I took some Documenting Shots (remember the QSAR?) last week while visiting Holland, Michigan. As you recall a Documenting Shot isn’t about the quality of the image but about capturing enough of the field marks so an ID can be made later or can be used to document a record. Here are some pics with examples of Documenting Shots.
Walking along Stu Visser Trails in Holland, MI I spotted a Least Flycatcher above the trail. We were with Carl and Judi they couldn’t find it at first. Even though it was extremely backlit I took a shot of it for our eBird Checklist.
We spotted this bird up in the branches and just couldn’t figure out what it was. I took some Documenting Shots of it. After reviewing the pictures back at home we determined it was an immature Chipping Sparrow.
A couple of birders we had never met before joined us along the sidewalk running up to the Historic Ottawa Beach District. A small bird hopped back and forth across the sidewalk ahead of us and even though it was extremely poor lighting the other two birders agreed the bird was a Palm Warbler. I wasn’t so sure so I took a couple of Documenting Shots. Back home it turned out to be a Chipping Sparrow.
I saw a Northern Waterthrush fly up into a tree across the stream and called it out. Judi didn’t see it at first but instructed me to get pictures of it. I got a couple including this one. Why was it so important to get a picture of it? As Judi suspected this was the earliest date a Northern Waterthrush had ever been seen in Ottawa County. A record – and the Documenting Shots proved it!
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