Outdoor Adventure

Birds – the cure for late autumn photography blues!

Guest blog by Ethan Meleg.

Once the leaves have dropped off the trees and the landscape turns brownish, many nature photographers fall into a slump of low photo motivation. The good news is that there is a cure and it’s flying towards you…. birds. In fact, late fall and early winter is one of the best times to photograph some families of birds as they stream through Ontario, or settle in here for the winter.  Pull on your toque and get your zoom lens ready!

The finch family tops my list of fall favourite birds to photograph in Ontario. There are a whole bunch of different finch species that can be found here during late fall and winter including goldfinches, siskins, redpolls, crossbills and grosbeaks. They all share an appetite for seeds and will travel widely in search of the best wild crops, especially the seed cones of conifer trees.  Finches are also fairly easy to attract to bird feeders. Hey, why pass up an easy meal?!

Finches can be found all over Ontario at this time of year, although I hone in on central Ontario to get the best mix of species.  Algonquin Provincial Park, in particular, ranks as one of the premier finch locations in the province.  In addition to cruising along the park’s Highway 60 watching for finch flocks, I always check out the Spruce Bog Trail, along Opeongo Lake Road and the feeders located at the park Visitor Centre.

If you’re a beginner birder and photographer, be sure to park a field guide to help identify the finches. Or better yet, learn the bird calls so you can find them with your ears! But be careful, before long you’ll become a bird geek like me, wandering around Ontario with your camera in pursuit of finches!
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Ethan MelegGuest Blogger Ethan Meleg is a freelance photographer based in Owen Sound. He specializes in photos of outdoor recreation, landscapes, ecosystems, birds and wildlife. He is represented by major stock agencies and has been published extensively worldwide. Ethan is a popular keynote speaker, workshop leader and magazine columnist. He writes the humour column in every issue of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.

2 replies on “Birds – the cure for late autumn photography blues!”

I saw what I believe was a Great Horned Owl in High Park today. I had just been talking about the Snowy White Owl eruption in southern Ontario this year when we caught a guy with his phone aimed in the air. As we got closer to him, we realized he was trying to snap a pic of the owl. Christmas bird counts are taking place across Ontario and the Snowy White Owl eruption is an added feature to this year’s counts. This story by Paul Nicholson in the London Free Press talks more about them. http://www.lfpress.com/2012/12/04/the-world-outdoors-snowy-owl-irruption-a-highlight-of-count

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