Another unusual bird in NYC today

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Jan 31, 2005
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Thick-billed Murre

These birds are arctic dwellers, related to Puffins...in the Alcid family. There has been a small "invasion" of them coming south this year and several have been seen in the waters off of Long Island, NY. Today we got word from a friend that one was paddling around under a local bridge (Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge that goes from Brooklyn to Rockaway, for any New Yorkers out there..) I think he may have been ill or weak because he wasn't diving, just floating around, and he should have been on the ocean. Anyway these shots were literally "grabbed" because there is technically no photography allowed on or around the bridges in NYC, post 9/11. So I snuck this from inside a backpack squatting on the ground, no time for exposure compensation and certainly couldn't use fill flash. Took five or six quick shots auto everything. I know the chest in the one shot is blown, but I was happy to get anything at all of this extremely rare bird. This saved me a trip to the arctic (well, or Northern Maine, where they may not be that uncommon in winter.)

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Very nice work Janet under less than ideal conditions. I lived in NYC for 57 years completely unaware of all the birds I had around me.

Harry
 
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Wow, Janet. Tough conditions, and you got some pretty good shots anyway. Personally I think the blown-out chest is OK on a shot like this. It looks like the rest of the bird is exposed reasonably well, and you got plenty of detail in the murkier areas of the feathers.
 
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Neat find Janet. you may be able to pull some shadow detail out of the first with DEE in nikon Capture. looks like very high contrast situation.
 
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CraigH. said:
Neat find Janet. you may be able to pull some shadow detail out of the first with DEE in nikon Capture. looks like very high contrast situation.
that's a good idea Craig, I kinda rush-processed these to get them posted on my local birding forum, and in my haste (and tiredness!) I forgot all about DEE! I may give it another shot.

thanks everyone for your comments too!
 
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Janet,

Don't cross off that trip to the Arctic!!:D

We were there is 1997 and it is spectacular! I need to write up a Places to Shoot on it. Since you are interested in the Thick-billed Murres here is a preview.

There were a few on this cliff:
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Maybe more than a few:
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:shock:
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There are about 450,000 Murres nesting on about 1/2 mile of cliffs here. These were taken 7/29/97 at Kapp Fanshawe, Spittsbergen Island, Svalbard at about 11PM. This is about 700 miles from the North Pole. It is North of Norway (If you are at the Northernmost point in Alaska you are still 1200 miles from the pole.)
It is light 24 hours a day which is hard to get used to but nice for photos.
These are 4x6 prints rephotographed with a Nikon 995.

More photos at http://bob-nan.smugmug.com/Travel/54746

Bob
 
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Now that's a lot of Murres!! Wow!! That certainly looks like an incredible trip....I will add it to my long, long list of places to see. I think it will have to wait until retirement, though! So much to do, so little vacation time :cry:

Thanks Bob for posting those. I hope our little guy makes it back to his brothers.
 
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Edmonton, Alberta
Hi Janet

Really nice capture and looks like you made the best out of it. Looks like you were dealing with pretty harsh light conditions and you pulled it off!
:D Unique bird, dont think I have ever seen one. Way to go!
 
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Just goes to show that a) you can ALWAYS find something to photograph and b) Janet ALWAYS does it well :wink:

Got to the Arctic anyway. No you know for sure what to look for .....
 
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jczinn said:
Now that's a lot of Murres!! Wow!! That certainly looks like an incredible trip....I will add it to my long, long list of places to see. I think it will have to wait until retirement, though! So much to do, so little vacation time :cry:

Thanks Bob for posting those. I hope our little guy makes it back to his brothers.
I think you would enjoy the trip, however be aware that taking bird photos may be interrupted by the big white furry things that show up on the ice!

Bob
 
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bobhoge said:
I think you would enjoy the trip, however be aware that taking bird photos may be interrupted by the big white furry things that show up on the ice!

Bob
oh I think I could put up with those big white furry things :lol:
 
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Janet....

All I can say is wonderful post. :D

I enjoyed your posts over on the other forum, but I don't recall ever seeing one that was this detailed and informative. Please, keep them coming :!: :!:

Regards,

Frank
 
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