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Geococcyx californianus [Greater Roadrunner]

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#1 Andrea B.

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 05:41

Blum, A.G. (2020) Geococcyx californianus Wagler, 1831 (Cuculidae) Greater Roadrunner. Bird photographed in ultraviolet, infrared and visible light. https://www.ultravio...ter-roadrunner/

Santa Fe County, New Mexico, USA
23 March 2020
Wild bird

Comment:
My guess is that this Roadrunner was hunting for lizards on the rock walls where they frequently hang out when the sun is warm. The bird remained very still stretching its neck and head occasionally to look around. It seemed to tolerate my presence, but I was careful to crouch down and move very slowly with the filter changes so as not to startle it.
The Roadrunner is the official state bird of New Mexico. It is a really big bird which can run more than 20 miles per hour. The lizards stayed hidden in the rocks, so the Roadrunner wandered away with a big, long strides into the grasses.
The Roadrunner's patterning is surprisingly similar in all three wavebands, visible, infrared and ultraviolet.

Reference:
1. Wikipedia (23 March 2020) Roadrunner. Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco, CA. https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Roadrunner
2. Sibley, David Allen (2003) Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. Greater Roadrunner, pg 232. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Equipment [Nikon D610-broadband + Nikon 105mm f/4.5 UV-Nikkor]

Visible Light [f/16 for 1/320" @ ISO-800 in Sunlight with Baader UVIR-Block Filter]
Attached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18961pnCrop01.jpg


Ultraviolet Light [f/8 for 1/20" @ ISO-800 in Sunlight with BaaderU UV-Pass Filter]
Attached Image: roadrunner_uvBaad_sun_20200323laSecuela_18918pnCrop01.jpg


Infrared Light [f/8 for 1/1600" @ ISO-800 in Sunlight with B+W 092 IR-Pass Filter]
Attached Image: roadrunner_ir092_sun_20200323laSecuela_18943pnCrop01.jpg




The photos were cropped in. Here is an uncropped version of the IR version to provide a better idea of the scale and surroundings.
Attached Image: roadrunner_ir092_sun_20200323laSecuela_18943pn.jpg
Andrea G. Blum
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#2 colinbm

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 07:02

That was good of the lil' birdie to stay still for you.... :smile:

#3 Andy Perrin

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 07:25

COOL. Now you need to get a coyote to pose for you.

#4 JMC

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 08:28

That's amazing. You must have been going "don't move, don't move, don't move" while changing the filters over.
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#5 dabateman

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 10:30

That looks geeat. So clearly we know that you are not a coyote, as it didn't run like the bejebess when it saw you.

In the UV, I am almost seeing a slight note of green. That I don't see in the others. Or I haven't slept enough.

#6 Bernard Foot

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 11:08

Well, I guess these shots are OK if you were in a hurry. But where are the tri-colour UV and IR versions in stereo, with a bit of focus stacking thrown in?

[Serously - I'm impressed.]
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#7 dabateman

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 12:04

She is still most likely configuring her remote drone setup with filter wheel to take shot out while safely inside.
You need that drone to rotate around the subject to get that UV reconstruction, so you could 3D print a model of it latter for your desk.
What we need are more 3D holograms.

Any other cool big words I can add here.
It would be fun to have a multi waveband drone fly around to take images for you on your land. Then you could stay safe inside.

If the roadrunner was running, could add for some interesting frozen bird on blurry background UV, if you could lock and match speed. That would be a super expensive fun project for birds in flight uv captures.


#8 nfoto

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 12:06

I did see a Road Runner once myself, in Death Valley (with Andrea), but as i only carried my IR-modified D200, well IR had to do. The bird came out with distinct plumage, though.

Attached Image: G1202285196_road_runner_IR.jpg

Nikon D200, AFS 28-300 lens.

A cheeky and strutting fellow, that one. I wonder whether this is the alternate sex - a male? (I have very little knowledge of birds apart from the obvious fact most have wings and can fly. Thus getting close-ups of them never is easy as they are on the wing almost immediately as you approach).

#9 Stefano

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 12:07

What were the odds of that bird staying still for all the time required to shoot 3 photos with 3 filters? Very nice set.

#10 GaryR

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 13:42

You must have been using some serious "Acme" gear, to sneak up on this little guy (or gal?).
Great captures!

#11 Andrea B.

