Elegance Personified in Courting Western Grebe Pair Image « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Elegance Personified in Courting Western Grebe Pair Image

What’s Up?

First off, huge thanks to Rick Buckheit. I do not believe that I had ever met Rick prior to the moment he approached me before the first B&H Event Space program and handed me a a quality black “Brooklyn in My Bones” t-shirt. As a gift. Just because. I will wear it with pride until it gets all stained up like every other t-shirt that I own 🙂 Then I will keep wearing it…

I tried a new acupuncturist recommended by Dr. Dan Holland. Bert Gordy of Bayshore Long Island. He does myofascial acupuncture and he really lit me up a few times. But my shoulders and left knee were feeling really good by Saturday night. I see Bert again on Monday and Dr. Dan on Tuesday. All I need to do now is stop eating so much. I fly home early on Friday morning.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 276 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

Used Gear Sales Continue to be Brisk

  • Multiple IPT veteran Bill Lloyd sold his Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II USM lens in mint condition for $5,999 in mid-August.
  • Eric Karl sold his Canon 7D Mark II camera in like-new condition with the BG-E16 battery grip for $1,099 in mid-August.
  • Tom Mast sold his Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $625 in late July.
  • Henry Raymundo sold his Gitzo 1325 tripod and a Wimberley V-2 head both in very good plus condition for the very low price of $699 and two used Canon 100-400mm IS L Zoom lenses, one in excellent condition for $599, the other in very good plus condition for $549–all in late July.
  • Jonathan Ward sold his Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $2,000 CAD in early July.
  • Long ago multiple IPT veteran Charles McRae sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS lens in good to very good condition in early July for a record low $4,199.
  • Jeffrey Fredberg sold his EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM L series lens in like-new condition for the record-low BAA price of $749 in late June.
  • Jim Burns sold his Canon 200-400mm F/4L IS zoom lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in brand new condition for the insane BAA record-low price of $8499 in late June.
  • Moody McCall sold his Canon 300mm F/2.8L IS II in excellent condition for $4199 in mid-June.
  • Long-ago IPT veteran Charles Sleicher sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $3400 in mid-June.
  • Top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III in absolute mint condition for $1599 in mid-June.
  • KW McCulloch sold his Canon EOS-1D X in excellent condition for $2459 in mid-June.
  • Top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the old five) in very good plus condition for a BAA record low price of $3699 in mid-June.

New Listings

Canon EOS-5D Mark III

Multiple IPT-veteran Mike Goldhamer is offering a Canon EOS-5D Mark III in excellent plus condition for $1550. The sale includes two batteries, the Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip, a new camera strap,the front cap, the manual, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mike via e-mail or by phone at 1-619-888-6183.

I owned and used this superb, full frame, 22mp digital body for several years. I used it a lot for birds and it was always my first choice for scenic, Urbex, and flower photography until I fell in love with the 5DS R (for a lot more money!). artie

Vortex Razor 85mm Ultra High Definition Scope

Doug Rogers is offering a Vortex Razor 85mm Ultra High Definition Scope in like-new condition for $795.00. The sale includes the 20 – 60X eyepiece, the front lens cover, the carrying case, the rear lens cap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to continental US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Doug via e-mail or by phone at 1-434-409-8156 (eastern time).

In the late 70s and early 80s and really into shorebirding a good scope like this one was worth its weight in gold. This scope lists for $2,000 but can be had for $1,599.99. This makes Doug’s scope a great buy.

Note: The Razor HD spotting scope from Vortex features a sophisticated apochromatic lens system that utilizes extra-low dispersion High definition glass and results in a virtually chromatic abrasion-free optic. With the dual focus feature you can rapidly focus with the course focus and dial in with the fine adjustments. The compact die-cast magnesium body is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed for weatherproof unit under nearly any conditions. You can rest assured that your investment is protected by the ArmorTek lens coating that helps alleviate wear and tear on the lens system from scratches, oil and dust. The Razor HD is the pinnacle of a precision optical unit and comes with a custom view through case and rotating tripod mount.


This image was created at a lake north of San Diego with the with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8. Cloudy WB.

One AF point up and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best with moving subjects). Click on the image to see a larger version.

Western Grebe pair courting

Elegance Personified in Courting Western Grebe Pair Image

Clark’s Grebes are fully white above the eye with white lores. Western Grebes (in breeding plumage) have black lores and the black cap goes a bit below the eye. Clark’s Grebe has an orange bill while the bills of Western Grebe are yellowish/greenish with some gray. The bills of these two birds are clearly Western Grebe-type.I am unsure as to whether the bird on our right is a Clark’s X Western hybrid… If anyone knows for sure, please do share. When I get home I will try to remember to check my hard copy of BONA (Birds of North America) and get back to y’all.


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2017 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 11 thru and including the morning session on JAN 15: 4 1/2 days: $1999.

(Limit: 10/openings 8)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Tuesday 1/10/17.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well.

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

3 comments to Elegance Personified in Courting Western Grebe Pair Image

  • avatar Brian E. Small


    Your right hand grebe has all the markings of a typical Western in January-February in SoCal. It probably isn’t in “peak” breeding plumage where the black around the eye is more prominent. But Clark’s would look nothing like this bird……….they almost always show a diminished amount of black on the sides and flanks, a more orangy-yellow bill and more defined white around and above the eye. Yes, there certainly are many hybrids of these two species and both species nest on this lake as you know. But this bird doesn’t strike me as a hybrid………..just no strong indication of any Clark’s blood IMHO.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Brian, You are surely more familiar with these two species than this easterner.


  • Beautiful and unusual birds. Looks like they just landed from another red-eye flight…