Welcome back! Hope everyone had a great New Year and is headed for a wonderful 2012! I’m back with some Jan. 6 shots at the Ridgefield NWR, my first of the year. The weather was typical–heavy overcast all day but it didn’t rain. Fifteen shots made the cut today and I used flash on all but six. Most of the shots were taken at either 1/400 or 1/500, with one or two at 1/800.
Let’s start out with a couple shots of a female Purple or House Finch busily stripping these elongated leaves (?) from a branch and swallowing them whole. Up against a bright sky the flash was really needed, IMO. These were taken in the Ash tree forest. [Click on thumbnails for larger view].
Also in the Ash tree forest, I spotted a Spotted Towhee. This was one of those rare times when a bird will sit there for 2 or 3 minutes and let you take as many shots as you want. Again, I used flash as it was very dark in the shade of the trees under an already dark sky.
I drove up to post #11, still facing north, and looked east over to the water intake area across the water. These three raccoons were making their way along the water’s edge. It was super dark where they were and I had to brighten this up a bit in post processing resulting in a lot of noise. Cute scene, crummy image!
I came across a flock of Coots in the grass just prior to post #7. These birds seem to be the favorites of bald eagles at the refuge, of which there is a pair of mature adults building a nest (thanks to my brother, Gary, for this information).
An American Wigeon paddles its way up a dark waterway.
Two immature Bald Eagles perched in a tree. I couldn’t help but notice the neat colors of the feathers of the eagle on the left.
Not one of my best Blue Heron shots as 1/400 just doesn’t stop the movement of these birds in flight. I left it in anyway.
Another American Coot busy extracting food from the water. Taken by post #11.
After one of my loops I stopped at the main parking area and talked to the volunteer on duty for a few minutes. As we were talking I saw this Red-tailed Hawk fly over to these trees west of the parking lot. The bird was hundreds of feet away.
Rounding the corner just prior to post #13 about 50 Canada/Cackling Geese were foraging in the grassy area on the right. This bird surprised me by allowing my truck to approach to within about 12 feet. The shot is barely cropped.
And mixed in with the flock of Canada/Cackling geese was this lone Greater White-fronted Goose. This may be as close as I’ve ever been to a GWFG. These shots were taken at 1/500, ISO1250, as was the goose shown above.
So I started out the day at ISO400 but eventually moved to 500, 640, etc., as the day wore on and ended with ISO1250. Not exactly the best conditions for shooting wildlife but still a lot of fun trying.
If you haven’t checked out my Articles section of the website yet, please do. I’ve been busy trying to get some photography articles up on the site. I’m currently working on Part Two of my series called, “Digital Bird Photography: From the Beginning.” Go straight to Part One here if you haven’t seen it yet. I hope to have Part Two posted in the next few days.
Take care and see you next time.