Hello from a newcomer!

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Hello from a newcomer!

Postby mbaglole on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:49 am

Good Morning Everyone,

I have just recently been pointed in the direction of this forum as I am slowly becoming more intrigued by birding. I thought I would introduce myself and hopefully become an active member in these forums.

I am currently studying Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo as I am going in to my third year starting in May. I am originally from Prince Edward Island, and have been in Ontario for the past two years; I am beginning to slowly see Ontario as photography is allowing and taking me to new places each and every weekend.

I am also a Nikonian shooting with a Nikon D90.

I have been slowly building locations that I would like to return, and I am always looking for new places and people to do photography with (generally seem to be wandering out at 6am by myself, which is still fun). Here is a quick list that I have compiled of places that I have been recently (I am also open for suggestions of great locations to visit).

Snyder's Flats, Bloomingdale
Victoria Park, Kitchener
Clair Lake Park, Waterloo
Riverbank Trail (under the 24), Cambridge
Linear Trail, Cambridge
FWR Dickson Wilderness Area, South of Cambridge
Cambridge to Paris Rail-trail

I am heading out first thing again tomorrow, and I am probably going to the Mill Race Trail near St. Jacob's.

If anyone is interested in coming out, give me a shout, I am hoping to be out around 6am.

Here are some of my recent pictures: (I am learning, so please mind the pictures; suggestions and criticism are more than welcome! - I want to learn how to make my pictures better).

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

You can also catch me on Flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbaglole

Let me know if anyone wants to go out tomorrow morning! I would me more than glad to discover some new areas.

Michael
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby Alex Thomson on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:28 am

Hey Michael welcome.
This is a great forum to learn new areas.
Great shot of the kingfisher.
-Alex
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby jstlouis on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:35 am

Oh, I love the last chickadee shot. Fantastic. :)

I'm a fellow D90 user and also new to bird photography - I've only been giving it a go since late January. I'm also new to the area, having recently moved out this way from Toronto, so I'm absolutely the wrong person to give advice on where to go for good birding. That said, I've had some success on Linear Trail and the U of Guelph arboretum.

I'm angsting over what lens I should upgrade to (currently using 70-300mm VR for birds/wildlife, and it's just not cutting it). What's in your arsenal?

Jen
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby karl egressy on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:56 am

Hi Michael, welcome to the forum.
You already know many birding shooting places by the looks of it.
We share information so you will know more as time goes by.
Post your pictures and comments diligently and have fun.
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby mbaglole on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:57 am

@Alex

Thank you Alex, I am hoping to return to the Kingfisher and hopefully snap a better picture this weekend (assuming time and weather permits).

You have some phenomenal pictures on your Flickr! I don't understand how you even captured some of them.... especially the head of the Bald Eagle!

@Jen

I purchased the Nikon Nikkor AF-D 80-200mm f2.8 and I am absolutely in love (I am not able to afford the AF-S 70-200mm so I went with what was recommended as the next best - always on sale at Adencamera, Henry's will price match). I also use the Nikon TC-200 2x Teleconverter (used in almost all of the pictures above - picked it up on ebay for $86). I definitely recommend the combination (much cheaper than the 300mm and 400mm variants - which I am currently trying to pick up some manual focus 300mm/400mm lenses).

@Karl

Thank you Karl, I am going to search through the forums and see if I am able to find some more information since I am new to birding. I will be posting in the near future :).

Michael
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby Karen on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:00 am

Hi Mike,
Welcome to the forum...I met you and Neil on the Linear Trail last Saturday around noon. Glad you made a leap and post to the site. Lots of great people, images and info shared here. :D
I am sure you willing be bumping into a good deal of us especially once the birding season really gets going.
As you go to University up in Waterloo ...don't forget to check out the trails around Columbia Lake....at various times of the year..great egrets, Great Blue Herons and many others can be found here too.
Have a great weekend.
Karen

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kvonk/
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby Alex Thomson on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:07 am

mbaglole wrote:@Alex
You have some phenomenal pictures on your Flickr! I don't understand how you even captured some of them.... especially the head of the Bald Eagle!
Michael


Thanx for the compliment on my photostream Michael. Although I have managed to get some good wild bald eagle photos in the last couple of years, I believe the shot you are referring to is a captive bald eagle taken at a workshop hosted by one of our forum members Ray Barlow.
Just for the record I assure you there is a body attatched to that head :)
-Alex
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby jstlouis on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:16 am

mbaglole wrote:@Jen

I purchased the Nikon Nikkor AF-D 80-200mm f2.8 and I am absolutely in love (I am not able to afford the AF-S 70-200mm so I went with what was recommended as the next best - always on sale at Adencamera, Henry's will price match). I also use the Nikon TC-200 2x Teleconverter (used in almost all of the pictures above - picked it up on ebay for $86). I definitely recommend the combination (much cheaper than the 300mm and 400mm variants - which I am currently trying to pick up some manual focus 300mm/400mm lenses).


Do you find the lack of VR a problem? I'm really, really hesitant to buy a lens without it, because I don't want to be stuck using a tripod all the time. I don't have the steadiest hands in the world. Right now, I'm seriously considering the 80-400mm VR. I was hoping Nikon would announce the release of an upgrade for this lens, before I wanted to buy, but that's not looking promising.
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby mbaglole on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:44 am

@Karen

I look forward to following your photostream (you have some excellent pictures on it! - seems a lot of people here are pro, meaning I will learn a lot :))

I hope to bump into some fellow members on the trails, it will be nice to get out with some other people with similar interests. I will be sure to check out the trails around
Columbia lake, any specific entrances that are better than the others? I'm looking forward to capturing a Blue Heron.

@Alex

I'm glad to hear it had an accompanying body. I will also be following you on Flickr when I get home this evening.

