This forum is for questions and general discussion in the field of bird photography and bird photography gear.
There is a certain level of luck in finding Black Scoters. The first one I saw was off the White Rock Pier and the last ones I saw were near the Pier, but close to shore by the train tracks (high tide of course). In between I've seen them at Point Roberts on several occasions. They do seem more evasive than other Scoters. I once watched an overly aggressive photographer standing at the waterline at Point Roberts, trying to get as close as possible to the Black Scoters which were intermingled with Surf Scoters and I enjoyed watching the BS move to the side of the Scoter raft that was furthest from the waterline. I returned to the location a half hour later when the aggressive photographer was gone and the BS were now the closest Scoters to the shoreline.

The swimmer I find the toughest to photograph is the Red-throated Loon. Again, seen off the WR Pier and also at Point Roberts. You need a LONG lens and luck. Also seen at the end of the South Jetty in Iona. They seem very wary. They dive and then don't appear to resurface. Just disappear. I suspect that they immediately fly off upon surfacing.

Other sea birds difficult to photograph are the Rhinoceros Auklets and various Murrelets and the Common Murre. I've only seen them when on shore, at Point Roberts.

I don't think that there is any special technique to photograph these birds. To improve your odds, you must look often and then have a camera with enough reach to bring them in close enough for photos. Spot focusing is necessary as well. Also I would not use autoexposure when trying to photograph black birds swimming on the ocean's surface.

Ahh, Point Roberts, I remember it fondly....
It does not matter if you have a super-zoom if it has a small sensor, poor quality lens, and/or you have to crop your images a lot.

You need to go out many times, get closer (whenever possible), maybe use a boat, and patience, patience, and more patience.

There are also the times of year when they are migrating either south or north when there are many more around. High tide time often brings them closer to shore. Luck also helps.


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