Archive for December 10th, 2010


12/10/2010: Merlin!

I was finished for the morning and on my way out of the refuge when this bird caught my eye in the very tip top of a tree just back from the road. I parked and climbed out gingerly, hoping against hope that it would sit long enough to get the digiscolping rig set up. I have never known if the character is named after the bird or the bird after the character, or both after something else, but, what with the Arthur associations, and the elegance of the bird itself, the Merlin is among my favorite birds…and I see it rarely, let along get a chance to digiscope it. It did not spook as I set up, and I took a bunch of shots, though at the limits of what the scope and camera could do. Over the next 15 minutes I worked my way closer until I was right across the road from it, and at a much better distance for digiscoping. Still, these shots are at full zoom on the Canon SD4000IS and about 25x on the scope, for the equivalent field of view of a 2600mm lens (it was a tall tree…big old dead cottonwood). The light was strongly from behind and I had to adjust Exposure Compensation to the plus side to maintain detail in the breast featers.

1/320th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto, plus 2/3EV Exposure compensation.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.

And, of course, since the bird was so cooperative, here is the video.

Merlin: Bosque del Apache NWR

Like I say, Merlins are always a treat!