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 16:18

We do have Wile E. Coyote around here occasionally. I've seen tracks in the snow and in the damp dirt. But I don't think they're in this area too often. If some of you all aren't familiar with the cartoon, read here: https://en.wikipedia...the_Road_Runner

I'm thinking that these rather large Roadrunners do not have many predators which can grab them? So they seem fearless and not particularly afraid of humans the times I've seen them in New Mexico, California and Arizona. Birna can attest that the Roadrunner we saw in Death Valley was striding across the grounds of one of the national park hotels which is not exactly an unpopulated area. "-)

Possibly a big hawk or a bobcat (or mountain lion) could capture a Roadrunner. But these birds run *really* fast. I read in my Sibley bird field guide (added this reference in the first post) that two Roadrunners can team up and capture a rattlesnake. One bird distracts the snake and the other sneaks up and pins its head to the ground. So that's a bit more evidence that the Roadrunner is a bold fellow.

As mentioned, when I spotted it as I was sitting in my driveway trying to photograph lizards, I stayed quite still. The Roadrunner itself also was quite still between its few changes of position. So it really was not too hard to photograph it. But luck *always* plays a role, I'm sure !!!

Note 1: The male and female Roadrunners are the same. When the head crest is raised, a red patch can be seen behind the eye and a small bluish area over the eye. My visible photo does not show the color patches because birdie's crest was not raised.

Note 2: In the UV photograph, that is not green so much as it is a very dark yellow green. I boosted the yellow saturation a bit in that photo. I never really know how much saturation we should permit ourselves in false colour UV photographs? But I wanted to bring out the typical yellow sky area. I've mentioned before (somewhere) that UV landscape photos at a moderate distance exhibit that dark greenish yellow foliage that you might not otherwise see in very close work. I'm not sure why this happens except that UV is shortwave and some might be scattered from reaching the camera when shooting at a moderate distance similar to the UV haze/softening you see when shooting at a very long distance. Comments welcome, as always, on that theory.

I'll work on capturing that tri-colour focus-stacked version!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Andrea G. Blum
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#12 Stefano

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 16:46

View PostAndrea B., on 24 March 2020 - 16:18, said:

Note 2: In the UV photograph, that is not green so much as it is a very dark yellow green. I boosted the yellow saturation a bit in that photo. I never really know how much saturation we should permit ourselves in false colour UV photographs? But I wanted to bring out the typical yellow sky area. I've mentioned before (somewhere) that UV landscape photos at a moderate distance exhibit that dark greenish yellow foliage that you might not otherwise see in very close work. I'm not sure why this happens except that UV is shortwave and some might be scattered from reaching the camera when shooting at a moderate distance similar to the UV haze/softening you see when shooting at a very long distance. Comments welcome, as always, on that theory.

I'll work on capturing that tri-colour focus-stacked version!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
My theory is also that “yellow UV” is scattered more than “blue UV”. Remember that Rayleigh scattering is inversely proportional to the FOURTH power of the wavelength, so it increases very quickly going down with the nanometers.

#13 Andrea B.

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 16:49

What I should do I think.....is to photograph a juniper (the shrub shown in the Roadrunner photos) up close and then at at 5-10 foot intervals. Then we could see how the false colour changes (if it does indeed change).
Andrea G. Blum
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#14 Andrea B.

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 17:36

Oh hi !!!

Can you spot the birdie? :lol: Their camo works quite well at a distance.

This is the first shot I made when I spotted the Roadrunner.
Attached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18777pn.jpg
Andrea G. Blum
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#15 Andrea B.

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 17:41

Just lookin' around.

Very elastic neck.
Attached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18862.jpgAttached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18865.jpg
Attached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18871.jpgAttached Image: roadrunner_vis_sun_20200323laSecuela_18874.jpg
Andrea G. Blum
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#16 Andy Perrin

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 18:26

View PostStefano, on 24 March 2020 - 16:46, said:

My theory is also that “yellow UV” is scattered more than “blue UV”. Remember that Rayleigh scattering is inversely proportional to the FOURTH power of the wavelength, so it increases very quickly going down with the nanometers.
Yeah, I agree with this.

#17 Mark

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 23:41

@Andrea: Excellent set of images! It's interesting to see the cryptic aspect of the bird's plumage extends at least beyond the range of human vision; and for good reason I'm sure.

#18 Cadmium

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 01:30

Andrea, Nice photos! :-) So do they really make "meep meep" sounds?
https://youtu.be/Ay70ALo4UIs

#19 Andrea B.

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 18:58

I didn't know until I looked up the Roadrunner in my field guide that it is a kind of Cuckoo. So it makes a coo-ing sound: "song a slow descending series of about six resonant low coos". (See Sibley reference #2 in 1st post.)

The one I photographed, however, looked to me like it could "meep" !! :grin:
Andrea G. Blum
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