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Thread: 2011, A hard Year for Wildlife and Wildlife Photography

  1. #1
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    2011, A hard Year for Wildlife and Wildlife Photography

    This is my report from my area. While last year I was able to get some decent pic's, in general the wildlife population in my area took a hit from last years drought. In past years before I took up photography I would have noticed this mostly in game animals and birds. This year I have noticed it in the song bird population as well. For my last few outings I have found nothing worthy of even mounting my 500mm. The birds are few and far between and very skittish. The wildlife biologist in the area say that the drought killed the quail hatches and very few new birds survived. This seems to be true of song birds as well. The opportunities are still there, but one has to work allot harder this season to get shots.

    I was wondering if any one is experiencing this in their part of the country.

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    Senior Member Rocco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk View Post
    This is my report from my area. While last year I was able to get some decent pic's, in general the wildlife population in my area took a hit from last years drought. In past years before I took up photography I would have noticed this mostly in game animals and birds. This year I have noticed it in the song bird population as well. For my last few outings I have found nothing worthy of even mounting my 500mm. The birds are few and far between and very skittish. The wildlife biologist in the area say that the drought killed the quail hatches and very few new birds survived. This seems to be true of song birds as well. The opportunities are still there, but one has to work allot harder this season to get shots.

    I was wondering if any one is experiencing this in their part of the country.
    I'm in Utah, USA. Same here. We've had maybe three snow days all winter, although not in a drought. We have plenty of water.. It has made it hard though. Wildlife isn't coming down off the mountains like they normally would have to find grass. Also.. the biggest let down.. this time of year there are usually HUNDREDS of bald eagles in northern Utah. I go to the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management area.. that's where they are most densely populated. I saw one this year.. completely out of reach. I'd imagine they're all further north by now.
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    There are several lakes that attract the migrating bald eagles to Oklahoma, I haven't gotten out to those yet this year but am hopping that they are not affected. We never get hundreds it is usually just a few eagles at any one lake. In dry years like this lakes and ponds are dry or low, waterfowl tend to move further to the east and follow the big rivers. I am seeing fewer ducks as well. I think I will try the eagles next weekend.

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    Senior Member nvitalephotography's Avatar
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    Yeah, wildlife had a hard year last year due to drought conditions in many areas. I was conducting research on wading bird populations last season down here in florida, and many colonies abandon their nests mid season due to the poor conditions. Droughts may also drive wildlife to new areas, and so they may be more dispersed or in areas not normally typical, so that just means looking harder for photography opportunities.Populations overall shouldnt really change that drastically from just one bad season though(unless of course its a rare species to start with and highly dependent on water), just hope the weather is better this yearNick

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    Wow, that really doesn't sound good, climate chage is going to ruin a lot of good photo spots in the next decade or two.
    But down here in Aus, it's going a bit the other way. With all the flooding that's been happening over the last year or two, there's a lot of water draining into Lake Eyre. For those who don't know, that's a big salt-pan in the centre of Australia, when it's full of water it's half the size of Lake Ontario, and it does nothing but sit there and slowly evaporate until it floods a decade later.

    But with floods two years in a row, it's totally teeming with fish and frogs and lungfish (yes, the types that bury in the mud and hibernate for years until it rains). And the birds and the birds and more birds that eat all the fish. There's so many people going up there that the air-traffic controllers are really worried about potential mid-air collisions of sight-seeing planes flying around the lakes going birding and whatnot.
    If I had a 500-800mm or so, I'd be up there right now taking shots. Anyone interested in flying down this side of the world? I'd guarantee you'll get a few HDDs worth of good shots...
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    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    I am on the west side of Michigan, U.S.A. about have way up the Lake Michigan coast line. Last winter was a long one... we did not see any flowers or even a bud on a tree until May 15th last year, so I suspect the winter kill was larger than normal. The winters as of late have been harsher, and I have not seen any pheasents around my house in about 7 years (there use to be a lot of them).

    However, this year is a pretty mild winter so far, and there is very little ice. This really effects my ability to see any consentrations of ducks. Usually all the lakes would be frozen in November (or earlier). With iced over lakes, the areas were there is some open water would be limited, and would concentrate all the ducks, swans, and geese into a small area. There could be thousands ducks of many different breeds all cramed into a very small area, and it was great for duck shooting (with a camera). In fact, I would go down to the channel when the temps got below zero so I could get real close to them - because they were not likely to take flight (and there are no people either). You could even sit there and a chunk of ice with bunch of ducks and swans on it would float by within about 5-15 feet of you and they do not care (in the fall you can not get close to a duck becasue there are to many people shooting them with something other than a camera, so they are bit spooked).

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