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Posts Tagged ‘blue jays’

Female Cardinal Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

Female Northern Cardinal
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

This morning when I awoke, I made my way into the kitchen to check the outside temperature on the thermometer by the kitchen window – it was reading -27 degrees Celsius. This temp would normally be fine with me but here in the land of the windchill factor the winds were making it feel more like -42 degrees Celsius. Now that’s getting a little chilly 🙂 Nonetheless, I knew the cold and wind would make for some productive songbird photos from my heating blind that is set-up by the backyard birdfeeding station. After a quick protein shake for breakfast and a hot cup of coffee I made my way out to the blind. As predicted the birds were quite active as they filled up on the variety of feed that I put out for them to offer them a varied diet. The only problem that I encountered was that my aging portable heater that I use inside the blind was not able to contend with the brutally cold wind that was howling outside and my blind is by no means wind-proof. I last about two hours before I was forced to head back into the house to warm up. Here is a selection of my favorite songbird images from this morning’s time inside the blind.

Female Cardinal (vertical crop created from horizontal capture) Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Female Northern Cardinal
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

In the female Cardinal image above the vertical orientation was cropped from an original capture that was in the horizontal perspective. I felt that the vertical crop represented her better here. Doesn’t she look at tad chilly herself with the frosty build-up around the eye.

Blue Jay Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

Blue Jay
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

The Blue Jays never seem to disappoint at the feeding station, although this morning they did look a touch puffier as they tried to stay warm amid the frigid temperatures and windchill.

Male Redpoll Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 360mm (DX crop = 540mm 35mm equivalent) ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

Male Common Redpoll
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 360mm (DX crop = 540mm 35mm equivalent) ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

On the coldest winter days I often get visits from Redpolls that have ventured down south, from the treeline in the extreme northern regions of Ontario.

Female Redpoll Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

Female Common Redpoll
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec

And below are a couple of Black-capped Chickadee images. Like the Blue Jays, the chickadees are always present and entertaining to watch at the feeding station, and generally they become quite tame. They will often visit the feeders while I am changing the perches around and they will even take seed right out of my hand.

Black-capped Chickadee Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Black-capped Chickadee
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Black-capped Chickadee Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

Black-capped Chickadee
Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm VR lens @ 400mm, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/500 sec.

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Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Winter is my preferred season for photographing songbirds. This year is looking like it may be a very productive year for bird photography as well. So far this season in the fields around my home there are at least two Snowy Owls, a Bald Eagle, and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Not too mention a Red-bellied Woodpecker at my suet feeder set-up.

On this Saturday past I decided it was time to head out to my heated, backyard photo blind and commence adding some new images to my songbird collection. I have been using this blind for a great number of years and it provides me with a toasty warm place to photograph these birds while the cold, winter winds howl outside. The day after I created these images we received close to 2 feet of snow and I have been busy digging myself out, but tonight I finally had time to process some of the images I created.

Hope you enjoy them 🙂

Please remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

 

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Blue Jay at rest on fresh fallen snow

When I set-up my songbird feeding station for winter songbird photography I also constructed an extension that a large section of a tree trunk is fastened to for photographing woodpeckers when they come in to feed on the suet I fastened to the back of the trunk, and out of view of the camera. I used a four foot length of 2 X 4 to construct this extension. This 2 X 4 has become a very important part of my set-up, because after a fresh snowfall it allows me to capture ‘ground-level’ images of the birds that choose to sit on the snow covered 2 X 4 while waiting their turn at the feeder. The resulting images look as though I was laying down in the snow when I was actually toasty warm, while sitting in my heated blind with a fresh brewed cup of coffee. Here are two of my favorite Blue Jay images from this year so far. They were photographed on a bitter cold morning at -20 Celsius. The Blue Jay is all fluffed up while trying to stay warm on this bitter day.

Blue Jay in winter

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Blue Jay

Winter has finally arrived here with the last couple of nights going down to -20 degrees Celsius and we have about 6-8 inches of snow on the ground. This morning I took advantage of some spare time and settled into my photo blind out in the backyard with a thermos of coffee, lots of battery power, and a several compact flash cards. The Blue Jays were particularly active today. Here are three of my favorites of the day.

Now for the surprise…beside my feeding station that I have set up with an assortment of perches (that I change frequently) for photographing songbirds, I have a two foot section of a tree trunk set-up with suet cakes on the backside of the trunk (so they are not visible in the photos) to attract woodpeckers. The woodpeckers that I am able photograph with this set=up are Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, however, this morning I glanced over at the trunk to see if there was any activity on it and was shocked to see a beautiful Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoying the suet cakes. I am going out tomorrow for more images and hope that this woodpecker is still hanging around and remains cooperative. Below I have posted two images captured this morning. I like them both, although I do think the head angle on the last photo is a little better, but the first image does show off the beautiful red cap behind the woodpecker’s head. Let me know which is your favorite and why?

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