Birding with a camera in Thailand.
Birdwatching is today, one of the strongest lines of tourism around the globe. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, only in the United States of America, birdwatchers contributed with 36 billion USD to the nation’s economy in 2006, and over 20% of all Americans are identified as birdwatchers…
I remember when I was growing as a juvenile birder (late 80’s) and developing myself into a birders’ guide. Most of the visiting birdwatchers in Costa Rica, were for sure from US… then, some from UK. One here and there from other European countries or Canada. 10 years later, things had changed dramatically and the big agencies were out in the hunt for knowledgeable – multilingual guides, with visitors from all over the world rising by the minute. On a trail of a National Park, it isn’t unusual to hear the exiting whisper of a bird’s name in several languishes… from english to german, from spanish to japanese…
Birding is more and more considered a family -fun- activity
At that time, the experienced birding guides, used to walk around with a fishing vest full of anything you can imagine -from books to a magnifying glass, from first Aid kits to a flashlight- , a huge tape recording machine (with a foldable “bell” mic, remember?) hanging on the flank, the best bins one could get and the vital tool of the trip: the scope in a tripod… We used to look like the “Inspector Gadget“!!!
Birders and guides seem much more relaxed and lighter now, as gadgets changed into small-pocket things
Tourist (birdwatchers) had as a first to bring, a good pair of binoculars, but with the pass of time, more and more people started to carry around their own telescope and it wasn’t unusual to have 3, 4 scopes in a group of 6 birding…
Pretty much everyone, will also bring a camera to record the trip’s memories and highlights. Mostly small point-and-shoot type of equipment. However, with the years, more and more birders started to bring along some better photographic gear in the hope of been able to record some of the awesome bird species they find during the expedition as well (even when birding groups aren’t that photography friendly, as birdwatching runs in a much faster pase and photographers are always consider a slowing threat for the listing expectations of the groups)…
Many people changed the scope for a lens and even most of the scopes brought, will have a camera mount adapter, for the famous and rising game of digiscoping
Today, photographing birds it’s a very big part of birding and a passion on the growth. Here in Thailand, you’ll be amazed with the quantity and the quality of gear you can find at a spot any given day… One time (all of us in blinds, trying for a frame of a Blue-and-White Flycatcher) I estimated about a hundred grand dispersed into big lenses, top DSLR cameras, the best tripods and heads and various accessories… just like that!
At Suang Laung Park -in Bangkok- an unusual flycatcher showed up -in migration- and during the few days it remained on this location -eating mealworms- you could count the blinds by dozens at all hours!
It’s precisely on bird-photography where my taste and joy are parked now. Having good quality shots of a few “hot” birds, has become more important than achieving many sights at the end of the day for me.
It is hard to explain the feeling of looking into the camera’s display and finding some winner images of a cool bird… It is “like christmas in july” and that is what I’m aiming to share in birdingblogs… that plentiful joy, reflected -as well- in the beauty and magic of the subjects captured in my bird-photo adventures around the world!
I find myself smiling alone very often in my blind… I get highs of beauty and satisfaction!
So, having established well how BIRD-PHOTOGRAPHY it is a complete and strong category by itself into the birding world, I would like to open this door for the thousands of bird-photographers to make themselves felt and let me know anytime what you mates would like me to feature on my thursdays’ posts.
I’ve planned talking and sharing the hotspots I have seen and the birds I got in them (with references on where and how I did), will surely feature lots of birds and their photo and every now and then, will introduce top and unique bird-photographers displaying their work and art.
Any suggestions on some bird, some site or someone you feel I should blog about?… please drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org – just write in subject: birdingblogs + your title
Every comment down here will be highly appreciated and will do my best to respond to all questions and inquires as soon as possible… If it take’s a me a few days to get back to you, I might be -HOPEFULLY- birding somewhere! =)
I also love to capture video-clips of my birds and might show you some from time to time… Hope you like them…
Top Photo: Common Green Magpie by Alex Vargas – 2011