Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The bird was Magnificent, the photos...

not so much.

Tim picked up another Frigatebird (the 3rd for each of us at Tiscornia, involving 4 different birds over the years) at the base of the pier and called those of us on the end to tell us to look back for it.  It was a much tougher spot than I expected, about 600 yards away, backlit, and frequently below the tree line.  Eventually it popped up above the trees.

What to do with not-so-great distant photos? Make a montage of course.  You can get a sense of the alar bars though it's pretty backlit.
I had the presence of mind to thumbwheel it up 2 F-stops to compensate for the backlighting trying to document the pattern of the underparts better.

I would say that the white underparts do not extend significantly onto the underwing, eliminating Lesser.  It would be hard to eliminate Great on these photos, but Tim's from a quarter mile closer has a nice pointed throat/bib; sub-adult Great Frigatebirds have the black of the head cut off where the throat meets the breast rather than extending in a point onto the breast.

My first Frigatebird at Tiscornia followed Hurricane Ike (which came out of the Gulf a couple weeks before), the 2nd (the bird that we watched land on the lighthouse) was not long after an Atlantic hurricane (but was photographed in Kansas before it arrived at Tiscornia); the previous Berrien records had followed Gulf Hurricanes.  This bird follows the tropical storm that flooded Louisiana a couple weeks ago and likely follows the Gulf pattern.