[CT Birds] CTBirds Digest, Vol 2509, Issue 4

Donna Caporaso donnacap at aol.com
Wed Jan 8 21:31:21 EST 2014

I have seen this behavior a lot during the Snowy Invasion and it annoys me greatly.  I try to educate the people and explain the need to give these bird space but unfortunately their selfish desire to get a photo comes first.  But please, to be fair it is not only people with cameras that I have seen or have heard of doing the same thing or worse.  In speaking with two different birders I heard the story of a well-respected birder who was taking photos while throwing a hat up into the air in front of the owl.  I can only guess he was doing so to get the bird to fly up or look up.  To put it bluntly, I was quite pissed off to hear that. These birds are not here to be our dancing monkeys.  They are here to find food that isn't available elsewhere.  They are here trying to survive and if the birding/photography community can't set a better example and educate the people, who else will?

Donna Caporaso
Stratford, CT 

Message: 10
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:25:58 -0500
From: Joseph Cala <Joejr14 at aol.com>
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Milford Pt - Follow Up
Message-ID: <52CDFAA6.4090102 at aol.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

To explain my comments from earlier....

I hit up Long Beach, Short Beach, and other areas in Stratford at 
sunrise this morning to try and get some more Snowy Owl photographs.  I 
figured with the frigid temps I'd have most places to myself and stood a 
decent chance at finding an owl or two.  Long Beach was a miserable, 
freezing cold experience that resulted in no Owls--and I walked all the 
way down to the antenna.  In fact, other than Black Ducks and the 
assortment of gulls (Herring, GBB, Ring-billed and the continuing 
Iceland) all I saw were a few RB-Mergs in the barely open section one 
the marsh side and three snow buntings.  95% of the marsh was frozen 
100% solid and the sound side had a good 100' of slushy ice from the 
beach out.

After striking out at Short Beach and Birdseye I figured I'd stop at 
Milford Point.  I left the camera gear in the car and ran up the 
observation tower to see if there was anything in the marsh...nada. Ran 
out to the platform at the start of the beach and found a white blip 
that looked good for SNOW, and a closer walk confirmed it. Went back to 
the car to suit up (thank goodness for ice fishing accessories) and off 
I went.  During my walk the bird flew from the spit to the beginning of 
the jetty just past the houses.  I reversed course and came upon a pair 
of 'birders' that asked me if I had seen anything.  Trying to be nice I 
pointed out the owl and explained that I was walking back to try for 
some pics--they continued on to the end of the spit and actually walked 
out further than that for some looks.  I walked back around and over to 
the jetty and was taking pictures while the two folks walked up.

With zero fieldcraft they each took different approaches towards the 
jetty and of course spooked the bird.  At this point (and even before) 
the lighting was all wrong and I gave up on trying to get pictures.  
They continued to pursue the bird and flushed it from the sand back to 
about the middle of the 100% ice covered jetty.  Just before I got back 
to the platform I gave a final look back and saw both folks walking 
along/on the jetty trying to get closer to the bird for better 
pictures.  These guys couldn't have had more than 200-300mm of zoom 
lenses and had absolutely no clue.  I now totally understand why many 
folks have it out for 'photographers'--but I can assure you that the 
real photographers don't behave like that.  In any event I snapped a 
shot showing how far out these folks walked--mind you the first 25' or 
so before the gravel was ice which they crossed.  I guess they really 
wanted some better views because you could not have paid me to walk 
across that ice....you just never know!!


Btw, the owl from today was the same bird from Long Beach two weeks ago 
with the injured foot.  The leg/foot seemed a bit improved today but 
still clearly not better.  Anyone closer to Milford Point should keep an 
eye on this bird--not sure if it's able to hunt or not with the injured 

Donna Caporaso
Stratford, CT


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