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Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria VA’

I spotted some cute little American Goldfinches (Spinus tristis) early on Friday morning as they foraged in the vegetation adjacent to the observation tower at Huntley Meadows Park. The lighting was somewhat limited, but it was soft and beautiful and gives the photos an overall sense of peace and serenity, the start of a new day.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A group of five or so photographers stood on the boardwalk on Friday morning at Huntley Meadows Park watching a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) in a tree above us. We waited and waited for the hawk to take off and when it finally did so, I almost managed to keep the hawk within the frame. I can’t really complain too much, though, because as far as I know, none of the others managed to get a shot off when the hawk took to the air.

We were in a really good position and the lighting was beautiful, but it is hard to remain alert and ready as you wait for a bird to spring into action. I was using a monopod again and I think it may be the reason why I was able to capture the hawk taking off. My camera was already at eye level and pointed in the direction of the hawk during the entire fifteen minutes or so that we watched the hawk. The other photographers had to raise their cameras and were not able to do so quickly enough.

It might be my imagination, but I also think that some of my shots with the monopod are sharper than they might otherwise be. I have balked a bit at carrying a big tripod, but think that the monopod will now be with me most of the time—it collapses to a pretty small size and, because it it carbon fiber, is both sturdy and light.
Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Even at a distance I could tell that the ducks that I spotted on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park were Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata)—the shape of their bills is pretty distinctive. It’s duck season now and I can hardly wait for more species to arrive at the park.

Northern Shoveler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I was moving slowly this past Monday as I sought to get photos of birds at Huntley Meadows Park, but not quite as slowly as this Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) that looked like it had just crawled out of the mud. This species of turtle has a beautiful pattern on its shell, but it is mostly obscured by the mud. I think that I might have startled the turtle, because it pulled its head and body inside of the shell for a little while, making it almost perfectly camouflaged, despite the fact that it was sitting right on a path.

Eastern Box Turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am not sure why, but I have seen more warblers this autumn that I have ever seen before. In past years they always remained elusive, hidden behind the foliage, heard but not seen. This year I have seen them, especially Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) at several locations and on several occasions.

Here are several of my favorite warbler shots from this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park. The first image, my favorite, is one of those lucky shots that occur when a bird takes off just as I press the camera’s shutter button. Normally that results in a bird that is out of focus or partially out of the frame, but this bird took off slowly and in a direction parallel to where I was focusing. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) are normally very skittish and it seems like they always choose to perch in distant trees. This past weekend, however, a female Belted Kingfisher flew to some trees that were a lot closer than usual and I was able to capture these shot. The images don’t exactly fill they frame, but they do show a lot of the cool details that make the kingfisher so special. In case you are curious, it is really easy to identify the gender of Belted Kingfishers—only the females have the rust-colored stripes on the chest, one of the few cases in which a female of a bird species is more colorful than the male.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) and a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) seemed to be eyeing each other with intense curiosity this past Friday at Huntley Meadows Park when they both chose to occupy the same tree at the same time.

Redheads have a mysterious attraction, it seems, in the bird world as well as in the human world.

Belted Kingfisher and Red-headed Woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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