Public Places to Photograph Birds : LUSENET : Bird Photography : One Thread

One of the most frustrating things as a bird photographer I have encountered is the inability to get close to the birds at certain locations. One example is the river side of Plum Island. While you are able to walk the beach (when the plovers aren't nesting anyway) you cannot get out in the pannes. Don't get me wrong, I agree the birds need the isolation from people. What I would like to know is where are those places that don't limit access?

-- Sean T Noonan (, May 01, 2001


Hi Sean, A direct solution for your Plum Island problem is to try the Nelson Island section of the refuge. It is accessed from Stackyard Road in Rowley. The main path at the end of Stackyard Road goes right through the middle of pannes and there are plenty of opportunities for land birds there as well. An all-round beautiful spot.

There are parts of Belle Isle Marsh in east Boston where you can get very close to shorebirds in migration.

Another approach which I favor is to photograph in very public places where birds are acclimated to people. I've been able to get very close approaches. There are many beautiful flowering trees and shrubs which provide excellent settings. My favorites are the Boston Public Gardens (in spring and fall migration), and the Fenway Victory Gardens (near Fenway park). These places are best in the early morning when light is optimal and there are less people around to disturb your concentration. I've photographed successfully in the later afternoon as well. I've never had a problem safety-wise. If you're uncomfortable being alone in the city parks try bringing a friend along.

-- Andrew Joslin (, May 02, 2001.

Greetings from Gloucester!

Sean had asked for more info on the Marblehead neck Sanctuary. I assume this is the forum he wanted the answer in.

The Marblehead Neck Sanctuary is an intimate little woods / swamp / ponds that is well known for attracting warblers in the Spring (right now!) I like to set up at the main (front) pond and wait for something good to come along. I rarely have to wait long. With the Spring migration on this little place can get quite crowded with birdwatchers and schoolchildren. It is best to arrive in the morning for both the light and the warblers. As a scope shooter I find the light around the pond most condusive to good photography. The "edge" habitat provides an opportunity to see and shoot a good cross section of birds, reptile, amphibians etc. Those with more agile equipment may want to go chasing the waves of warblers throughout the park. Light conditions can vary widely in each ten yards of trail from the open pond areas to dense evergreen cover so be prepared to adapt to different conditions if you want to go that route. The "Back" pond is a hotspot for gnatcatchers, kinglets and the occasional American Bittern. The "front" pond has been stocked with large Goldfish which are easy targets for Egrets and Herons. This week I captured (digitally speaking)a Green Heron and a Black-crowned Night Heron there. Worst kept secret: a short distance after entering the park you will encounter a display board; go around to the back of the board and you will find a logbook hanging there that local birders use to update each other on what is being seen in the park. For more info on Marblehead Neck Sanctuary see:


Jim Barber Gloucester, Massachusetts 42 38 57 N 70 40 26 W "I am but mad north north-west, when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" Hamlet (Act 2 Scene 2)

-- Jim Barber (, May 05, 2001.

Central Park in Manhattan is a great spot for photographing birds. Warblers, perching birds, and woodpeckers are plentiful in The Ramble. The Great Egrets return most summers. I've seen the black-crowned night herons and green herons in the marshy areas around the lagoon, and the Mute Swans have cygnets. Also lots of mallards, and there were wood ducks a few weeks back. Double-crested cormorants a-plenty. Ring-billed gulls wander in from the Hudson. The whole city seems to follow the soap-opera of the red-tailed hawks on Fifth Avenue around 74th St.

I like to go early in the morning or in the evenings on weekdays when I can. Weekends are fine until about 10 a.m., but it can get pretty crowded in the summer after that.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 12, 2001.

their is less limitation to access to birds in Tucson Arizona, Cape May New Jersey, Marathon Florida, and Laguna Beach California. See ny website @ to see what I mean

-- marvin d goldfarb (, February 10, 2003.

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