First Go

After my Canon 70D packed up recently, it was back to the ‘tired’ 50D until Sandra insisted that I buy a 7Dii and, after finding the cheapest around on, I did just that. That had it is a miracle in itself as our Amazon is usually like a poorly stocked corner store compared to which is Macy’s. It arrived on 11/16, all set up in Japanese, so that was the first thing to sort out, then I wanted to play but the weather said a firm “no”.

Today was a little better, certainly drier, so I went for a wander around and about and took a few frames. I’m still working it out, even reading the manual which is something of a first for me. It is quieter for sure and it has more buttons which has to be a plus. The focusing is much quicker and I can finally use my 1.4 extender with autofocus, at f8 or higher but OK then.

The first few clicks were on a lucky Wilson’s Snipe. I had only stopped by the causeway on the Cape Sable Island side to waft at gulls (still legal in Canada) and found the snipe feeding in a paddock. I’d have done better if not for two twelve-year olds and their souped-up toy cars arriving just as I found it, why do they drill their mufflers and why don’t the Police prosecute them?

Any snipe in Atlantic Canada is worth a careful examination. Common Snipe is now considered a full species and has occurred in our neck of the woods before, see the link. My bird was easily identified by a number of things, all visible in the photos. 1, it was in Nova Scotia pointing strongly to a Wilson’s Snipe. 2, it looked cold in colouration. 3, the underwing pattern was not pale enough for Common, the black barring being thick and dominant. 4, the tail pattern was Wilson’s.

The photos were not great, mainly because I had it on auto ISO and it came out grainy, I prefer to decide these things so that has been reset on the camera. At one point a couple of American Crows pushed it around and it stuck its tail up to make itself look bigger, it didn’t work.

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A rubbish flight shot but it shows enough.


One of each in the photos below, Wilson’s from QC, Common from UK. Not telling you which is which though.

two-snipes2 two-snipes1 two-snipes-3

Dave Brown tells Common versus Wilson’s Snipe well here:

Prior to that and placing the image here to avoid it being on Facebook, Purple Sandpipers (2) were at their favourite rock roost at high tide in Drinking Brook Park, CSI. Nice on eof the rock!


Despite the grey skies I got a through-the-tangle shot of a Downy Woodpecker.


Later I got this Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the lens.

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I’ll need to use it some more and to fiddle with the many buttons but I’ll get there. Coupled with the newish lens I have, you should see some improvement in my photography. Now all I need is good light and a cooperative bird, especially one called Townsend!

The regular reader knows I like to make jokes from time to time, please don’t take the following too seriously, it was raining, I was bored.

Recently the American Ornithologists Union revealed a new batch of splits and a surprise move to adopt more populist bird names, here are a few examples.

Mourning Dove is changed to Flying Vacuum. The name change takes into account the evolution of the species’ ability to clear a bird table in minutes.

Northern Cardinal is now called Oh a Red Bird. This change is because cardinals are the most noticed of all birds in digital North America. A late suggestion that it now be called Pixel Parrot was rejected as digital photographs of it on Facebook still lag behind those of domestic ducks.

House Sparrow is now called Box Robber after its inclination to drive Eastern Bluebirds out of their natural habitat. Eastern Bluebirds become Dangerous Stump-bird in homage to all those dead trees removed for aesthetic purposes and thereby robbing them of their original natural habitat.

American Robin is now called It’s-a-Thrush. A rather obvious name, but one that surely is more fitting for a thrush, that is clearly not a robin.

All forms of wildfowl currently on the quarry list are to be lumped under the name Stew Duck. This is likely to be a temporary name change as, when the ‘species’ becomes unviable due to archaic hunting practices, we will revert to the original duck names for the museum collections. Ducks that are not quarry species are all now called ‘I thought it was a Stew Duck’ the standard get-out story when hunters have a boat full of Harlequins/Labrador Ducks.

A move to call all species that are not obvious under the umbrella term ‘ID please’ was rejected as not everyone says please. A small number of species have been given a regional ‘public’ name for use on bird club Facebook pages. The species themselves are very easy to identify, for example in Atlantic Canada a male Common Eider is now publically called ‘you’re kidding’ unless in eclipse. Black-capped Chickadee is called ‘get out more’ and Blue Jay ‘do you even have a bird book’. I’m sure you can think of a few for yourselves.

Lumping has officially been consigned to the bin of taxonomic disasters and thousands of birds that laboured under the weight of being only a subspecies are now full species. In an effort to simplify the listing system, listers can now tick adult male and female and hatch-year males and females and after Hatch-year males and females plus those who look at Fry-robbers, the new name for parking lot gulls, get extra ticks for both sexes if they take more than two years to become adults. It is also worth noting that, while leucistic birds only count as half, albino and melanistic forms are full ticks.

When asked to comment, a spokesperson for the ABA said “where’s Canada?”

Cattle Egret is still in Barrington (11/17).



2 thoughts on “First Go

  1. Too bad about your 70D but it’s great you have another fine camera. I’m grateful about how tough my 70D has been for me. I do a lot of hiking and sometimes on rough terrain and too often I’m looking up instead of where my feet are headed and down I go. For some reason my 70D seems to always take the impact first. At least a half dozen times I’ve bounced back up to take a quick shot to see if my camera is still working and so far so good.

    Those Kinglet shots are quite nice.

    Liked by 1 person

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