Mountain Plovers – Technology today is amazing

/, Birds, Davis County, Mountain Plovers, Utah/Mountain Plovers – Technology today is amazing

Male Mountain PloverMale Mountain Plover – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Seven days shy of a year ago I found two rare Mountain Plovers in the White Rock Bay area of Antelope Island State Park and lately I have been hoping to see them again.

The last couple of trips to the island have made me think of how various technologies used for birding and bird photography have advanced in the last twenty five years. Twenty five years ago anyone finding a rarity would have had to drive to the nearest phone to make a report to other birders and today we can use our cells phones to call or text a single person or email every one who is signed up on a bird listserv immediately to notify them of a rarity while we keep the birds in sight. Within minutes people can be on the road moving towards the reported rare birds and they can easily stay in touch with people while they are on the road. Today you can place a pin on a map on Google and people can have their phones talk them through getting to those exact coordinates.

Twenty five years ago there wouldn’t have been the bird listservs that we have today on the internet where birders can instantly “chat” about rare or even common birds instead they had meetings and phone trees set up for getting in touch with other birders when rare birds were spotted. I might not even have been on that list because I am a bird photographer not a birder.

Quite a few local birders and bird photographers were able to see and photograph the Mountain Plovers on Antelope Island because of messages sent to them then by hitting the “send” button on a phone.

Not sure about a bird’s ID? We can search the internet rapidly or use apps to help with the ID. Want to hear the call of the bird? There are apps for that too. We can pinpoint hot spot locations for certain species by using eBird.

Female Mountain PloverFemale Mountain Plover – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

We can take photos with our smart phones and instantly share them on social media with the entire world instead of impatiently waiting days & days for film to be developed. Photos of rarities can be viewed almost instantaneously across the internet and before you even leave the birds experts can weigh in on the identity.

I know that last year if I had been using a film SLR camera I wouldn’t have taken as many images of the two Mountain Plovers as I did because of the cost of film and developing. Today we use digital cameras and can instantly see the results on the camera’s LCD screen where we can see if our exposure and sharpness are correct and if not make adjustments and photograph them again. We can take hundreds or thousands of images and not even think about the cost of film or developing and even though we might kick our own butts for the bad images we can immediately take better ones.  Our cameras have small computers that “talk” to the lenses and some DSLR’s can wirelessly send the images to our smart phones for uploading to the internet.

Yes, compared to 25 years ago the technology used for birding and bird photography today is simply amazing.



  1. Eileen April 5, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Adorable birds and photos, Mia! Great post! Happy birding!

  2. Elephant's Child April 3, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Yes, the technology is incredible. But not as incredible as the birds.

  3. M. Bruce April 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the plover shots and story Mia. I’m in Hawaii now for several weeks where I always enjoy taking pictures of the amazing Pacific Golden Plover, or Kolea as the Hawaiians call them, which means “boastful”, apparently because of their stunning annual migration to Alaska. They are just now starting to show their breeding plumage and will soon be leaving the islands in mating pairs. Life is good!

  4. Stu April 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Great Photo and narrative Mia. I have long suspected that birds are using their own form of internet to secretly send updates to each other..

  5. Wally April 3, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Now, if I could just keep up with all this technology! Thank you for more brilliant images of the Mountain Plover, a bird I’m likely never to see in person.

    Great post, Mia!

  6. Jolanta April 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Beautiful bird! Awesome photo 🙂

  7. Montanagirl April 3, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Lovely Shots, Mia. Yes, technology is definitely mind-blowing these days.

  8. Dick Harlow April 3, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Ah, the Mountain Plovers are back – a great bird!!
    Yep, film development and printing costs always kept me diligent about how much and of what I shot, and I thought it was fun and enjoyable! But, now with digital it is even more fun, even have my own beast of a printer. Just think of what we could have done in the old days with the money we have spent today on all the photography stuff we have in our camera bags and office. Well, that could get depressing, sorry for bringing it up!! ‘G’
    Great shots Mia, love those plovers!!

  9. Bob Bushell April 3, 2014 at 5:50 am

    A Mountain Plover, well, I have not heard of it before. Superb photos Mia.

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