Saturday, March 1, 2014


My collection of local birds is about 25 species so far.  They are fun to watch because they display interesting behaviors and sometimes seem to have personalities like this grumpy YELLOW RUMP WARBLER (left).  The names can be pretty funny too.  

This immature is also called the MYRTLE WARBLER.  Or it may be a BAY BREASTED or a BLACKPOLE - these guys are tricky.  If you see a glaring error please make a comment.

On the right is an immature

Professional bird watchers will enjoy learning the fine details of confusing Warblers at

Fortunately, for the rest of us, many song birds have very distinctive features as seen in the next 6 images.



GOLDFINCH immature


The snow forced the SLATE JUNCO (above) and THE RUFOUS SIDED TOHEE (below) to scratch for seed on the deck rail.  You can see the snow flying.  I hadn’t seen them do this before, but they probably do it all the time in dirt and leaf litter.

I wanted to make some flight sequences.  To do that I set up my tripod, attached a cable release to the camera, set focus to  manual and the exposure to burst.  

The GOLDFINCHES are battling over Thistle seeds.  

both males, are fluttering around a suet cage.  

The KINGLET is easy to identify when he displays his saturated red crown.

The YELLOW RUMP sequence is a continuous 1.5 second burst.

So far, everything I have shown is collectively called “Tame Birds” by the Pros.  The next few pictures show what they mean by that.

This HOODED MERGANSER is a winter visitor, with his girlfriend (out of range here), at a nearby pond.  He is making one of his courting displays.  This image is an enlargement of a tiny corner of the full frame.  That is why the focus is soft.  

These wild birds are extremely wary and I can not get close to them.  The typical shot I usually get is below: moving away from me.

They hang-out with a REDHEAD DUCK, another winter visitor.  

My largest lens is a 70-200mm which is great

in many cases, but a bigger lens would help a lot at the pond.   Lots of patience also helps with wild birds.  

I could get the 800mm version, but that’s not in the budget.  Besides, I would need two assistants to move and aim it.

An alternative is to pray for bigger birds.

Mergansers vs. Canadian Geese

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