Jun 9, 2015

Chasing Longtails - Coopers Island Nature Reserve

Last week I was out by Clearwater beach, an area that I normally avoid as I find it kinda boring and tourist orientated, but I noticed that Coopers Island is now open as a nature reserve.  This spot, until a few years ago, was not open to public access. During WWII the Americans had gun batteries in place and the spot later became a NASA tracking site. Once the US military and government left the island the land was returned to Bermuda but as I understand it, a rather extensive environmental cleanup had to take place before it was reopened to the public. Many of the old buildings have been torn down and extensive work has gone into returning the land to Bermuda nature.  

Today I decided to go back and explore this new reserve.  Very pleased with the place and I didn't tour the entire thing, that will be another day. I could see the turtles and parrot fish in the bay, the Longtails were playing overhead and I couldn't even begin to identify all the Bermuda fauna that is in the area. Worth a visit if your visiting the island.

Looking across at St David's Lighthouse from Coopers Island.

Despite the overgrowth of vegetation and cob webs infesting the area, I decided to climb this staircase, I'm glad I did as I soon found a Bermuda Longtail haven.  I later discovered that there was a road just to the side that I could have walked up. lol

Looking down on one of the beaches.  You could see the ocean turtles moving around in the bay, pretty cool.

Looking out over Castle Harbour, from an angle I have rarely experienced.

Meet the majestic Bermuda Longtail

This is where I got concerned.   Since switching to mirrorless (Fuji) I have not had to worry about the slower autofocus as I primarily shoot landscapes.   Longtails are very darty and cagey birds and don't come very close.   I put my 55-200mm lens on, opened my focal area as wide as I could, turned off raw and put the camera on continuous low shooting.   Ran around an F9 and hoped for the best.

I did delete a lot of images, and I definitely had to get aggressive cropping in Lightroom but the Fuji X-T1 and the XF 55-200mm preformed.   I can't complain.  Was it as zippy as an SLR, nope, but I still got the shots.   Be nice to have a longer lens, but I know Fuji has something in the works for next year.   I do find it ironic that there is a major Fuji firmware upgrade coming to speed up the AF just a few days after I leave the island.  lol.  Next time.

One of my favourite shots on the day.

This is "the one I missed".  This would have been the shot of the day if only it were in focus.  argh.

Where no boats go.  If their skipper has a brain.

A pano looking at Coopers Island from an observation post. Be sure to click for a larger version.

A picture of the plaque that shows the history of the island.  There is also some good information over here - http://www.conservation.bm/coopers-island/

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