Red-billed Tropicbirds

November 28, 2012  •  3 Comments

I've recently travelled to Tobago, not a birding holiday as such, more of a beach and rum, rest and recuperation kind of jaunt. Somehow a large camera bag slipped into our luggage, what can I say? I did spend a lot of time swimming, but I also managed to slip away for odd moments with my camera. One of those moments was a short trip to island of Little Tobago, which lies just off the east end of Tobago near the village of Speyside, where completely coincidentally our hotel was located. Do you believe in coincidences? I do....

The boat trip takes only ten minutes, and then you have a ten-minute climb to the very top of the island where a lookout has been created - the very spot from where David Attenborough filmed Tropicbird and Frigatebird sequence from The Trials of Life. Once there the view is staggering. Red-billed Tropicbirds in their hundreds, along with Magnificent Frigatebirds and Brown and Red-footed Boobies. It's the Tropicbirds that most people come to see, and I was no exception. Two tips - go in the afternoon when the birds come back from fishing - if you take the morning trip, the birds are out at sea. Also try and go on a day when there are very few people on the boat - the viewing platform is very small, and you will want it mostly to yourself to be able to pan back and forth. I actually went over twice - the first time I only had my 300mm lens, and whilst the birds are very close, I'm simply not skilled enough in flight-photography to get the kind of shots I dream of. So I went back, this time armed with the 800mm and a tripod (plus ball-head and Wimberley Sidekick - I was, ahem, travelling light...), to have a go at birds a bit further out which consequently cross the sky that little bit slower - perhaps even slow enough for me. I also decided to go with the Canon 5D Mark III, for it's supposed superior AF system - I need all the help I can get when it comes to birds in flight! Here are some of the results. Even though I clicked the shutter many hundreds of times, I was happy with only a handful of them, most of them from a single sequence where one bird came in on just the right line. A typical exposure was 1/2500 @ f7.1, at ISO 800 and with IS turned off (my 800mm lens has some kind of hardware clash with the 5D Mark III body which I have yet to get fixed, and which causes the IS system to shudder). I have the mother of all editing tasks on my hands at the moment, so I may yet find some more that are OK.


Comments

venaine(non-registered)
I know about the site and it has been sharing us more red billed topic birds, keep follow the blog for more info. I have found here http://resumecompaniesreview.com/novoresume-review/,really perfect education to showcase all our students, keep visit for more info.
dddf66(non-registered)
loy any "ears forward" techniques as they were always forward! Being based so close to the Common, it made perfect sense to wonder down there and it also made it very easy to photograph at a sensible distance, although believe me, I could just have snaffled Rainbow loy any "ears forward" techniques as they were always forward! Being based so close to the Common, it made perfect sense to wonder down there and it also made it very easy to photograph at a sensible distance, although believe me, I could just have snaffled Rainbow
Mick Southcott(non-registered)
I hope you got more of these, they are just fantastic birds !!!
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