Fish Crow in Flight

Recently I was at Grimsby harbour doing some general bird photography and was able to capture a selection of images of a fish crow in flight. My knowledge of bird species is fairly limited, and I was not familiar with this particular bird at all.

Fortunately another couple was in the area, with the husband acting as a bird spotter for his wife. Both seemed quite excited so I called out to them, asking what had attracted their interest. He pointed at one of the birds perched in a tree, saying it was a fish crow. Apparently it is quite difficult to make a visual determination between a fish crow and an American crow.

They moved on to photograph the fish crow before I could ask how they had made that determination. I did notice that the fish crows at the harbour would consistently land by the shoreline to forage.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 293 mm, efov 586 mm, f/8.5, 1/2500, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3607 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.2 metres

As regular readers will know, I enjoy capturing images of birds-in-flight more than perched birds. There were three individual fish crows at the harbour so I sat patiently waiting for opportunities to photograph a fish crow in flight.

Here are three photographs from the same image run of a fish crow in flight heading to perch up in a tree.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 235 mm, efov 470 mm, f/8.3, 1/2500, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, croped to 2837 pixels on the width, subject distance 27.3 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 235 mm, efov 470 mm, f/8.3, 1/2500, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2865 pixels on the width, subject distance 29.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 235 mm, efov 470 mm, f/8.3, 1/2500, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2793 pixels on the width, subject distance 28.7 metres

I used my Custom C1 setting for most of my photographs of a fish crow in flight. This setting combines Pro Capture L (@ 18 frames per second) with Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 175 mm, efov 350 mm, f/7.7, 1/1600, ISO-400, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, cropped to 3360 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.7 metres

I changed to Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking only, for one run of photographs of a fish crow in flight (see above). I saw this particular bird approaching from a distance and anticipated its flight path between a couple of trees. I knew I’d have very little time to get the bird in my viewfinder so I just fired away with Bird Detection AI as soon as I caught a fleeting glimpse of the bird between the trees. The captures were all belly shots.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 235 mm, efov 470 mm, f/8.3, 1/2000, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2815 pixels on the width, subject distance 34.4 metres

Many of the fish crow in flight photo ‘opportunities’ I had were obscurred by branches and foliage as the birds moved quickly from one perch to another. I used my Custom C1 setting a couple of times and did get some acceptable images.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 235 mm, efov 470 mm, f/8.3, 1/2000, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3378 pixels on the width, subject distance 34.4 metres

There were a few instances when the fish crows would fly across the narrow part of the harbour to do some foraging along the shoreline.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/2000, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3752 pixles on the width, subject distance 37.9 metres

I was able to capture one run of a fish crow in flight carrying some nesting material. During my time at the harbour I only observed this behaviour one time, so I was quite pleased to have captured it.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 195 mm, efov 390 mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4805 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.3 metres

Most of the time the fish crows kept their distance from gulls in the area. Whenever they got close to the gulls they were met with aggression. The final three images in this article are consecutive captures from my last image run of fish crows taken that day.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 175 mm, efov 350 mm, f/7.7, 1/2000, ISO-400, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2975 pixels on the width, subject distance 14.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 175 mm, efov 350 mm, f/7.7, 1/2000, ISO-400, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3106 pixels on the width, subject distance 13.9 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 175 mm, efov 350 mm, f/7.7, 1/2000, ISO-400, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2975 pixels on the width, subject distance 13.5 metres

It is always a special experience when I have the chance to learn a bit about a species with which I am not familiar… as well as capture a few photographs of the bird.

Grimsby harbour was very quiet in terms of bird population for a number of weeks. The past 7-10 days it has picked up a bit, so I’m hopeful I can get out with my camera over the next number of days.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted.

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