Fall migration


I look outside, and I see new faces. I paddle the waters of Tomales Bay, and I begin to see species that weren’t here a few weeks ago. When I kayak at night, I begin to hear the whistle of surf scoter wings, as I inadvertently paddle through a group of them. The fall bird migration has been well underway for several weeks now, and some of my feathered friends have left for the season. It’s okay though, as others are arriving to share the winter sunlight with me.

These massive flocks of Surf Scoters are some of my winter time visitors, that are now arriving in large numbers

So, if you are interested in photographing birds, now is a great time to make it out and about. Some species have already peaked on their pass through the northern latitudes, but others are on their way, and some will settle in. You have your chance to capture images of birds that aren’t always around. Enjoy it, and take it as an excuse to make it outdoors and explore.

Where I live there are both resident and migrant Marbled Godwits, it is their numbers that vary

Who are your favorite migrants to photograph?

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About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website- www.galenleeds.net
This entry was posted in birds, kayak photography, nature photography, Photo Essay, photography, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Fall migration

  1. sean elizabeth says:

    you are quite a poet Mr. Leeds.

  2. lylekrahn says:

    The low kayak perspective really makes the shot. Love it.

    • I think that aside from getting to explore places I wouldn’t be able to otherwise, that it was that low angle shot that really drew me to kayak photography. There is little else like getting down near eye level for making some of those connections in a shot

  3. All your images are beautiful and so well captured. I agree with Lyle, your kayak is the perfect photography tool. It must take real practice though, I found I could not get well focused photos off a small motor boat in Maine even after a week. The water was too rocky for a first time shooter off a boat, even with a high shutter speed. I do not have sea legs apparently. I love your eagle shot too. I saw an eagle in Maine, but another fast flying opportunity was missed. Are you going to do the followup post on Shooting birds? I learned so much from the first one.

    • I sometimes have trouble getting the focus I want from a kayak. If the water gets too rough, it can make things tricky. Also, a motor boat, if it is moving quickly, can be tricky, like a car, in that your distances are changing so rapidly. There can also be vibrations that you my not notice from the motor, which can soften the focus. When in motorized craft it is important to keep as much of your upper body free from contact with the vehicle as you can, to minimize the transference of the vibration to the camera. This also means that tripods are pretty much out of the question if the motor is running, as the tripod can’t dampen much of the vibration it absorbs from the hull of the boat.

      I myself am leaving for Maine on Friday morning. I’ll be spending a week around Acadia National Park, and then heading up into Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail. I’m super excited. I’ve never visited that part of the country before

  4. mom says:

    I too especially love the eagle shot.

  5. janechese says:

    The Surf Scoters are a treat, never seen so many as this but one stopped at the local pond last spring, as did an Earred grebe.Favourites though were the warblers that i saw for the first time:A pair of Redstarts, Tennessee Warbler, Black Polled Warblers,

  6. Inge says:

    Wonderful shots!

  7. beachmama says:

    I have never seen so many surf scoters at one time! I love my Hobie paddle kayak . . . perfect for taking photos.

    I lost track of you for awhile and then saw the link to your blog on Richard’s blog, ‘The Coastodian’. Thanks so much for you tips, tricks and beautiful images. So happy to have found you again!

    • Tomales Bay is a favorite area of theirs. I am surprised you don’t get more of them in Bodega Bay, although I suppose the ecosystems are fairly different, despite their proximity. Richard is a good one. I’ve known hime for quite a few years now, and he is rather impressive with what he does photographically and for keeping the beaches clean

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