@Jen

The only time I wish I had VR is when I am trying to capture motion hand-held (Also, the silent wave motor would be very nice). I am shooting fully manual and find that it gives me capability of capturing the image better in focus (I find I am awful when it comes to using autofocus, which is on my to-learn list). Other than that, I generally carry a tripod at all times and try to user it for every picture as I find it allows you to get a better controlled DOF. If you look at the top image of the Chickadee, the Chickadee is sitting on my tripod while I am handholding at 400mm (200mm + x2 teleconverter).

Overall, I have not found I am missing VR as I have it in a different lense and have been perfectly satisfied without VR.

Michael
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby GrAnD on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:48 am

Nice shots! Where did you spot a kingfisher?
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby mbaglole on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:52 am

@GrAnD

I have seen this Belted Kingfisher the two times I have been on the Riverbank Trail (and I am hoping to get there tomorrow morning to see if he is still around).

You can access the trail from Beaverdale Road in Cambridge.

Here are the GPS coordinates (43.425653,-80.328362), just punch them into googlemaps. If you are on Beaverdale going towards Cambridge from Maplegrove, just park on the side of the road before the bridge. The trailhead will be on the left where if you walk for about five minutes you will hear and see the Kingfisher.
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby GrAnD on Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:55 pm

Thank you for the tip. Depending on the weather I might check it out over the weekend.
mbaglole wrote:@GrAnD

I have seen this Belted Kingfisher the two times I have been on the Riverbank Trail (and I am hoping to get there tomorrow morning to see if he is still around).

You can access the trail from Beaverdale Road in Cambridge.

Here are the GPS coordinates (43.425653,-80.328362), just punch them into googlemaps. If you are on Beaverdale going towards Cambridge from Maplegrove, just park on the side of the road before the bridge. The trailhead will be on the left where if you walk for about five minutes you will hear and see the Kingfisher.
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby HighDHo on Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:42 am

Welcome to the forum Michael. I am also a nikonian. Unfortunately I am more on the poverty side of things, so I only have the D5000. I shoot with the 70-300 VR lens, and I love it. It is really fast for focussing. My friend kelly and I are out and about a lot, and most of the time we are heading out of town. I'll pm you next time, if you want to join us. We are both amateurs with the photos, but I have been birdwatching for almost 6 years. So I have some information you may find helpful. I often frequent the feeder at the Guelph Lake Nature Centre in the winter, although I have noticed it is becoming less used by the birds now that the nice weather has come. However, where I strongly suggest you go have a try at is Hamilton/Burlington area. The lakeshore there is almost always guaranteed to provide photo ops for birds. LaSalle marina is awesome for waterfowl, and there has been a Pileated Woodpecker spotted there on several occasions. I have also seen Carolina Wrens nesting there last year, Kingfishers, Yellow-rumped warblers, Yellow-Breasted Chat... the list goes on. The lift bridge is notorious for winter fowl. Long-tailed Ducks are abundant (still there), White-winged and Surf Scoters, Peregrine Falcons (nest ont he bridge), Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, and more! Down the road, is a place called Van Wagner's beach, which was a buzz last fall, when a Black-legged Kittiwake made an appearance for some time, as well as Sanderlings.
If you feel like taking a longer road trip, Point Pelee is a must in May. Pretty much anywhere along the Erie shoreline is great. Three hours the other way, just outside of Orillia, is a place called Carden Alvar. I only went there for the first time last year, but I'll be heading back this year for sure!!! Virginia Rails, Sora, Grasshopper Sparrows... and so on. We even saw a mama moose and calf!! Also, there are nesting Loggerhead Shrike there. They are far off, but I guess if you wait around long enough, you may get a shot.
Good luck, and hope you enjoy the forum.

Heidi
Nikon D5000 AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G zoom lens with VR
Obsessed with raptors
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby wcleung on Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:49 pm

Hi Mike,
I work at UW and I'm also new to birding. Due to limited birding time, I also try to spot for birds while commuting to work by going on foot or on a bike. I really like seeing the red-tailed hawks when commuting between the main campus and the RAC near Columbia Lake. There are other raptors (including kestrels, merlins, and Cooper's hawks) around, in the neighborhood South of campus. I never see much at the Waterloo park (so I stop going), but there are many types of song birds in the woods in the Centennial park by the river near the UW parking lot.
Incidentally, I wonder if others have tips on spotting the song birds. So far, I've been listening and then looking but I can't imagine having any luck once the leaves are out.
Debbie
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby mbaglole on Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:13 pm

@HighDHo

The 70-300 VR is an excellent lense (my uncle and both my roommates have the 70-300. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it is for the price).

Definitely send me a pm the next time you are heading out of town (which city do you happen to live in?). I have been wanting to head to Hamilton/Burlington but I am still waiting for the Spring weather to come around before making my venture down that way. I will definitely have to do some reading into Point Pelee, especially since May is fast approaching (unfortunately school will be also approaching at that time....).

I appreciate the tips, and look forward to getting out with you and your friend some weekend.

@wcleung

It looks like we have UW in common (different sides mind you), which department are you working in? I have been to Waterloo park only a few times, but I find it to be the typical birds. Especially the greater amount of traffic probably doesn't help the situation.

@everyone

Thank you for the tips and welcoming, I'm looking forward to these forums!

Michael
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Re: Hello from a newcomer!

Postby Bicgatepc02 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:16 am

I to agree...I tend to avoid Synder's Flats just for that reason..Annoying Dogs....with all that Synder's Flats has to offer, I would hope that someday soon, the City would address this problem, BEFORE we lose ALL who inhabit there.
Im glad you are enjoying your visit...and apologize for something that should have been taken care of years ago. There are many many areas to wander about, and enjoy the wonders of KW.









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