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All photographs by David Lilly
The bird to the right is a Northern Goshawk. An uncommon bird in the southern parts of Canada.
However, in the winter they can be seen in all of the provinces. I have seen them chasing Collared Doves.
As a matter of fact the Goshawk to the right was resting after a long inflight chase on a Dove. It did not succeed in catching the Dove and stopped for a rest when I photographed it in a dead tree.
They fly very fast making them very hard to photograph.
Nikon D500 with a 200 - 500mm lens.
I have always liked photographing Bald Eagles. Sheffield Mills in Nova Scotia is one of the few, if not the only location in Canada where they feed the eagles twice daily for the months of January and February.
Photographers and Nature lovers come from all over to see these majestic birds close up - within one hundred meters. On any given day there are a minimum of 50 eagles.
January 24th - 25th and the 26th, 2020 is when Sheffield Mills had its annual Eagle Festival. You don’t have to come for the festival to see and photograph the Eagles, as I mentioned above the Eagles are feed everyday for two winter months. As a matter of fact I would recommend another weekend as there won’t be as many people or during the week would be a good. In 2019 there were more than 5000 people who came to see the Eagles. 2020 was the 29th year for the festival.
The Eagles are feed at 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM everyday. If you are lucky as I was we got to watch three feedings on the 25th. That was good for photography because the light was excellent on the third feeding.
If you are planning to attend you can park at the Canning Community Centre and take the shuttle bus from there. Also, at the community centre they host a pancake breakfast for Eagle viewers. Parking on the road beside the field where the Eagles are feed is very crowed, so get there early.
You will be amazed at the action during the feeding. There will be many great opportunities to get great photographs if the light is cooperative.
Here are my recommendation for camera equipment
if you decide to go.
1. A 500mm or 600mm lens would be great but found my 500mm was too long for many photographs. Of course you will need a tripod.
2. I used my Nikon 200 - 500mm lens for most of the photographs. It allowed me to get the acton. There was a lot of action left and right so it was important to be flexible with both the zoom and and focus on the fast action. I did see a few photographers with 600mm lens.
3. No requirement for a flash as the distance is too far (25 meter plus)
4. A good monopod for a long zoom would be an asset.
5. Spare batteries and memory cards on your person for quick reload.
6. Leave your camera bag in the vehicle or your accommodations as it would get stampeded with the crowds on the ground beside you.
7. Dress warm as it is winter. Rain gear might be a good idea as it rained on my second day - classic down east weather.
There are Bed and Breakfasts close to the event. Some people choose to stay in Halifax and drive to the event this is OK if there is no snow. I choose a bed and breakfast 10 minutes from the event.
If you decide to visit you will be amazed by the photography opportunities.
See my gallery of photographs from the weekend <Click Here>
I was on a walk in the local park. I heard this Pileated Woodpecker but could not see him.
I know there are woodpeckers in the park because I have seen them before. As the woodpecker was hammering away at a tree I walk around in the forest until I could see where the pecking sound was coming from.
As per normal the woodpecker was on the opposite side of the tree. I did not need to get close, so I kept my distance and got some head photos . There were too many branches to get a full photo of the woodpecker. Also, in the woods the light was horrible. I managed to preserve the photos to the right with some magic in post processing.
Nikon D500 with a 200 - 500mm lens.