Stalking the Jaegers

Week 1 in Churchill, Manitoba we had seen a pair of Parasitic Jaegers (Stercorarius parasiticus), on one of the areas of Tundra marsh from a distance, while driving by looking for suitable bird shoots.  Week 2 and one of the objectives I set myself, was to get some good shots of these birds.  So with Louise acting as my “spotter”, with the binoculars around her neck, and myself with my tripod, gimbal head, D4, 600mm f/4 VRII, TC-17E II, we commenced our “stalk”. The gradual and very patient movement towards the targets took over half an hour.  Louise keeping an eye on the targets and continually scanning for other interesting birds; myself carefully lifting the tripod and camera vertically a few inches (because vertical movement flushes the birds more than about anything) and inching forward through the bog.  I try to look where my foot is about to go down, using vegetation as “safe footing” wherever possible, but sometimes the mud under about three inches of water just sucks me in up to my knee.  Then of course I am glad my hip boots are secured on my belt because the mud just doesn’t want to let go when you try to move that leg next time.

Early in the stalk I was sneaking up on a pair of Parasitic jaegers…..


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Then the male displayed a little before he flushed……


but the female remained resolute …..

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but not on a nest as I later discovered.  When she flew off I had been convinced that she had been on a nest, but there was nothing!

Gear: D4, 600mm f/4 VRII, RRS Tripod & Gimbal head; Lexar digital film, Cabellas hip boots.

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