Nice bird photos

June 18, 2012 • 1:18 pm

Reader Steve Wagner sent me a bunch of bird photos. I don’t know where they came from, but here are some of the best. (Click to enlarge.) Feel free to identify two of the non-obvious owls and the songbirds.

This town is somewhere in Cornwall, I suspect; perhaps a reader can identify it. At first I thought it was St. Ives, where I was on holiday when the Kitzmiller et al. decision came down, but St. Ives doesn’t have those huge cliffs next to the town.

40 thoughts on “Nice bird photos

  1. At first I assumed the town was in Kent somewhere, but a google search for “white cliff arches” points to Etretat in Normandy

    1. It’s also the case that that image is a composite. The sunlight on the bird is coming from the right side of the frame, whereas the sunlight on the cliffs is coming from the left side of the frame.

      Oh — and the clouds on the horizon are cut off by said horizon. There’re other, more subtle things going on, too, such as the relative sharpness of the bird and the background, the relative size of both, the apparent elevation of the bird, and so on.

      It’s a nice bit of artwork, but it’s not representational photography.


        1. It looks to me, from the shadow under the bird’s right wing, that the light is coming from around 1 o’ clock.

          But the photograph definitely looks shopped to me, nevertheless.

          1. But the photograph definitely looks shopped to me, nevertheless.

            Agreed about the shopping ; my red flag was the fairly obvious border around the wing where the bird was plucked from it’s original photo and dropped onto the grassy background. That mid-ground looks to be a separate layer too. Ben has spotted layers in the clouds.
            Interesting that different people’s “`shop sensors” go off for different things.

        2. Look closer.

          The shadow line under the bird’s right wing extends underneath the wing at a diagonal. If the bird had a unicorn-style horn, it’d be pointing right at the Sun; the Sun is behind and high above the photographer’s right shoulder.

          On the other hand, the shadow on the cliff runs from the upper left of the frame to the lower right. Also look at the shadows cast by the buildings in the middle of the frame. Here, the Sun is behind and high above the photographer’s left shoulder.



          1. It was the extravagant DoF that made it look artificial to me. The lightning angles seem to confirm it. I’m not wholly convinced by the last one either!

      1. Yes, per Ben: This is a total PS montage. Just the relative sharpness of the foreground bird versus the background is a dead giveaway as well as the light angles.

  2. I don’t know the first owl. The other birds are: Mute Swan, Blue Tit, Snowy Owl, Common Gull (= Mew Gull), possibly European Pygmy Owl but it looks a bit too pale, European Bee-eater.

  3. I’d say the first owl is a Great Grey, judging by the size, the shape of the facial disc, and the rings…

    1. BTW, there are what some may consider mildly NSFW images on that page. Apols for not pointing that our earlier.

  4. The pictures are making the rounds on the internet. A friend sent them to me. By the time they got to me their source was long lost. The one with the chalk cliffs nearby may be Dover[?]

  5. No caption contest?

    1) What. You lookin’ at me? Huh?

    2) Seat belts please!

    3) Now if I could just hold a glass of wine with my other foot…

    4) How did you know I play rugby?

    5) No cameras while flying, asshole!

    6) When this dude taps out, you’re next.

    7) Not too busy for a quick bite, are you?

  6. 1) Great Grey Owl
    2) Mute Swan and cygnets
    3) Blue Tit
    4) Snowy Owl
    5) (Black-legged) Kittiwake
    6) Pygmy Owl
    7) European Bee-eater

  7. The Blue Tit looks shopped to me as well. They don’t raise their foot, they dip their head … Hence why we find the picture arresting.

    1. It’s (statically) mechanically impossible anyway (foot/toes out of position for such forces). Dynamically, the bird just isn’t going to do that.

    2. So … there’s a support wire (for the cheese) that’s been ‘`shopped out? Or all those feather details have been blended effectively after assembling the rest of the bits of image?

  8. Isn’t a corollary of one of Azimov’s Laws (or something) that if you see a really unusual-looking photo on the internet(s) that, to a first order approximation, you can be certain it’s been Photoshopped?

    1. Not Asimov, I suspect. He died before the WWW was a major cultural phenomenon. Clarke maybe. Godwin perhaps.

  9. It is definitely not Cornwall. Nowhere in Cornwall has those white cliffs. Possibly it is somewhere along the Purbeck Coastline in Dorset.

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