Fork-tailed Storm Petrel (Oceanodrama furcata) Foraging on Tidal Flats: Part 2
by Bryce W. Robinson
I captured too many images from my recent experience with Fork-tailed Storm Petrels (Oceanodrama furcata) along the Bristol Bay coast of the Alaska Peninsula. Given that our observations warrant a full report in a journal, I’ll maintain some brevity for now. However, I think it is helpful in the interim to share supplementary video and images that set the stage for the publication. The rest will come out with the article sometime in the coming year.
We had a few days where the birds lent themselves to close proximity photography. They were all around us, and didn’t seem to understand or comprehend the concept of a terrestrial predator. In one instance, we walked as close as a meter or so to a bird sitting on the water with no response. Whether this was an ill or a healthy bird resting, I can’t be sure. We do however have some indication that these birds were healthy, but these are details that will be discussed in publication.
The past six months have been full of unique encounters with bird life in Alaska, and have produced a nice list of potential publications that I’ll be working on throughout the winter. I’ve taken a lot of satisfaction in working in a place where the birdlife is still relatively understudied, a place where paying attention, taking good notes, and diligent photography all support the opportunity to add to our basal knowledge of natural history of the less understood species of North America.
Hey Bryce, you mentioned “taking good notes, and diligent photography”. In your opinion what is considered good, solid notes and what do you consider as diligent photography?
-Austin Young 🙂
Hey Austin. I’ll clarify what I meant. I’d say good notes would include time, location, conditions, and details of observations. This is something I work on every time I’m in the field. Write down everything, why not? It’s hard to do, but I think either carrying a notebook with you or writing up notes everyday that detail, exhaustively, the experiences of that day will prove useful in the future. I return to field notes constantly. Perhaps this is worth an in depth blog post with examples… I’d say diligent photography is essentially visual field notes, or striving to describe what you observe through photographs. Your camera should be a tool that rests on a foundation of excellent observation skills, it shouldn’t be the vehicle for the observation, in most cases. So, when you’re in the field your paramount goal should be observing birdlife, and when the opportunity arises turning your camera to capture strange behavior or a vagrant proves to be invaluable. I’m writing a handful of manuscripts right now that have solid evidence for novel observations, simply because I recognized something interesting and took the effort to document it. That is what I mean by diligent photography. If you see something, take the time to turn your camera towards it. It’s usually worthwhile.
I understand now, thank you Bryce. Note-taking is an activity that needs to be taken up more consistently in my field excursions. I appreciate the information and I love the posts 😉
Good luck out there