As I do my competition for the Big Half Year, I know this issue is going to come up again and again. Which photos to count? Above is a very mediocre or what I would call a documentation photo that I got at Pig's Eye Outflow in St Paul this week. There's identifiable common goldeneye in that shot...but would I get a better photo later. Who can say with my crazy schedule and migration. You really never know with birds and this may be as good as it gets goldeneye wise with me. I know my buddy Craig Nash is insisting that all my photos be in focus to be countable (unlike The World Series of Birding rules). But would the above photo count.
And then I went to Lake Rebecca in Hastings, MN and found a lovely albeit backlit goldeneye. I bided my time and worked my way around the lake to see if I could position myself to have the sun behind me instead of the goldeneye. When I do something like this, I try to walk in a way that the bird doesn't notice. I'll look in the opposite direction of the bird and even make sure that my scope's objective lens isn't facing the bird as I carry it. If I stared at the bird the whole time, the bird might become suspicious as to why I'm staring at it, I'd look like a predator.
I eventually found a better position on the lake...but then the camera flaked out and under exposed the crap out of it. But a few adjustments in the settings and viola:
He even found a female goldeneye to hang out with on the lake.
This lake has a large population of mallards and Canada geese (and even a young trumpeter swan) hanging out. It's a popular town activity to bring your kids and a bag of corn or bread and feed everybody. I wonder if the goldeneye notice the mass exodus of waterfowl when a car pulls in and wonder what the fuss is about. These ducks are fish eaters so the corn and bread is wasted on them. But the goldeneye's presence is a good sign for ice fishermen who tempt fate on the frozen-ish side of the lake.
Here's a link to the Flickr and I cannot say this enough: thank you to everyone who has donated so far. I had absolutely no clue what I'd raise with this thing and seeing it past the $250 mark is an honor. With all the participants, the fund is already at 15%! That's fantastic--we have until June 30, 2013 to make the goal so to be at this point before the end of January--is fantastic!