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Everything posted by lonestranger

  1. Does that mean that ONLY females have this type of plumage variation due to hormone imbalances, or can a male mallard take on female characteristics including bill patterns?
  2. He'd chuck more wood if could chuck wood. A heck of lot more than if he couldn't chuck wood.
  3. One difference is the use of old photos in this contest. TBN photo challenge has to be a new photo taken after the challenge is posted.
  4. Thanks @Candydez12. I'm going to let @Aidan B choose the next category.
  5. You have got to be kidding me. Did they really think they could cage me up with bars like these?
  6. It usually takes me a while to find photos of specific species since most of my photos aren't tagged or organized other than by date. My choice of photo was easy to find this time, I knew one of my earliest photos was still one of my best so I just jumped right to the beginning of my gallery and there it was just a few rows down from the start. Taken back in 2009.
  7. There's already a discussion on the go for spring migration, @tclarkwood.
  8. I'm not sure of the bird's orientation either. I question whether the obvious wing is the top of the far wing or the underside of the closer wing. Maybe I've been looking at too many optical illusions lately, but I can see this bird from both perspectives.
  9. I'm not sure where would be the best spot to include a suggestion like that. Is there already a pinned thread for how to reply to an ID request? I thought there was one that explained about providing field marks when suggesting a different ID, etc., but I can't find it. Perhaps @Charlie Spencer could incorporate it into one of his existing pinned posts.
  10. This pretty much sums up my view on a good reply to a request for an ID. It's the simple explanations that are included in the reply that separate a good reply from an okay or bad reply, in my opinion. Including information that explains the field marks is very handy, but if that explanation is in complex terms that some people don't understand, then it's only handy to some people. While many birders here might know that R5 and R6 are referring to tail feathers, a reply that links R5 and R6 to specific tail feathers is more useful to those that don't know that much about birds yet and therefore handy/helpful to everyone. Yeah it takes a bit longer to type things out, but it saves the other person from having to look it up themselves, or dismissing it because that's not where their research interest lies.
  11. I was referring to exceptions such as Canada Goose and Cackling Goose that don't fit the normal shorthand you're referring to, an exception beginners might not know about when CAGO is used. I have picked up a lot from reading the forums but many new members may find the jargon confusing, I know I did and sometimes still do.
  12. I think it's a hummingbird so I'll GUESS Anna's Hummingbird.
  13. I think this is something that should be emphasized throughout the website, maybe even pinned somewhere. *hint hint @Aveschapines, @Charlie Spencer...tries not to be obvious...fails* While codes are helpful to those that know them, and know all the exceptions associated with them, codes are totally useless and often confusing if you don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about them. Strictly speaking for myself of course. ?
  14. Since the intention is to get feedback from people that see the species frequently, and since it is not foreign to North America, I see no reason to move it.
  15. As someone recently pointed out, common names can vary depending on location. Different languages make it difficult to use common names, thus the need for scientific names when dealing with international ID's.
  16. I can't speak about the spotting scope but I'll share my thoughts on hauling a big camera and tripod around, which is pretty much the same thing. First of all, tripods can be a pain in the butt, but I think they're worth it. Obviously there's the added weight and bulkiness to contend with so I don't use mine when I am just out walking around, I use mine when I plan on spending most of my time in one general area that's not too far from the house or car. When I do move around I leave the camera on the extended tripod with the lens oriented so that it points downward when I close the legs and balance the rig on my shoulder. I don't travel far with the tripod on my shoulder and I ALWAYS make sure the camera is secured and locked in place EACH and EVERY time. When I want to walk away from the camera for more than a few seconds I spread the legs wide open so the camera is only a few feet off the ground to maximize stability. When the tripod is set up properly I am confident to leave it while I do other things, but I try to prepare for the "what if a dog's leash wraps around the legs" kind of situations, probably because that happened to me once, and once was enough to teach me my lesson. To me, having a tripod to hold my camera while I do other things is one of the advantages of having a tripod, it frees up my hands to do other things, like balancing my other camera on top for stability when using the super zoom. Like most aspects of birding, there's a trade off to be considered, is the added weight worth the added range? Being a huge fan of long lenses and getting as close a view as possible, the added weight is worth it to me.
  17. I use Lightroom for most of my processing, cropping, exposure, etc. I also use Pixelmator for some of my editing. I have also recently started exploring my Mac's Photo program since the latest system update left one of my other programs, Picasa, inoperable.
  18. I am far from an expert but I am glad to share what I can. When I process a photo I start by cropping to get the composition I want which usually involves zooming in until the bird fills a majority of the frame without hitting the point of pixelation. I try different crop sizes and decide on one that suits the setting, posture, and activity of the bird for artistic purposes, when desired. Once the image has been cropped I adjust my exposure and contrast, often starting out with the software's Auto setting and seeing if I like the simple one click adjustment for exposure and contrast. If I don't like the Auto adjustments I will undo them and make my own adjustments, starting with exposure and contrast and then working through my other adjustment options depending on the software I'm using at the time and how creative I want to get. There's some trial and error in finding the right settings, but the Auto adjustment usually gets it pretty close most of the time. I don't have a specific workflow or really know how to explain what I am doing except that I try to emphasize the bird in the photo in a pleasing composition. After cropping and tweaking the image, I export the image. This is where I set the image quality to 100% and resize the image if I want to upload it. I never resize to a larger size, I only reduce image size for uploading to websites like Whatbird that don't allow for high resolution images. I'm not sure that helps but that is the simplified version of my photo processing. Sorry for the delayed reply but I started this earlier and just got back to finish it now.
  19. Saw my first Red-winged Blackbirds this morning. MJ heard them a few day ago but this was the first sighting of the season for us.
  20. Cropping always helps with bird photography, in my opinion, unless the bird fills the frame appropriately for the desired results from the original photo. I crop all of my photos so the subject is large enough to show the details I want to share. I don't want a picture of a tree with a bird in it, I want a picture of a bird in a tree, if that makes sense. Now there's limit there, if you need to crop an image to the point that you are only left with a thumbnail sized image or the image gets distorted with noise/speckling, well you've cropped too much for the size/quality of your image. There's also the issue of Whatbird compressing uploaded images, an image that needs to be zoomed in to see good detail on your computer won't zoom in the same when uploaded to the website. If an image is cropped before being uploaded, there is less compression likely to happen and the need for zooming in is greatly reduced. If you crop and resize(two different things) your photos, you can reduce or eliminate the compression effect and maintain more of the original image quality.
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