the use of digital cameras in new birding locations

Subject: the use of digital cameras in new birding locations
From: Ben Bright <>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 19:14:42 +1000 (EST)
I just returned from a trip overseas which took me to Dubai in the United Arab 
Emirates, Malindi and Tsavo National Park in Kenya and a day in Singapore on 
the way home.  Although the trip wasn't strictly a birding holiday, I did 
secure local field guides and identified as much as I could where ever I was.  
One thing I learned quickly about birding in a strange country full of 
unfamiliar birds or even familiar families of birds, only many more species, 
was the usefulness of my digital camera.  In many instances I would see a bird, 
easily identify it as say a sunbird for instance, admire its general 
colouration etc, then TAKE A QUICK PICTURE, even if it isn't a great shot.  I 
could then look through the field guide and get close to a positive 
identification and so often the digital image on my camera was good enough to 
distinguish certain features to enable a positive ID.  After going through my 
holiday photos a few days after returning home, I have added another dozen or so
 species to my list, purely due to birds appearing in the foreground / 
background of some shots and in one instance a picture of  Supurb starlings 
(Lamprotornis superbus) feeding on flying ants at a disturbed nest there was 
also present Fischer's Starlings (Spreo fischeri).  At the time I assumed the 
drab gey and white birds to be females of the strikingly coloured supurbs, but 
later after reading further in the book, and comparing with the photos, a new 
species could be added.
  There is no doubt that the digital technology helped me along in a foreign 
land and can prove quite useful at home.  I'd like to make a point that many of 
my photos aren't great at all, and some of the very useful ones are quite 
blurry, but if they show even just one distinguishing feature then it is an aid 
to identification.

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