Apr 8, 2006

Coots

Coot. The name fits, I think. It's such an odd-looking bird, so the odd name suits. My friend Alice posted pictures and a video of the American coot on her website, so here's the European cousin: The black coot. In this photo, you see two in the water and one ashore with a mallard couple, taken at a stream near where I live. The Norwegian name is sothøne ("soot hen").

I really wish I had a camera with a good zoom lens for bird photography. Had I gotten closer, you could have better seen the striking white ridge on their beak, and the oversized, webby feet. They are very clownish on land because their bodies seem disproportioned, but are very graceful and quick in the water. Their call is a very sweet (IMO), single "flute" note, and if you listen carefully, you'll hear the American coot's call once on Alice's video (about 1/3 in).

In case you were wondering, the brown version of the bird, called sivhøne ("reed hen") in Norwegian, is called a moorhen in English. I saw one once at Ortuvann pond, but in recent years, it's the black coot that has become a permanent resident of the pond.

6 comments:

alice said...

Oooh! That's a wonderful picture! It's nice to have the side-by-side comparison of the size of the birds. (Is it just me or is the outline of the one ashore vaguely kiwi-like?)

I share your lens frustration. I'm working on saving up for a new camera, and a lens or two to go with it. I've missed many picture opportunities for lack of a really good zoom.

Keera said...

Kiwi-like is a very good way to describe their body shape.

My next camera will be a digital SLR, and likely a Nikon or Canon. It's got to be a camera I'd actually take with me on casual walks.

alice said...

I'm partial to the Nikon, but that's probably Paul Simon's fault. ;-)

Keera said...

Thanks. An earworm. :-) I grew up with Nikons. Grandpa had photography as a hobby, and there were times in my childhood when the bathroom was off limits because Grandpa was developing film. But there's something about the look and feel of today's Canons I like.

alice said...

My first real camera was a real classic: the Pentax. I loved that camera, and can't wait to work with a real SLR again. I haven't shopped at all yet, as I'm not near having the money together that I'll need and I don't want to put myself through the torture of shopping for something I want but can't have. But a friend has a Nikon SLR is is very pleased with it. Eventually I'll get out and feel their weight in my hands, but for now, I'll limit myself to the occasional swing through Digital Photography Review...

I do like the digital darkroom much better than the old fashioned kind -- I never did like the smell of all those chemicals.

Keera said...

I got to hold and try a Canon PowerShot S2 IS just before Christmas and was "saved" by having already purchased some major things. The price keeps going down every time I check at a Norwegian online store, currently NOK 2000 less than the initial store price. It's getting affordable! Question is if it's exactly what I want. I'll check out what dpreview.com has to say.

I don't remember the chemical smells. What I do remember is worth a blog of its own that'll be next. In the meantime, I need to take a walk, even if it's raining. Maybe especially then. :-)