Greetings all! I’m late in getting this post up but I finally made it. Today’s photo shoot was a bit different from my usual Ridgefield NWR event. January 22, I followed information I had received online about the location of an Ovenbird in Portland, OR. I live just past the city limits and decided to take the 20 minute trip to the Laurelhurst area of the city to see if I could get a shot of this bird, rarely found here.
[I want to explain here that my basic photography philosophy is to take pictures of wild creatures–in the wild. I also do not normally bait or use set ups. If I break my own rules, I will disclose that I did. Today’s shoot was a break from the rules. The birds/critters photographed today were all lured in by feeders in a Portland backyard.]
I arrived at the address and upon approaching the front door of the residence, I noticed a sign that basically welcomed birders and to please make your way up the driveway to the back yard. With camera and tripod in hand, I did just that. The patio contained about six well-placed chairs complete with blankets and cushions for the comfort of the guests. Two of the chairs were already occupied by a couple of ladies, one with a Canon 7D and a 100-400mm lens. Thanks go to the residents for being so cordial.
I greeted the ladies and took a chair, then got the camera ready to go. This back yard had a minimum of 15 bird feeders with various decorative objects placed around for birds to perch on. After a while, the birds just arrived in one big group. All of a sudden this one feeder was covered with no less than a dozen small birds such as, Bushtits, Chickadees, Finches, and Warblers. I made a point to try to get photos of birds on objects other than the feeders, which wasn’t always possible.
It was a cloudy day and this back yard was in a neighborhood filled with trees, making available light very scarce. Most of the pictures are taken in the shade. The only choice I had was to bump my ISO setting way up–sometimes even to 6400, to maintain a decent shutter speed.
After the small feeder birds had arrived and were chowing down at the feeders, we finally spotted the Ovenbird on the ground, poking around in the grass and the flower beds. Most of the time the Ovenbird was about 25 feet from me, but I did stand up and move closer near the end of my visit. I took the shots I could get, then just as fast as the birds arrived, they were gone. We would wait another 20 minutes or so, and back they would come. I believe I had 4 opportunities to photograph the Ovenbird, once from a lower, almost ground-level, angle.
Not only was it a thrill to capture the Ovenbird, but most of the other songbirds I captured today were lifers as well–even though they are a common sight for folks with feeders who likely see them everyday. These birds are all seen occasionally at Ridgefield by birders, but to catch them close enough to get a decent shot, doesn’t happen often at the refuge.
I’m presenting the shots in the order I took them just to mix them up a bit. I hope you like a shot or two from today’s collection.
I’ll start with a Pine Siskin giving me a sweet pose. ISO 3200
[As always, please click on the thumbnails to see an enlarged view].
One of my first Ovenbird shots–a lifer. This bird was always on the ground–I never saw it perched. This shot captures a glimpse of a small tidbit on the bird’s tongue. ISO 3200
Here’s another lifer for me, a Townsend’s Warbler on the feeder. What a gorgeous bird! ISO 3200
During the lull between bird activity, sometimes this little mouse would come out and go for the leftovers under the feeders. Here are a couple versions of the shot, the first processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and the other left in full color. ISO 3200
Anna’s Hummingbirds seemed to come to the yard often. ISO 2000
Another lifer, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee hanging onto the feeder and peeling shells. ISO 3200
I believe this is a House Finch. ISO 3200
A male Bushtit poses for me on top of a large Rhododendron bush. ISO 3200
And further away yet, a Northern Flicker perches in the neighbor’s tree. This is the Red-shafted variety. ISO 3200
Here’s the Ovenbird again approaching a brick that was near the patio. ISO 3200
A different pose by an Anna’s Hummingbird. ISO 3200
This shy bird, the Varied Thrush, appeared several times and wouldn’t come very close. ISO 3200
Here’s a female House Finch with an apparent infected eye condition. I Googled it and it may be Conjunctivitis which is easily spread from bird to bird. Many times, the bird dies of starvation because it loses its sight. Very sad. ISO 6400
This bird has a lot more coloring than I would expect to see on a House Finch so could it be a Purple Finch? ISO 6400
Another shot of the Varied Thrush. ISO 6400
Here’s a shot of the female Bushtit. I really liked the pose she gave me here. ISO 6400
This is the first image of the Ovenbird that I put out on the Internet on my site and on Flickr. I was surprised to receive an email the other day from the editor of the Warbler Newsletter, asking for my permission to use this image in the March/April issue of the Audubon Society of Portland’s Warbler newsletter. Of course I said yes! So I’m hoping to see my picture there soon! ISO 5000
Here’s the Ovenbird nestled under a fern. ISO 5000
Another shot of a House Finch with the eye condition.
A ground shot of the Townsend’s Warbler. ISO 6400
And, a perch shot! ISO 6400
And I’ll finish with a portrait of the Ovenbird. ISO 6400
That brings this session of The Blog to a close. Hope to see you next time everyone!