The first set of images are from my outing at one of my favorite spots (Huntley Meadows Park). These are photos of a young Hooded Merganser family I had the pleasure of photographing this past summer. As you can see they were very cooperative.
This shot shows one of the little ones exercising her wings...cute.
Thanks everyone. Yes Rose, Huntley Meadows is pretty quiet these days, especially since the marsh has frozen over, however, I did get some good duck shots just before the freeze (Northern Pintail, More Hooded Mergansers, the Northern Shovelers and some Killdeers). I also got some nice shots of the chicadees and downy woodpecker on the cattails last week.
Yesterday I'd planned to go in the morning, but woke up late (about 10am). I debated - go out, nah just chill because I did not want to put the gear together. Well, I decided to go to the local wildlife park (had not gone it over 1 yr.) and glad I did because I got couple species that I'd targeted, but this one was a bit of a surprise. I stood in the woods looking around and spotted this beauty hopping along the ground. I crept up near it but I thought the crunching sound from the leaves would make it fly away. So as I crept around the tree, it popped up on this stump and with some good light, my 500 and 2x tc, these are the results. Sometimes, no most times, luck is good.
Now these Downy WPs shots were not from the local wildlife area. This shot of the male Juvenile was from my backyard. The males seem a bit more skittish than the females (wonder why), but this young'n took a break so I was able to get a few good images of him. I really love the red and greenish background colors. This will be printed, too.
This one is from Huntley Meadows Park. I saw him jumping from cattail to cattail, so I just waited patiently for him to come closer. They seem to not notice you when they are looking for food. This one is full frame...no cropping to the photo at all. Patients pays off.
Wonderful shots Met! I agree with you about the Chickadee pic. I absolutely love the Nuthatch. I guess because I don't see them as often and their wonderful unique look makes for a soft spot in my heart for them.
When I was in South Carolina, I was able to capture this cute little Juvenile Heron. It's funny how their legs to body ratio make them look. It reminds me of little kids, when their heads look so much bigger than their body.
One day I'd gone to one of my favorite spots (Huntley Meadows Park), but it was very slow there, so I went to a local wetland area (Cheltenham Wetlands) near my home and it too was slow. I debated and debated about going to Lake Artemesia, but I went anyone because I had not gone out to photograph birds in awhile, but it too was slow. So I left thinking of hitting another spot (Jugs Bay), but as I was leaving the lake, I spotted a blue colored bird sitting on the power line, but immediately knew it was not a Blue Bird or Blue Jay. So I stopped the truck, jumped to the back seat to grab my camera (had it strapped in the back seat), rolled down the window (used the window as my tripod) and when I pointed the camera towards the bird, boy was I surprised and very happy; it was the Peregrine Falcon - a bird I had only seen once in Tucson Az. I got a few shots, but this was one of the better ones. Hope you like it.
I had the 1D4 on loan (CPS loan program) for 1 week to take it for a test spin. I went to Bombay Hook last Saturday. So I will post some of the shots I created that day. I just wish the weather was better, but...
Here is series of Snow Geese images from the shoot. I took all these shots hand held, which is the way I like to shot BIF shots.
Nice shots, Al. I haven't been to Bombay Hook for awhile. I have been to Blackwater but it has been slow other than the Snow Geese. Was there a lot of other activity at Bombay Hook ? How did you like the Canon 1-D Mark IV ?
Wow am I late responding. Thanks everyone for visiting and commenting.
Charley there was more activity there than back here at home, but probably not as much as normal though. Besides the ones posted here, I got some shots of the Red-tailed Hawk, Horned Lark, Red Fox, Common Merganser, Buffleheads and I saw the Sharp-shinned or Coopers Hawk - both hawk species were out looking for food. I will post the images here soon.
DucBucln, Margaret and Pelletory, I really like what the 1D4 produces, but unfortunately I had to send it back to Canon since it was on loan from Canon. However, I am keeping an eye out just in case a good deal pops up that I can't refuse, but for now the 1D3 is the workhorse. Btw, I sold the 50D and the 70-200 f4 lens since I was not using them to help fund the 70-200 2.8 lens since I am getting more into sports photography.
