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FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021

- BOATING -
For a limited time, purchasers of Cobra Electronics’ fixed-mount and handheld marine radio products will receive a complimentary one-year Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) basic membership, giving purchasers access to a range of more than 25 additional BoatUS benefits.
- COMPETITION -
Resuming its annual travel competition schedule, the Civilian Marksmanship Program made the journey to North Carolina to greet an enthusiastic audience of over 420 competitors at the 2021 Eastern CMP Games and Highpower Rifle Matches.
Team Krieghoff members posted podium finishes in every event at the 2021 NSSA Skeet Masters. The 2021 NSSA Skeet Masters drew over 350 skeet shooters from across the country.
Taurus Team Captain Jessie Harrison, one of the world’s top-ranked professional shooters, took the Ladies Open Champion, High Overall Lady title at the 2021 WSSC competition.
Atlanta Arms congratulates KC Eusebio who claimed First Place Overall, First Place Open Champion, and First Place Rimfire Optics Champion Champion at the 2021 World Speed Shooting Championship in Talledega, Alabama. KC shoots Atlanta Arms’ 9 mm 100 grain Elite Steel Challenge ammunition.

As Gerald Swindle contemplates northeast Alabama’s spring weather patterns, he’s expecting a familiar tune with a couple of different notes at the Berkley Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.
- FISHERIES -
At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) listened to a presentation and stakeholder input on goliath grouper in Florida state waters.
Drought impacts many things, including fish and wildlife species. If you are planning some fishing trips this summer, there are a few things to consider before you head out.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will make changes to snook, redfish and spotted seatrout management in the area of southwest Florida where they are currently catch-and-release only.

- FISHING TOURNAMENTS -
Tommy Hill and Bubba Frazier weighed 22.91 pounds to win the first of back-to-back Texas Team Trail presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s (TXTT) events, May 7 on Lake Sam Rayburn.
- GEAR -
The Plano® Weekend Series Softsider was developed for the angler that wants to stay compact, organized and ready to swap out tackle in a soft-sided bag. The Weekend Series Softsider tackle bags offer diversity and plenty of extras for storage in three sizes.
- HUNTING -
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says hunters who took a bear in the 2020 bear hunting seasons can now look up the age of their bear on the department’s website, www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
- INDUSTRY -
Hoppe’s is, for the third consecutive year, the Official Gun Cleaning Product of the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).

- JOBS -
Kinsey’s is seeking a Production Manager. The primary objective of the Production Manager is to create and direct a unified production process for Kinsey’s, including arrow manufacturing, consumer brands, OEM and handgun processing for distribution.
Kinsey’s is seeking an Ecommerce Sales Manager to maintain customer satisfaction and increase Ecommerce sales by training and leading a team to meet short and long-term objectives and maintaining all online platforms.
Kinsey’s is seeking a Sales Representative to be responsible for handling the day-to-day communications with sales accounts.
- NEW PRODUCTS -
Bond Arms designed the "Protect the 2nd Amendment" handgun as a testament to the right to bear arms. Bond Arms joins the fight to protect the 2A with a distinctive model—the PT2A.

Based on a 20D 380T nylon shell and efficient 600 Fill Power hydrophobic down fill, the new Pinnacle Quilt is engineered to more comfortably accommodate diverse sleeping positions while ensuring optimal heat retention and ventilation options.
- ORGANIZATIONS -
May 14th is a monumental day in conservation. On this date in 1984, four elk hunters in northwest Montana officially founded the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, the leading bonefish and tarpon conservation organization in the United States, announce a formal partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding.
The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports is pleased to welcome Taniya Bethke as the new Director of Operations.

This week the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced their Animal Welfare Action Plan containing new proposals that threaten how, when, and where Britons can legally hunt. Safari Club International strongly opposes those proposals as “unsupported by scientific evidence and will harm wildlife conservation efforts in and outside of the U.K."
- RADIO -
This week, Outdoors Radio features charter captain “Dumper Dan Welsch, book author Barry Dalberto and pro angler Duffy Kopf.
This weekend America Outdoors Radio features big fish stories from Tennessee and Pennsylvania as well as a conversation with Hank Shaw, the author of a great new cook book called "Fish, Line and Supper" that is full of great wild seafood recipes.
It’s the latest on the NRA’s bankruptcy case, gun rights advocates from the other side of the aisle, examining the higher-than-normal numbers of law enforcement officers leaving the profession, a preemption law in Florida, and more, this week on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk® Radio

- RECREATION -
Indiana's Patoka Lake is hosting a kayak tour with the interpretive naturalist on Saturday, June 12 at 9 a.m. at the Little Patoka Boat Ramp.
- RETAIL -
Well-made stands designed for ruggedness, safety and comfort are not only desirable, they’re necessary for success when hunting big mature bucks. The Millennium M25 and M50 Hang-On treestands rise above the competition. No other stand on the market allows hunters to sit longer, move quieter or climb more safely than the Millennium Treestand line – all at an affordable price.
Primary Arms Online now carries new products from Velocity Systems, including bags, pouches, belts, and more. Velocity Systems products are also available through Primary Arms Government for professional customers.
Send your tyke off on his or her next great adventure on top of the Dynacraft Realtree 6V Battery-Powered Ride-On.

Chestnut Hill Outdoors' trees are on the way to select Rural King and Walmart stores. Arrival is expected between May 5th and May 17th for Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
- SPONSORSHIPS -
The Boone and Crockett Club announced today that Federal Ammunition will be supporting the Club’s Poach & Pay project as a three-year sponsor and Trailblazer in Conservation.
- STATES -
Whether you plan to get in some early-season camping, hit the trail on an ORV or clean up dead wood around your property, keep in mind that fire danger is high in many parts of Michigan this weekend.
The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission is seeking additional applicants for the Madison River Work Group. The general application period closed April 23, however more applications are needed from people with Madison Valley business interests. The application deadline for these positions will be extended to May 26.

