the bill of this Ring-billed Gull is more evident.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought a Sigma 150-500mm.and finally sold that one and replaced it with a Sigma 150-600mm, my current birding lens.