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Fall Color at Independence Marsh

Shorebirds in October

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6243w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/400 sec at f/5.6 (manual), push +1 1/3, ISO 640, tripod

Independence Marsh in Beaver County is one of my favorite local spots for bird photography, and October is my favorite time to be there with a camera. Aside from outstanding habitat and abundant birdlife, the place has a unique setup for photography in October, especially for waterbirds. The marsh (actually a mitigation wetland, one of the few that is actually successful at creating some semblance of a reasonable wetland, which was created in 1993 as a result of the expansion of the Pittsburgh International Airport) sits down in a small valley, with towering hillsides to the south and tall trees on the west and north. What makes the area special in fall is the combination of low water levels and the surrounding trees. The low water levels often attract shorebirds and puddle ducks, and in fall, the picturesque hillsides, laden with the oranges and yellows of fall, create massive reflections in the water. The upshot is that the patient photographer can photograph waterbirds against some truly eye-popping backgrounds.
 
A group of at least 12 Greater Yellowlegs happened to stop for a few days at the marsh this year just as the height of fall color was approaching. About 3 hours and some favorable sunlinght (all too uncommon this fall) resulted in these images.

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6268w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/320 sec at f/5.6 (Av +0), ISO 640, tripod

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6238w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/400 sec at f/5.6 (manual), "push" +1, ISO 640, tripod

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6070w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/1000 sec at f/7.1 (manual), ISO 320, tripod

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6126w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/640 sec at f/9 (manual), ISO 320, tripod

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6189w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/640 sec at f/5.6 (manual), ISO 320, tripod

yellowlegs_greater_indmshpa_20091018_50d1_6221w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/320 sec at f/5.6 (manual), ISO 320, tripod

There were also two Dunlin present the day I was at the marsh, not a rare bird but unusual for Independence and always a treat to see well in Beaver County. One of them eventually found its way into the best of the backgrounds...

dunlin_indmshpa_20091019_50d1_6514w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/400 sec at f/5.6 (Av +1/3), ISO 500, tripod

dunlin_indmshpa_20091019_50d1_6451w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/1000 sec at f/7.1 (manual), ISO 320, tripod

dunlin_indmshpa_20091019_50d1_6389w.jpg
Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/640 sec at f/5.6 (Av +1/3), ISO 320, tripod

Unless explicitly indicated otherwise in the photo caption, all photos on this website were taken by and are 2003-2012 by Geoff Malosh. Unauthorized usage of these photographs for any purpose is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in using any photo for publication or if you are interested in purchasing a print, contact me at pomarine -AT- earthlink -DOT- net.