Monday, February 22, 2010

Watching Birds in Las Cruces

That nice Beez gave me a tiny little Flip video camcorder for Christmas. Since it is much smaller than my regular camera, about the size of a cell phone, I brought it along Saturday morning when we went on a guided bird walk down at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Starting our walk along the Picacho Drain (a hundred-year old irrigation ditch), we moved through meadows to a man-made mitigation wetland,* then along the Rio Grande.

The bird activity is picking up at the Bosque. The weather is warming and that helps the birds (and us). Last time we were there, about a month ago, it was very cold, damp, muddy, and windy; and bird activity was minimal. This time we saw or heard Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Say's Phoebes, Bewick's Wrens, a Northern Flicker, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Cooper's and Sharp Shinned Hawks, Northern Harriers, a Great Blue Heron, White-Winged Doves, Crissal Thrashers, Western Meadowlarks, Shovelers (ducks), Mallards, Mexican Mallards (considered a subspecies of the Mallard), American Pipits, Least Sandpipers, a Red-Tailed Hawk, and American Coots. There were also some gulls--always a surprising sight so far inland--but we can't remember their names. Phew! Thank you, Auntie Bucksnort, for helping me with this list, which I would never have remembered on my own.

I understand that the park's bird list has reached 175 species. The ranger told us that many raptors would be arriving in March, and that May is the big month for warblers.

Now, grab some popcorn (you'll have to eat it quickly) and sit back to watch my very first try at movie editing with this camera and a new MacBook laptop. I'm afraid you are going to be guinea pigs for my movie experiments for a while. It's not that easy, making a video the first time with unfamiliar equipment and software. This very brief one--45 seconds long--took hours to edit from my several minutes of raw footage, giving me a renewed appreciation for professional film editors.

That's our own Auntie Bucksnort wielding the binoculars, by the way.

Next time I'll remember to turn off the camera before swinging it toward the ground, or at least to make sure I edit out that part so you won't get seasick. Tricky stuff, this high-tech business.


video


*****
*"Wetland mitigation is the replacing of wetland areas destroyed or impacted by proposed land disturbances with artificially created wetland areas." See Answers.com discussion of wetlands for the source of this quote and for more information.

At the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, wetlands were reconstructed along the old Rio Grande flood plains to replace the wetland areas that were removed during the construction of the visitor center.

8 comments:

The Fabulous Penguin said...

WTG Clairz! Glad to see the "moving pictures", made me feel like I was there! Now do you think you could point that thing at a couple of chile cheeseburgers, chile cheese fries and some beers, just for old times sake? Also remember that it may be illegal to operate that thing under the influence! Miss you guys...

the7msn said...

Bravo! I've got my eye on one of those Flip things. Thanks for testing it out for me.

I've found the secret to imovie editing is to do alot of it, otherwise I have to reteach myself every time I try to work with it.

Kate said...

You did a GREAT job, and I enjoyed your comment about the entire process. You sound as though you are true birders! If you haven't read "Lifelist: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds," by Olivia Gentile, you should because it's a fascinating read about a remarkable woman.

clairz said...

Peng, it's a terrible thing you are asking of us. Now we have to go out and eat GCCBs and drink beer, while filming the process. It's going to be tough...

Linda, I found that keeping the iMovie online how-to videos open and minimized as I tried out each new step was a big help. Watch a little how-to, try out a new process.

The Flip microphone picks up gulping, swallowing, and nose-sniffing with frightening accuracy. I had to edit a lot of that out. Now I kind of hold my breath while taking movies, which only works for short bursts of filming.

Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

Bravo, Princess Bluebird!!!

clairz said...

Kate, we are birders in spirit, I guess, but not so much in knowledge. We are learning, though!

CE Webster said...

Good start with the new video. A couple of months ago I did a short video and I figured that if it took me the same amount of time a 2hour movie would take 4 years to complete!

Mary Hulser said...

This made me homesick for my new found southwest home.........