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Posts Tagged ‘Tamron 150-600mm telephoto’

Recently I posted an image of a Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) that prompted one reader to comment that the grebe looked like a “poorly drawn duck.” Now I’ll admit that the shape and proportions of a grebe are a bit unusual, but I was sure that with the right angle and lighting I could manage to take a beauty portrait of this little bird. I’m not sure that I succeeded fully, but I don’t feel at all uncomfortable characterizing the bird in this image as a “pretty grebe.”

Pied-billed Grebe

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I first caught sight of this bird in the distance, I thought it might be a Red-shouldered Hawk, but I may have gotten lucky and captured some shots of a Merlin (Falco columbarius) this morning at Huntley Meadows Park. The past few months there have been repeated sightings of a pair of these falcons, but I personally have seen one of them on only two occasions. After so many recent days of cloud-filled skies, it was nice to have some sunshine and blue skies today, though the temperature was right around the freezing mark when I set out in the pre-dawn darkness.

UPDATE: One of my Facebook viewers has suggested that this looks to him to be an immature Red-tailed Hawk. As you can see, bird identification is not one of my strengths.

 

Merlin

Merlin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have been hearing the cries of Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus) frequently at my local marshland park, but I have had a lot of trouble spotting them. At this time in the autumn there are still lots of leaves on the trees that obscure my view. Gradually some of the leaves are starting to change colors and fall from the trees, but that process takes place a bit later here in Northern Virginia than in more northern areas of the United States.

As I was walking along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park on Saturday morning, I saw a brightly colored object at the top of a tree. Looking through my telephoto lens, I was thrilled to see that it was a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk that was out on a limb, giving me an almost unobstructed line of sight for a shot. In most of my shots, the hawk was looking away, but I was thrilled to be able to get a few shots in which one of the hawk’s eyes is visible. The bright blue sky and the red leaves surrounding the hawk were a nice bonus.

Res-shouldered Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Water levels are pretty low in some areas of the wetlands at my favorite marshland park, providing a perfect habitat for some visiting shore birds. On Friday at Huntley Meadows Park I spotted a number of tiny shore birds including this one that I am pretty sure is a Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus).

Semipalmated Plover

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I’ll often try to get shots of butterflies with their wings wide open, but when they turn sideward, you can sometimes get an equally spectacular view of them slowly sipping nectar. I can’t identify the flower, but the butterfly definitely is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) that I chased about this past weekend at Green Spring Gardens.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I spotted this beautiful little butterfly while wandering through the woods at Huntley Meadows Park this morning. I think it might be an Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia), although there are a surprisingly large number of brown butterflies with eyespots, which complicates identification.

The woods were pretty dark in the area in which I first spotted the butterfly. However, luck was with me and the butterfly landed on a log that was in the sunlight. I tried to get as low as I could to get this shot, which is why you see the green moss in the foreground.

Update: One of my Facebook readers pointed out that this is probably a Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon), not an Appalachian Brown. My butterfly identification definitely need some more work.

Appalachian Brown

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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With the return of the sun, butterflies have started to reappear, like this handsome Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) that I spotted yesterday afternoon at Huntley Meadows Park.

It’s been gloomy and rainy for most of the past few weeks, so it was a particular joy when the sun was shining brightly yesterday. As I wandered through the woods and fields of my favorite park, butterflies flitted by a number of times, including several Red Admirals. Most of them kept moving and I was unable to capture them with my camera, but one of them perched a few times and gave me a chance to get some shots.

I’ve posted two of my favorite shots. The first is a little unconventional—the butterfly is upside down on a fallen log and I love the way it looks a bit like a heart. The second shot is a little more conventional, but it has a dynamic quality in the half-open wings and overall pose and I love the background blur.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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