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Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

I didn’t see the Green Heron (Butorides virescens) actually catch his breakfast last Friday morning at Huntley Meadows Park, but when he climbed up onto a protruding branch he gave me a quick look at the fish before swallowing it.

Green Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This majestic osprey (Pandion haliaetus) was keeping a close watch on a fellow photographer and me as we pointed our long lenses in its direction as it perched high in a tree early one morning this weekend at Huntley Meadows Park.

osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In the first sunflower field that we visited yesterday morning at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, many of the sunflowers were drooping because of the weight of their seeds. They may not have been very photogenic, but the birds and butterflies seemed to love them, like this Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) and this Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) that I spotted among the sunflowers.

Several photographer friends and I made the trip to the sunflower fields in Poolesville, Maryland, hoping to see endless rows of tall sunflowers. According to its website, McKee-Beshers has 30 acres of sunflowers planted in nine different fields. I think that the sunflowers may have been a little past their prime and appeared to be a little stunted in size, compared to some past years.

It was tricky to figure out what kind of gear to bring on a trek like this. I ended up using my super zoom Canon SX50 to photograph the Indigo Bunting, which was a first sighting for me of this beautiful bird, and my Canon 24-105mm lens on my normal Canon 50D DSLR for the butterfly. I had both of the cameras with me at all times, which gave me a pretty good amount of flexibility. I’ve seen some photographers walk around with two DSLR bodies, but that seems like a lot of weight to carry around, especially when you are moving through vegetation as I was doing as I waded through the rows of sunflowers.

I did take shot shots of the sunflowers  and I’ll post some of them eventually. Folks who know me, though, are probably not surprised that my first instinct was to post images of birds and butterflies, rather than ones of the flowers alone.

Indigo Bunting

Monarch butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Early yesterday morning at Huntley Meadows Park, the Great Egrets (Ardea alba) were relaxing in the trees, awaiting the start of another beautiful day. When birds are as brilliantly white as egrets, it’s a challenge to get an exposure that retains the details in the feathers. I set the metering on my camera to spot metering and it seems to have worked pretty well. I even like the way that it darkened the background and made the egret stand out even more.

Great Egret

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Last weekend I spotted a shorebird in the distance while exploring Huntley Meadows Park. It was sharing a log with several turtles. Initially the little bird stayed on the opposite end of the log from the turtles. Gradually the curious and energetic bird moved closer and closer to the turtles. I couldn’t tell for sure, but it looked like the bird came close to pecking one of the legs of a turtle. Perhaps the bird was surprised when the turtle reacted or the turtle made a threatening move, but in any case the bird flew off after the brief encounter.

I was pretty conftdent that the bird was some kind of sandpiper, but I have never seen one with these markings. I posted to a Facebook group and got a quick response. What was the sandpiper I had spotted? It turned out to be a Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius).

Spotted Sandpiper

 

Spotted Sandpiper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was looking high and in the distance and the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) came in low and was almost on top of me before I saw it yesterday morning at Huntley Meadows Park. I had to scramble and pull back on my zoom lens to capture this image, which barely fit into the frame of the viewfinder. (The EXIF data for the shot indicate that it was shot at 309mm of my 150-600mm Tamron telephoto zoom lens.)

I feel like I should have been able to take better advantage of the situation that presented itself, but I am not disappointed. As I have noted repeatedly, any day with a bald eagle is a great day.

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) must have been feeling tired or lazy yesterday afternoon at Huntley Meadows Park. Rather than going in through the opening in the trumpet vine flower and helping to pollinate it, she opted to drill in through the side of the flower to get to the nectar.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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