Plenty of birds have made their way onto the blog over the years. One species that is not a regular feature, though, is the swallow. They have shown up once or twice but the lack of appearances is because they are bloody difficult to photograph when in flight. They are phenomenal flyers. The speed and maneuverability is just amazing but that does make them a touch more difficult to photograph. Also, they are tiny so you need a long lens to get a reasonable shot. That makes tracking them as the zip around even harder.
Along the shoreline in Hayward, there are some channels of water that can be very busy with swallows. I guess the bug population is good so they are able to feed comfortably. They make runs up and down the channel catching anything they can. The repetitive flightpaths make you think it will be easier to get a shot. It is easier – however, easier than impossible is not easy! I did waster some time trying though. I relied on the autofocus a little to see if it would let me take a shot if there was something focused. I did end up getting a few images. None of them are as clear and sharp as I would like but, after the time and number of shots involved, I was actually rather pleased to have ended up with what I had.
Having recently posted about both cormorants and swallows, it would appear a little repetitive to post about both together. Oh well, that isn’t going to stop me. While in Indiana for the powerboat racing, I was sitting on the harbor wall for a while. This was a popular place for the local bird life too. We had a cormorant swimming nearby and I couldn’t resist a shot of him (or her – I am not a specialist on these things).
Also, the local swallows seemed to be enjoying the air currents over the waves. When watching them, they seemed to spend a lot of time almost in one spot as they soared on the wind. Of course, trying to get a long lens on them was less straightforward and suddenly it was apparent just how much they were moving. Still, got a few shots off. It certainly provided some practice time between the races!
When trying to be smart and come up with an amusing play on words for a title, I realized I could be on dangerous territory with this one. Instead, I decided to play it safe but dull! Back to the topic…
I was sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan recently watching the swallows do their thing. I find them a fascinating bird to watch since they have a level of agility that is hard to comprehend. I guess when you eat by catching insects in mid air, you have to be pretty sharp. Catching a swallow on the wing is a trickier proposition altogether. They are hard to pan with and they are small so a long lens helps keep them visible but makes the panning so much harder!
Getting them standing on a non-moving surface makes for a far easier time. Of course, that isn’t so exciting. There is always the option to keep trying to get a bit closer without scaring them off.
Then again, you can always try and get the flying shot. These will never be published but they were better than I expected!