Thanks Resin and Burd for the correction. I sometimes be thinking one thing and typing something totally different.
Here's a couple shots of the Red-tailed Hawk. These are the first and only images I have of this Hawk. As usual, it was not in the open for me, but I am happy and surprised it sat there long enough for me to get a few shots. These shots are from my visit to Bombay Hook
Nice Horned Lark and Red-tailed Hawk photos, Al. I didn't see any Horned Larks this winter. Unless they are on top of the snow, I have a hard time picking them out. I noticed that you got your photos on the road.
My last trips to Bombay Hook and Blackwater were uneventful except for a Red Fox. I did get some nice photos of it. I went to Patuxent this past weekend for the first time since September and saw absolutely nothing. There are a lot of trees down and one was lying across the road to prevent you from going back to the end (Bailey Bridge). Better days ahead. I hope.
The Osprey are arriving here in Anne Arundel County and the eastern shore but I haven't seen any nor have I been looking for them.
Yeah Charley things have been pretty slow at my spots, too. I have some new spots that I will explore this season down in the LaPlata and Indian Head area. One spot claims to have Prothornatory Warblers nesting every year so I plan to make some trips there for sure.
Yesterday, I decided to explore a few new wildlife areas (Myrtle Grove WMA, Mattawoman Creek and Small Wood park). As luck has it, the day started off not in my favor; 1st it was snowing (I was going out no matter what though to do some recon work) and secondly, I left my tripod sitting in the garage (thought I put it in the truck until I went to mount my rig Ė no tripod). So all my shots were handheld for this trip. I just donít get it, Saturday it was sunny, cool but otherwise a beautiful day for bird photography, yet on my one and only day I have to do what I enjoy, it snows and last week it rained. I think I need to change to going out on Saturdays, ahh but Sundays are so peaceful with less people Ė folks seem to sleep in later.
But, all was not lost as I found a few new places to explore and hopefully get some lifers this spring and summer. Also, I found an Eagles nest where there are no people and no restricted access; it seems I will have this little gem of an area to myself (hopefully). Well, I will post a few shots from my trip Sunday. Btw, I spotted 5 adult and 1 juvenile Eagles, 3 pairs of nest building Ospreys (2 in very good shooting distant, as a matter of fact, you can walk right up to the nest; hopefully the park will restrict such close access though), lots of Cormorants and Wood ducks, some Pied billed grebes, Scaups, Vultures, Wild Turkey, Hawks (Red-tailed), Pileated WP, sparrows. I did not get shots of most of them though.
I will start with the Eagles. The fist shot is of the nest. Can anyone tell if they will take residence; it seems like itís ready for a family and both were sitting down in the nest and this one pop up and perched for this not so good photo (just wanted to get a pic of the nest).
Here's one of the Osprey nest. It is on the boating dock and if the docks were open, you could literally walk right up and touch the nest (there's one on each end of the docks. Hopefully, the park service will restrict access as boats can literally park next to the nest. This 1st shot is of the female in the nest.
Just as I was leaving General Smallwood Park, I spotted this Red-tailed Hawk sitting in the tree. I stopped to verify with my binoculars. I decided to try my luck at try to get some photos. I knew I wouldn't get within a mile of him/her as he bolted when I opened the truck door, but I was hoping he'd fly around so that I could get some shots. These are the best, but they are the best I got on that day. The Red-tailed Hawk in flight.
The last set is of the American Black Vulture. I was on the road to General Smallwood Park and spotted these Vultures on the side of the road. So I pulled over and captured a few images. Now, I know the Vultures are not the prettiest birds and some would not dare photograph them, well, i am the opposite as I like to photograph all birds as they have their own unique personalities.
Absolutely fantastic, Al. It sounds like you've found a photographer's heaven there. I'm soooo envious of how close you can get to the nest. I'm looking forward to your next visit there. And here's hoping for finer weather and a better memory.
Excellent photos, Al. Despite the weather, you had a great day plus you explored new territory. I've never been there.