- TELEVISION -
Host Mark Zona will fish with the very best anglers on the planet to catch anything with fins on Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show airing on Outdoor Channel on Sundays at 9 a.m. ET.
The waters are calling on World Fishing Network with the Reel World Saturday block of programming beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
 

The week before I left for my latest trip to Texas I was surprised to receive an invitation from Tamron to try one of their lenses. The timing was great considering I had just been introduced to an intriguing Tamron lens by 3 different photographers at High Island. It was the Tamron 150-to-600mm zoom lens. What intrigued me most was that the 600mm end of the zoom could be hand held under good lighting conditions – partly due to a Vibration Compensation feature built into the lens. I’ve always believed that a 400mm lens is the realistic limit to hand holding a lens, with larger lenses requiring a tripod; but when you have the added feature of Vibration Compensation to minimize the effect of “camera shake,” a lens is more likely to produce sharp photographs when fast shutter speeds are possible.

It may seem like a simple portrait photo of a duck, but this isn’t just any duck – it’s the first Fulvous Whistling Duck photographed by the author – sharp (note how sharp the eye is), showing contrast well, sharp autofocus, all while using the high magnification of 600mm.

For the most part, I was interested in the performance of the lens at upper end of the zoom spectrum of this lens, at the 500 to 600mm levels – without using a tripod. When I received the Tamron lens in the mail, it opened my eyes to all the things that I would need to be sensitive to while using a different lens. First, the Tamron zoom lens was heavier than my personal lenses, which would make flight photography “different.” But I knew it was just a matter of getting used to using it, while getting in touch with the overall feel and balance of the lens when using it. Then there was the zooming option, which is utilized by turning the lens left and right to zoom out and in.

Action adds so much to bird photographs, and this photo taken at a distance using the 600mm magnification of the Tamron zoom lens shows absolute stopped action of the Common Gallinules and the water surrounding them.

Aside from that, give me a sunny day and some interesting birds relatively close at hand, and it’s on. And I had just such a day my last day in coastal Texas, so I gave the Tamron 150-to-600 Zoom Lens a great workout – and it performed beautifully in the field. And while I had an impression of the quality of the photos I was taking by reviewing a few on my camera’s mini-screen. Of course, I could only make the determination of the sharpness of the photos after the day was done and I reviewed the photos on the big screen of my laptop computer.

The action of a greeting display between a pair of Great Egrets at their nest provided a good test of lighting and contrast.

I was duly impressed! So I wanted to share some examples of the photos I took that day, starting at High Island’s Smith’s Grove to check for migrating songbirds; then on to nearby Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge to photograph my first-ever photos of Fulvous Whistling Ducks feeding, preening, and swimming. Then it was back to Smith’s Grove to photograph nesting wading birds from the elevated Canopy Walkway – and to re-check for any songbird action in the trees. Then on to the Bolivar Peninsula for a sunset photo session among a concentration of terns, skimmers, and sandpipers.

A sharp eye and other features of a Roseate Spoonbill in flight indicates the value of the Tamron vibration compensation and autofocus features of the ultra-zoom lens, even when handholding the lens while following the progress of the flight.

I took all the photos while hand holding the camera and lens, which included calmly swinging the lens during flight photos. I really only tested the high end of the lens’s zoom options, believing that if the photos were sharp, bright, and colorful in the 500 to 600mm levels, the 150 to 400mm zoom magnifications should be as good or even better. After all, especially when photographing birds we all tend to wish we had a little more magnification to work with – and in this case, the highest magnifications of this versatile zoom lens excelled in the variety of habitats and situations that I used it in.

Songbirds like this Cedar Waxwing and other small species are a real test of the quality of a high-magnification lens.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note the fast silent autofocus of this lens is the result of the Ultrasonic Silent Drive. The autofocus works quickly for motionless birds, and it locks onto birds in flight with impressive accuracy (although like all other lenses, the birds need to be relatively large and fairly close for the autofocus to lock onto flying birds).

This photo of the banking flight of a Royal Tern bringing a fish to a potential mate was taken from a distance away under the slightly subdued light of the setting sun, which shows the quality of the Tamron ultra-zoom lens even when handheld.

Of course, the bottom line is always the matter of affordability. And that’s the other thing that was intriguing about this lens: It is “economical” for a big 600mm lens, as well as for the super-zoom properties. At about 1200 American bucks, it’s comparable to the cost of my new 400mm lens, which has a lesser magnification with no zoom options. That’s a significant price for most of us, but such a lens is an investment that will pay off for next 20-plus years and an instrument that will propel you through the joys of bird photography throughout each year you own it.

Overall, you can see that the quality of the photos I took during a single day is excellent. Not only is the accompanying collection of photos an impressive documentation of what the Tamron ultra-zoom lens can do, I consider it a nice reflection of my bird photography skills under a variety of situations – and you want a camera lens to do that too. It couldn’t have been a better day among a variety of super birds with prime lighting and weather conditions, and I truly believe the lens couldn’t have done a better job of providing high quality photos.

To learn more about this fine bird photography lens - the Tamron 150-to-600mm Zoom Lens - you can refer to the Gear article in this issue of The Birding Wire, and you can visit Tamron’s website to check out the technical information and videos at https://www.tamron-usa.com/product/lenses/a022.html

All of the photos included in this article show the handheld quality of the Tamron lens at 500 to 600mm magnification, including this classic photo of a Black Skimmer beginning its skimming flight at the water’s surface.

Article and photographs by Paul Konrad

Share your bird photos and birding experiences at editorstbw2@gmail.com

 
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