Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus


It's not often you see Water Rails playing to the camera, and this smart bird photographed at lunchtime was no exception, really...

Though it showed well - for a Water Rail - it was a tough digiscoping task, with the bird mostly hiding behind bits of reed and feeding vigorously with its head deep in vegetation. The camera always wanted to auto-focus on the reeds in front of the bird, so I had to point the camera and scope in the right direction, fiddle with the scope's focus so the rail was sort of sharp, and press the button, all while trying not to wobble too much.

Though the light was bright, it was hard to get a fast shutter speed with the bird's surroundings being quite dark. And the bird kept moving. And my hands were freezing.

Photographing from this angle makes the bird look incredibly spherical, which it wasn't really. With its beady little eyes set too close together, comedy droopy bill and balloon-shaped body with silly pink legs stuck on, it reminds me of a Creature Comforts character.

photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece