Journal

An afternoon with a Northern Harrier

It was time for a second visit to Amherst Island. There had been many reports of Snowy Owls landing there but these birds wouldn’t be the main focus of my trip. I had two days and the weather forecast for the first day didn’t look good. The second day would be a bit better but it turned out mostly overcast.

Waiting to get on the ferry (iphone)

Waiting to get on the ferry (iphone)

Gear ready!

Gear ready!

Overcast day (iphone)

Overcast day (iphone)

When I drove off the ferry I could already see white specs in the distance. Most of them were in the distance and I didn’t see an opportunity for a good photo. I kept driving and stopped at a farm which was located on an elevation looking onto the farmland.

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Overlooking the farm fields I could see a spec of gray and black gliding over the golden grass. A male Northern Harrier was hunting in the fields. I decided to observe the bird first and I could recognize a pattern where it would start at the right field and cross over the road to the other field. I positioned my car hoping it would make some nice runs for me to photograph.

In the distance. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

In the distance. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Not perfectly sharp but I still like it. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Not perfectly sharp but I still like it. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/1250SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Acrobat. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO3200, f/8.0, 1/2500SEC

Acrobat. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO3200, f/8.0, 1/2500SEC

Empty handed. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Empty handed. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO2500, f/8.0, 1/2000SEC

Resting. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO3200, f/8.0, 1/2500SEC

Resting. Nikon D5, 500mm f/5.6 PF, TC1.4 III. ISO3200, f/8.0, 1/2500SEC

This is my first real attempt at birds in flight and I’m happy that I got such a cooperative bird. There are a few things I learned from this experience which I’ll write about in a next post. The new 500mm PF is performing really well and I’m amazed by the quality and the ease of handling. Paired with the D5 makes for a great combo but I’m eying a d850 so that I can crop in a bit more.

Check out more bird photos here: https://www.gordonhatusupy.com/birds/
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Gordon Hatusupy