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Posts Tagged ‘cattails’

My little chickadee—spotted yesterday afternoon in the cattails at Huntley Meadows Park. In our area, most of the chickadees are Carolina Chickadees (Poecile carolinensis), but we do get some Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) too. The species are so similar that I am never completely sure which one I am looking at. This one, for example, looks like some of the images that I see of the Black-capped Chickadee.

When it came to presenting this image, I was a little bothered by the large amount of negative space on the left side. However, I really like the way that the image emphasizes the tallness of the cattail. The more I looked at the image, the more I grew to like the composition, so I ended up not cropping it at all.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of some moment in the cattails. At first I thought it was a Downy Woodpecker, which I have sometimes observed pecking on the cattails in search of insects, but I quickly saw that this was a smaller bird. When it finally climbed higher on a cattail stalk, it became clear that it was a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis).

Initially I had trouble finding this tiny bird in my viewfinder with the zoom fully extended, but eventually I was successful. I am really happy with the effect that I managed to achieve, with the darker-colored bird really standing out from the lighter-colored backdrop of the cattails. Normally I like to crop to focus attention on the subject, but in this case I like the images better with a considerable amount of open space around the chickadee.

I couldn’t decide which of these two image I liked more, so decided to include both of them. Sometimes I like the horizontal pose of the first shot, but at other times the open bill in the second shot draws me in.

It’s always fun to try to get shots of owls and eagles and hawks, but my moments with this little chickadee reminded me that the little birds have their own special kind of beauty.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As the new year dawns, it seems appropriate to post this photo I took last weekend at my local marsh, as the early morning sun peeked through the trees and cast its first rays of light onto the cattails.

Best wishes to all for a happy, safe, and blessed 2014.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Glancing into the cattails, I caught sight of a flash of color and then gradually a bright yellow bird came into view. The tail was partially concealed by the cattails, accentuating the bird’s circular body shape (and everyone knows that the camera adds pounds to subjects).

I have done some internet searches and concluded that this is probably an immature male Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). Adult male Yellowthroats are really easy to identify, because they have a prominent black mask. Like many bird species, however, young male Yellowthroats look a lot like the females, but gradually develop the mask. It looks to me that this bird may have the first traces of such a mask.

The lighting and camera settings combined to produce images that I really like, with colors that are beautifully saturated. I need to figure out how to replicate this look.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am finally starting to see more butterflies, like this Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) that I spotted recently in the cattails at my local marsh.

It seems like we had a slow start this year with butterflies compared with last year and I had been fearful that I would not be treated to their colorful displays that I enjoy so much. Gradually my concerns are disappearing as I see different varieties appear and I am happy that I can even identify some of them.

Sharp-eyed readers might notice that something does not look quite right with this photo. I rotated the image ninety degrees, because I found myself cocking my head when the butterfly was pointing downward.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I spotted this little Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in the cattails in the marsh at my local marshland park this past weekend and was pretty excited, because I had never before seen an adult tree frog up close.

I was amazed by its long toes with sticky pads, but it was the golden eyes that won my heart. I observed it for quite some time and managed to get some shots of it in different poses as it changed its position on the green leaves of the cattail.

Normally I think of tree frogs, I think of the ones with big red eyes that have been featured in National Geographic and other publications. It would be really cool some day to be able to photograph those tree frogs—for now I am content to explore the wildlife in my local area.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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At the edge of a cattail patch, this male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) was pecking away at the branches of a small tree, moving upward until he had reached the tip of the branch. For a short moment, he took a break from his work and turned his head to the side, which let me take a nice profile shot.

Perhaps he was searching for the next plant to peck, maybe the cattail in the distance.

downy1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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