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Posts Tagged ‘chickadees’

Boreal Chickadee_4256

 

I have been preparing my photo blind and bird feeders for another season of winter songbird photography and today I finally had a chance to go out and sit in the blind for a couple of hours to see what I might be able to capture. I was quite surprised to see this different looking chickadee land on one of my perches. It is not uncommon to have a great number of Black-capped Chickadees at my feeders throughout the day, but I have never seen one quite like this. Upon referring to my field guides I believe it may be a Boreal Chickadee.

During the course of last winter I had a lone, female red-bellied Woodpecker visiting my suet set-up and thought that this was most likely due to the warmer than usual winter we had last year. However, today I was pleased to she that she has returned and made a couple of lovely poses for me, which can be seen below.

Please remember to click on the photos to see the larger version.

Red-bellied Woodpecker_4234

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker_4231

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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American Tree Sparrow

Here is a small selection of new images from my backyard set-ups. Keeping a fresh collection of perches handy does become a bit of a challenge sometimes, as I don’t want too many photos of birds on similar branches. With the lack of snow on the ground, the activity at the feeders is relatively low as the birds are foraging elsewhere for their food sources. However, once we do get another snow fall the activity will surely pick-up again. The number of American Tree Sparrows seems to be up more this year than in previous years and the House Finch and Dark-eyed Junco are, for the most part absent from my feeders. perhaps this is due to the very unusual winter we are having. I do love being in the blind during periods of snow and in the image below, that I captured last week, the American Tree Sparrow is resting on one of the perches after a period of significant freezing rain, followed by a good amount of snow. It really illustrates the elements that these little birds endure during the winter months.

American Tree Sparrow on icy branch in snowstorm

Black-capped Chickadee

Hairy Woodpecker

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Black-capped Chickadee

I have been swamped over the last couple of weeks putting the finishing touches on my eBook that will be released and available for download in the coming days. With the final edit completed, I finally had some spare time to get out into my blind that has been set-up for winter songbird photography. As usual, the Black-capped Chickadees were very energetic providing a good couple of hours of entertainment. Here are three of my favorites from the day.

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Many years ago I remember reading an article by the late Galen Rowell about photographers knowing their limitations. I always interpreted this to mean that knowing your limitations could aid creative vision. Further to this, Canadian photographer David duChemin’s (Pixelated Image) phrase “gear is good, vision is better” is solid advice and Darwin Wiggett’s recent column in Outdoor Photography Canada’s Fall/Winter issue is a must read for anyone wishing to upgrade their gear. Links to both of these photographers can be found on my blogroll.

Today our limitations could be gear-related, physical or even monetary. Having a young daughter keeps me very close to home, so last winter I decided to construct a blind for backyard, songbird imagery. Everyday when my daughter would have her nap, I would head out to the blind, baby monitor in tow, and photograph songbirds for a couple of hours. On several days, it was dark, overcast and snowy. Since I am still shooting with, and a tad embarrassed to admit it, a Nikon D200, I do not have the luxury of cranking up the ISO to capture a razor-sharp image of birds in flight on days like these and my main lens for wildlife is the pathetically, slow focusing 80-400 VR lens. These limitations steered me towards being a little more creative, shooting intentional blurs of songbirds taking flight from perches. Capturing a pleasing blur is not as easy as it sounds, but it is fun to play around with various shutter speeds and see what transpires. Of all the blurs I shot last winter I kept only two images – the above Black-capped Chickadee image and another that has been submitted to Audubon’s “Birds in Focus” competition. This Black-capped Chickadee was shot at ISO200 @ 1/60 sec.

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