Anyone out there knows, taking pictures of birds is extremely difficult due to the shy nature of this creatures. I remember in the beginning how many times i came back home from the field, saying i will never go again to take bird photos. But later during the week this thought recovers itself when i see some amazing bird photos and i find myself back in the field. The biggest tip i can give you if you want to photograph birds is : learn how to hide or camouflage yourself. So, don't blame yourself that you dont have the big telephoto lenses. Even if you have the 800mm, it won't be enough to get you close enough without becoming invisible.
If you want to take pictures of wildlife, you have to know your subject. It was till last summer i did not realize how important that thing is, and how easy it makes everything. Last summer i was in Rustenberg South Africa taking a course about wildlife. My teacher Bennet de Klerk is an experienced field guide, who has excellent knowledge about birds. And he uses that knowledge even to spot big 5. Yes If you know the birds, you can use that to spot other animals too. Amazing isn't it?
Around the camp we are staying, i kept hearing this owlet all the time. She was really close, but i had a hard time spotting it, and to get a photo of it was near impossible even with a 600mm lens.
Seeing me struggling to get close to that shy owlet, Bennet told me '' Why are you trying so hard, let me call her to you'' I did not believe him. He added '' I will not only call her closer, but also all other little birds around us''
Now that was some crazy offer. I told him '' Ok, i will record a video, and post it to Youtube. No matter success or failure, i will post your video in my youtube channel. He accepted the challange.
First we went to a quiet spot, sat down without moving, and he starts imitating the Pearl spootted owlet. The trick about calling all other birds was, Pearl spotted owlets feed on other birds hatchlings. So if one of the birds around spots the owlet, she will give an alarm call to the other birds and then they all start mobbing the owlet. Mobbing is common in the bird world, it is an assemblage of individuals around a potentially dangerous predator. By knowing his subjects, Bennet used the information to alter something really difficult to achieve otherwise. Instead of chasing after them, he called them to us.
So here is the video i shot that day, for those who are curious to see. And at the bottom of the video, there are some shots, achieved on that day, except the pearl spotted owlet.
Pearl spotted owlet