Harlequin Ducks at Barnegat Light NJ

Harlequin Ducks

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Harlequin Ducks breeding in eastern Canada and Greenland winter primarily along the coast of Atlantic Canada and New England. Many males form small, loose flocks and leave their breeding grounds by late June. Females begin to return to the coast with young birds from July into September. Males stop over in molting sites, where large numbers congregate during this brief period of flightlessness. They often arrive on their wintering grounds in late October. Wintering birds begin leaving for their breeding grounds in late March.

Learn more about the Harlequin Duck – https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Harlequin_Duck/overview

Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Flight

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Bee Meadow Park, Hanover Township NJ.

Taken in 2009 this was the first and seemingly the last time I invested effort in trying to image a swallow in flight. I am sure I took over 200 trial shots with a professional photography setup to snag a single usable frame!

A few tips on shooting birds in flight:
“Prefocus” your telephoto lens by obtaining focus on an object such as a ripple in the water, a tree, or a cloud where you expect the bird may pass.

Set your camera dial to “M” for manual and base your exposure on aforementioned ripple of water, tree, or cloud. Do not expect or hope that you camera has the wits to know what brightness a bird should be against a bright or dark sky.

Always use the largest picture size and shoot in your camera raw format (why wouldn’t you?) Set the camera focus type to “Servo” and shoot at the highest burst speed your camera allows.

Do not expect your first, twelth, or hundredth frame to be in focus or well-composed. Shoot shoot shoot. There is plenty of luck involved with tracking an erratic subject.