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Around the Bay

November 27th, 2005

Well, you can’t say I didn’t try. I got up at 6:00 in the morning and set out early. I went to Yatsu Higata in Chiba, doubled back to Sanbanze (I finally found the beach park which is considered the “real” Sanbanze site, after trying a few other locations this morning), then stopped off at Kasai Rinkai Park before heading home at about 2:00 in the afternoon, getting home by 3:00. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to show for it. Yatsu Higata had one species in the Sandpiper category I haven’t nailed down yet, but otherwise zilch, birding was poor there today. Sanbanze wasn’t great, either–the sun was behind the few interesting birds, and most of that location is for people with serious telescopic power–tons of birds, but all of them far off. There was a flock of Eurasian Coots, which I’d never seen before–I’d only seen them in twos or threes. But again, nothing new.

Only Kasai Rinkai had anything noteworthy, and that was not a new bird, but a good look at a familiar one: a Kingfisher that perched close this time. As usual, click for enlargements:




I was lucky with the focus for those shots, not to mention that the bird obliged well for posing. But even better, I got a great movie of the Kingfisher doing its thing: sitting on a branch, diving down, catching some food, eating, shaking off water, then flying off again. The movie was in full-size mode, 640 x 480 pixels and 30 frames per second. The focus wavers a bit, but stays sharp for most of the clip. It’s a 17-second movie, a 2.2 MB download. You must have the most recent version of Quicktime (version 7, free download) installed in order to see it. Click on this image to go to the movie:


The clicking and beeping you hear in the movie is the other birdwatchers excitedly but quietly photographing the scene. This was kind of special because the bird was no more than fifteen or twenty feet away, and feeding–not a common sight.

I know it might be a bit of a pain to have to download Quicktime 7 to see this movie, but I’m doing it this way because frankly I am very impressed with Apple’s new H.264 compression, intended for high-definition movies. The original movie, in AVI format (which has until now given some of the best compression) was almost 30 MB in size–but with the H.264 compression, as you can hopefully see, there was very little loss in image quality, but the compression got the file down to only 2.2 MB, less than 10% of the original file size. As I said, impressive.

In the next day or two, I’ll go back and post some other photos from today and last Wednesday.

Categories: Birdwatching, Uncategorized Tags: by
  1. ykw
    November 28th, 2005 at 15:34 | #1

    The movie had very good image quality. What kind of camera did this? Why can’t my canon Sd500 take movies like this? It does 640×480-30fps:


  2. Luis
    November 28th, 2005 at 15:41 | #2

    It’s the Canon S1-IS with 10x zoom with a Canon 1.6x Teleconverter for a total of 16x optical zoom. The movies are in 640 x 480, 30fps native saved as AVI.


    Also remember that it’s been thoroughly compressed; the original movie is sharper and has better contrast.

  3. ykw
    November 29th, 2005 at 02:52 | #3

    I think the canon s1-is is very similar to my canon sd500 on the electrical side, since they are the same manufacturer and were released at a similar time. Yet I think the lens on the s1-is much better (larger, image stabilization, more zoom). Perhaps if I place my sd500 on a tripod and use it outside I can get good quality movies.

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