Birds

Bluebirds

I haven't had the best of luck with birds in the backyard this year, so far.  I've been plagued with some nuisance birds that think they own the place.  They have been trying their best to run off any other bird that comes into the yard.  However, my luck started to change as the month of May rolled in.  

I've seen several different species fighting for use of the bird box since then.  I've seen wrens, swallows and bluebirds all trying to claim the box as their own.  Time will tell who wins that fight.  Either way, I would be happy to photograph any of them.  Yesterday was my birthday and I started the day off with photographing those birds.

I was so worried that the bluebirds wouldn't show up this year.  They are usually here well before now.  So I am especially happy to see them in the backyard now...even if it only lasts for a few days.  This is the male Eastern Bluebird.  These bluebirds are easily one of my favorite birds to watch and photograph.  I was especailly happy to start my birthday off photographing them.

Equipment list: Nikon D500, Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD, Sirui P-324 Monopod, Sirui L-20S Monopod Head

EXIF Info: Aperture-priority, 1/1,000 sec, f/8, ISO 900, 450 mm

Immature Little Blue Heron

While visiting Jefferson Island near New Iberia, Louisiana we got to watch quite a few wading birds.  The most interesting looking one of those birds was this immature Little Blue Heron.  Little Blue Herons are entirely white until their second year.  As they molt the white feathers are replaced by the darker, blue-gray feathers you see in the adults.  We happened to catch this one in the middle of that stage.  

Aperture-priority, 1/1,000 sec, f/8, ISO 2800, Compensation: +1, 600 mm

This guy was quietly observing all the other birds as they fought for nesting territory. 

This image was made with my Nikon D500 and Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD.  My camera was being supported by my Sirui P-324S Monopod.

Bluebirds

I finally got to spend some time with the birds in the backyard again last week.  It's been a while since I've seen very many birds in the backyard, much less got to photograph any.

If you've followed me for any amount of time you know my favorite backyard birds are The Eastern Bluebirds.  Although they are my favorite, I do enjoy attracting new, and different, birds to the backyard, too.  Most people do not realize how much time and effort go into getting these bird photographs.  It's more than just putting food out.  I easily spend three times as much time watching the birds vs. photographing them.  I spend a lot of time learning their behaviors, seeing which direction the fly in from, learning their flight pattern so I can know what bird it is before I "see" it, learning which perch or tree is their favorite and other things.  This doesn't include placing feed for different species and setting up different trees and branches that will photograph better.  In short, it's a lot of work...but the rewards are pretty great!

Aperture-priority, 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 360, Compensation: +2/3, 500 mm

Image made with my Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens supported on Sirui N-3204X Tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head.

White Pelicans

Near my house is a wildlife refuge called Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  Typically, in November there are a large group, or groups, of white pelicans that stop there along their migration.  They usually hang around a few weeks and then they are gone.  There are many other birds there, but the pelicans steal the show in early to mid November.

This past weekend I took the kayak out to Wheeler to see if I could find some pelicans.  These birds are pretty smart and usually stay away from the easily accessible areas.  Often times they are on the opposite bank, that is not accessible by road.  Hence the kayak. The kayak also allows me to get closer to the birds without stressing them out.  So a paddlin' I went.

Aperture Priority, F/6.3, 1/3200th second, ISO 400, Exposure Compensation -1/3

Another advantage of being in the kayak was I could pretty much place myself to be able to shoot in the best light.  So I would position myself with the sun to my back, front lighting the pelicans.  Once I was in position the camera part was pretty easy.  I shot these with my Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.  I made sure the camera was on continuous focus and high speed shutter.  Then I wanted to make sure my shutter speed was at least 1/1000th, which was pretty easy to do on this day.  I had my aperture wide open at F/6.3 and my ISO was set to 400.  This ended up giving me a shutter speed of 1/3200th...much faster than my desired 1/1000th speed.

I'll probably be making a few more trips out there before these birds leave, so stay tuned.