I had to look up who General Smallwood was and found that he was the highest ranking Marylander in the Revolutionary War. And, Mattawoman was named by the Algonquin Indians which means "where one goes pleasantly". So, hopefully that held true for you. This has been sort of a disappointing past three months (for me) so maybe Spring will make up for it.
Anyway, it looks like you got some great spots to re-visit.
Thanks everyone. Charley, I agree the past 3 months have been pretty slow for me, too and that's one of the reasons I decided to explore new territory. I have many more new spots to explore, too. One place I plan to visit more often is Monticello Park in VA for the migrating warblers.
Here are some shots I got the past weekend. You know it's spring when these guys/gals return - Tree Swallows. There's a spot at Merkle Wildlife area that I can always count on getting up close and personal with these birds. In these shots, I park my truck right next to where they perch and as long as I stayed in the truck they allowed me to photograph them. The Bluebirds perch at this spot to but they are a bit more shy than these guys. Both the Tree Swallows and the Bluebirds always seem to fight over the bird house just to right of these photos - an interesting sight to see. The Bluebirds are some tough little birds that don't back down either.
I went to a local park (Cosca Regional Park) hoping the Purple Finches were still there, particularly the males (already got shots of the female). I planned to spend a couple hours there waiting for them before I visited Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. When I got there I saw 2 finches and thought man my day is starting off right, except they were the male and female house finch. Then as a started looking around the area, I spotted 2 male purple. They eventually gave me the opportunity to capture some images. After they left 2 females came around. So within an hour, I had met my quota, so I was off to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. Hopefully this is a sign of my luck this season.
Well, I decided to visit a local spot (Monticello Park in Alexandria, VA) that's a haven for migratory warblers and other not always seen by me birds. Some have arrived, but not the migration has not fully blossomed; however, I did get a lifter...Blue-headed Vireo. The photo isn't the best, but under the lighting condition and the distant from the bird this was the best I could muster. I plan to hit this spot quite a bit this spring during migration to try and capture some of the rare birds.
After leaving Monticello Park, I stopped by Merkle Wildlife and spotted this Palm Warbler. When I took this shot, I had forgotten to change my settings (had it set for Osprey BIF) so the shot was badly underexposed by 2 stops, which left the image a bit noisy, so I had to recover the exposure in LR3. Fortunutely, I shoot in Raw so I had lots of headroom to correct the exposure a bit.
I always round my trip off at the Merkle nature center and while there I got this image of the Bluebird atop a bush. He and another male were not happy with each other as they were just a fighting. Here, although you can't tell, he was saying, what sound like to some bad words, under his breadth. He went after the other bird shortly after I took this photo. I'm sure it was all over some female. Boy the things we men go thru...
Hello everyone and thanks for taking the time to stop by and view my images.
It's been a minute, but I just can't get back as often as I'd like to update the thread, but then again, I think it's best to not over saturate things.
Well, I ventured to a new birding spot this Sunday; Battle Creek Cyprus Swamp Sanctuary. It is one of the northernmost sites of naturally occurring bald cypress trees in North America, and the only large stand of the trees on the western shore of Maryland. It has an elevated boardwalk (1/4 mile) that loops around the swampy area and through the Cypruss trees. I get there and the gate is closed to my surprise. The sign said the hours were 1-5pm on Sunday. I knew the hours, but I thought it was for the nature center; most places generally open the gates even though the nature center is closed. Well we know those hours are not good hours for us bird photographers. Determined to explore this new site, I parked just off to the side of the gate. I walked into the park and spotted the Gray Catbird, but it would not oblige me with any shots, so I continued on. I got near the boardwalk and realized I forgot something, so I had to walk back to the truck, but on the way back, the Catbird decides to let me get a few shots. So first up is the Gray Catbird. Oh and on the way back to the park there were about 5 deer that obliged me with some shots, so me forgetting something actually paid off. How about that. Plus, I had to entire swamp to myself, unbelievable.
Btw, I hope you'll don't mind my little story. I just sometimes thing a story is good to lead up to the photos; kinda put a perspective on things.
