On November 4th, 2023, John Felton led Hoffmann Bird Club’s first shared learning experience for photographers, focusing on waterfowl. As our club has a growing community of birders in the Berkshires who also enjoy taking photos of birds, the primary goal of this trip was to photograph birds, something there isn’t always ample time for when birdwatching with a group. This trip was not meant to be student-teacher but to discuss and share ideas and techniques to mutually improve our photography.
Our group’s original plan was to bird Laurel Lake in Lee and Stockbridge Bowl in Lenox, but due to the low number of birds observed in the days leading up to the trip, we changed course to spend time at the northeast inlet of Pontoosuc Lake.
Even though the weather was relatively temperate for a November morning, unfortunately, the birds were less cooperative. That morning, the waterfowl population on the lakes was sparse, and we could not see many birds up close. However, it was still wonderful to be outside birding and in the company of others.
At Pontoosuc Lake, we observed the usual Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, and a handful of Common and Hooded Mergansers. We later explored the Dan Casey Memorial Drive at Onota Lake. Again, the lake was pretty quiet, but we did observe a Double-crested Cormorant, a Great Blue Heron in a tree, and a group of approximately 40 Hooded Mergansers.
Despite having few subjects to choose from, some were able to make lemonade out of lemons. Below, you can see a handful of captures from the morning. We hope to offer more of these shared learning experiences in the future!