08 August 2018

Bird watching in the Table Bay Nature Reserve, Woodbridge Island

Helmeted guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Peekaboo! Helmeted Guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
On a glorious and crisp morning I went on my routine short walkabout around the Table Bay Nature Reserve Diep river, Woodbridge Island.

Normally, I'm out looking out for birds in flight, but on this particular mid-morning most birds were settled in their feeding and 'doing-nothing' routine.

I was very pleased to see a few helmeted guineafowl jogging along, at times, precariously close to Otto du Plessis Drive (on-route to the Reserve).

Making my way through the Reserve, and highlight of my morning, was a close encounter with a nesting / perched pair of pied kingfishers. I was fortunate enough to capture at least one of them.

Towards the end of the gallery below are two birds in flight images captured of a Cape teal duck, Egyptian goose and Darter flying over the Diep river (flowing past the Table Bay Nature Reserve and the adjacent Milnerton Golf Course).

My 'Bird Species Index' around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Images by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Thoughts on my settings used for Birds in Flight / Perched Birds
Exposure settings (maily aperture and shutter speed)  will depend on birds in flight and / or perched birds. With so many birds flying up and down the Diep river, Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve area I rarely change my exposure settings. Shooting with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/4.5L USM lens since early 2015 I've tweaked my settings alike for fast and slower birds. One of the only settings I will change is the shutter speed (to support the lighting conditions).

For perched birds I generally use the same settings in good light conditions for providing a decent exposure. With enough time (and perhaps more so in less light) I may adjust from Manual to Av (Aperture Priority) Mode for decreasing shutter speed and ISO. What I do try and change is the AF Mode, but it is rarely achieved as my main focus is to keep things simple and to enjoy the outing (if setup for birds in flight).

I could also use the Full Frame 6D for perched birds, but prefer the reach of the Crop / APS-C body. Sitting, say for instance, in a hide for perched birds I will use a different combination of body / lens and settings, but in my local shooting environment I prefer one body / lens paring and one set of settings for both flying and perched birds.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Lens Settings
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Auto-ISO 400-1200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000s
  • AF: Large Zone (Case 1)
  • 10 fps / handheld
  • AF on
  • FL: 400mm (prime lens)

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

(Click to Enlarge)
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River / Woodbridge Island
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve (overlooking the Milnerton Golf Course)

Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 1 / 2
Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 1 / 2

Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 2 / 2
Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 2 / 2

Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

The Hadeda ibis was from a previous walk back from the Table Bay Nature Reserve. Quite tame and minding his own morning breakfast routine.

Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Small birds in the Table Bay Nature Reserve