OK, now I enter the boardwalk and I'm thinking - "I wonder what luck I will have to day" As soon as I enter the swamp, I hear this call, which sounded familiar, but I was not absolutely sure what it was, but it was really close. I paused for a second and looked for movement and bingo when I saw the color of the bird, I then remembered the song from a not so good shot I got last summer. It is pretty dark in there and you have no choice but to raise your ISO. These shots were taken at ISO 1600 and I could only muster up a 1/200th SS, so that should give an idea of how dark it is in there. Anyway, I got a few decent shots as these little birds, like most, just zip from here to there.
Ok, so things went well when I first entered the swamp, but it then dried up, but there were so many species of birds, but none came in shooting distant. However, throughout the swamp, I kept hearing the Northern Parula (pretty close, too), but it was hard to spot in there. So, I just made my rounds, because I wanted to explore as much of the swamp as possible. Well, I decided it was time to head home and my luck changed. This fella decided he wanted his picture taken.
The Northern Parula. These are my best shots to date. Again, I had to crank up the ISO to get the shots.
Nice shots of the Hooded Warbler and Northern Parula, Al. Ironically, I went there one time, early morning, and the same thing happened. The gates were closed. The only difference is, I left ... I haven't been back since !
Here's a couple shots of the Eastern Phoebe. One thing I notice is that when birds are looking for food they don't pay too much attention to me and that's when I get some great shots. They some time just pop up right in front of me like this little one and it was perched nicely.
Hello again. Well my luck with photographing little babies fledging has not been good this season, but my nest finding is up 200%.
I was watching this Chicadee family for a couple weeks in hopes of catching the little ones fledging. I did not get to see them fledge, but I got some photos of the parents doing what parents do. Below is a series of the images
Well, as a stated previously, I had been watching the Chicadee family hoping to catch the little ones fledge, but on my last visit when I rounded the corner, I spotted these two Bluebirds preparing to take up shelter in the nest box, so I knew the Chicadee family was gone. These two Bluebirds were bringing nesting material so I hoped to be able to follow that family, but when I went back last weekend, I saw no signs of the Bluebirds - well strike 2 for me. Here are the Bluebirds
I was off a few days this week and besides taking my daughter to the zoo, I went birding on a Friday, something that happens rarely. On my way back from visiting the Bluebirds, I decided to visit one of the local places I visit from time to time. I saw the usual Wood duck family - mom in tow with 6 babies and bunch of Grackles, the Least Flycatcher and I spotted yet another bird nest. This time it was the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. So, again I am hoping to spot the little ones fledge. Since this is a local place, I can get to it after work if need be so we will see. Wish me luck. Here's the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher's nest.
I went to another favorite spot today, Huntley Meadows, hoping to catch the Red-wing Blackbird family fledge. Yes, I found yet another nesting bird family, but momma is still feeding them so hopefully I will see them fledge. It was slow, but I did capture this beauty - Red-wing Blackbird.
Alright take care and as always thanks for stopping in and viewing my photos.
Hello everyone and happy new year. Well, it's been awhile since I've been through. I hope everyone has been doing well and capturing many bird shots. Well, I will start of the new year with a lifer for me. This little guy was following or chasing another wren and I guest they got separted, but he or she gave me the pleasure to capture some images of it. These images were capture at one of the local spots I visit - Jugs Bay.
Beautiful images, Al. Glad to see you posting again. My camera gear is getting rusty since I have recently been doing very little photography. However, I was down your way over the weekend. I went to Schoolhouse Pond in Upper Marlboro to look for the Wilson's Snipes that have been seen there. I did see a number of them but too far away for the lens. Not much else there outside of a Belted Kingfisher and a few Northern Shovelers. I was also looking for a Black-headed Gull that was seen there last week but no luck.
Thanks Charley and Margaret. I've been shooting once a week as usual, but have been doing lots of sports photography lately, but this remains my passion though. I do pop in ever so often to see what's going on. Hope all is well with you'll. Margaret, how's the 500? Lith, you need to knock the rust off of the gear. I may head up to the North tract this weekend - have not been there for awhile.
Hi Al. I haven't been using the 500 lately. The 400 and especially the 300 are better for grabbing flight shots. But when I do use the 500, I love it. I got myself a 7D as well. That's a beautiful camera.