Sunday, November 9, 2014

North Point Sheboygan WI

Sometimes I don't think I have it in me to do this blogging thing. However if I don't post at least SOME of my photos, I'm left to wonder why I keep capturing images simply to fill up hard drives. I had a lot going on in October and should have chronicled some of it here. Alas life was happening which prevented me from spending too much time on screens (a good problem to have). Hopefully I will get around to posting at least some of my fall forays in the coming weeks. For now, I'll start with today...

North Point, Sheboygan, WI
North Point, Sheboygan, WI... I have to say it's one of my favorite places for waterbird photography, especially in the late afternoon.  It's perhaps one of the few places where I find gulls to be beautiful versus the dirty scavengers they are. Despite it's urban setting, I can expend hours absorbed with capturing images of gulls and waterbirds against the Niagra limestone bedrock and azure blue waters of Lake Michigan. Some of my favorite birds seen from this point include crushing looks at Little, Laughing and Bonaparte's Gulls, White-rumped Sandpiper, Barrow's Goldeneye and the currently occurring Harlequin Duck.

Harlequin Duck, DSLR

Harlequin Duck, DSLR
 Typically, one to a few Harlequin Ducks are seen in Wisconsin late fall through early winter on an annual basis. A few days ago, one was reported at North Point in Sheboygan. Since I had a class nearby this morning, I seized the afternoon opportunity to behold this colorful male.

Harlequin Duck, digiscoped
Harlequin Duck, digiscoped

Harlequin Duck, digiscoped
I challenged myself to try my hand at digiscoping this bird that was constantly moving and diving along the rocky shoreline. While my results weren't perfect, it was good practice trying to locate, manually focus and shoot a moving target. Digiscoping takes far greater patience than using a DSLR. I own both. While the DSLR is far easier to shoot with, digiscoping allows for greater reach and sometimes the results can yield some amazing detail. I also prefer the color results I get digiscoping with my Nikon V1 as opposed to my Canon DSLR.



I've been enamoured lately with the Great Black-backed Gulls at North Point . In digiscoping them, I've come to realize they have black toenails.



For that matter so do Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. A quick check of my Gulls of the Americas guide shows all the yellow and pink-legged gulls have this feature. This has me wondering about how many other birds have contrasting black toenails. I know Ruffs do. None of my Sibley eGuide illustrations show this feature on any of the birds previously mentioned. However, kudos to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America, they got the toenails correct! I know most would think, "who cares about the toenails." I'm rather taken by this feature and am feeling moved to make a list of all the birds I observe with goth toenails. After all that's what we birders do, make lists.

"Do not make eye contact" thinks the Herring Gull





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