Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pic of the Day

Pygmy Nuthatch: Sitta pygmaea,
Moraine Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park
     Four years ago I found the nest of a Pygmy Nuthatch in a broken Ponderosa Pine snag near the entrance to the Moraine Valley campground at Rocky Mountain NP.  The nest is still active and I had the opportunity to photograph the birds again on June 11.  As in the past, these little birds objected to my presence, but once I sat down on a nearby rock they seemed to forget about me and carried on with daily feeding activity.  Both the male and female were busily bringing morsels of insects and larvae to the nestlings.  Like all nuthatches they were bundles of energy exploring every nook and cranny in their territory.  Many times, they alighted on this perch near me.  I had positioned myself so the meadow grasses in the background would be out of focus to form a clean, aesthetic background. 

I am constantly amazed at the joy that birds bring to my life.   I am never any happier, than when I am looking through my camera photographing birds.  

On second thought, I’m pretty happy when I’m holding my grandkids also.
Photo by Whitney Robison

Pygmy Nuthatch:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/800 second @ f/10

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pic of the Day

Mountain Bluebird, Sialia currucoides:
Moraine Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park  
     As I was setting up my camera to photograph a pair of Pygmy Nuthatches nesting in a pine stump near Moraine Valley campground, this Mountain Bluebird flew to a near by perch.  The bird was in perfect light with a flawless background is out-of-focus meadow grasses.  The bluebird used the perch numerous times to hawk insects.  At one point it flew to my feet and plucked a spider off the ground about half an inch from by boots.  Twice, the bluebird alighted a foot away from me, perching on the same rock that I was sitting.  It was, least to say, a wonderful experience.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/1000 Seconds @ f/10

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pic of the Day

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica:  Magee Marsh, Ohio
(taken during "The Biggest Week in American Birding")
     This image was taken along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh a few weeks ago.  Magee is the one of the few spots I know where you can get up close and personal with these beautiful neotropical migrants.  However getting images without branches in the way is difficult.  I have found that pre-focusing on an open spot of a branch that the bird is moving, then shooting as the bird passes through the spot is the best way to get an image.  This warbler, happen to perch in the spot for a few seconds to look around allowing me to get a variety of poses.  This was my favorite frame.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/1000second @ f/8

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pic of the Day

Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator: Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio
(taken during "The Biggest Week in American Birding")
     Head shot of another Turmpeter Swan at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ohio.  This bird was standing alongside the swan in the previous post was keeping an eye on the activity at the marsh.  The red stains on the head and neck is from digging in the marshes muddy bottom for food.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 1.4 teleconverter, 1/320 second @ f/14.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pic of the Day

Philadelphia Vireo, Vireo gilvus: Magee Marsh, Ohio

     While Warbling Vireos were very numerous at Magee Marsh this year, I only saw a few Philadelphia Vireos during my time at the marsh.  The Philadelphia Vireo looks similar to the Warbling Vireo (see earlier post below) but can be separated from the Philadelphia by the a dark eye line that extends through the lores, and yellow wash at the center of the throat and breast.  Also, their song is quite similar to the Red-eyed Vireo.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/800 second @ f/8

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pic of the Day

Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator:  Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio 
(taken during "The Biggest Week in American")
     When I arrived at Magee Marsh the temperature was in the 40's and cold.   There were a few warblers along the boardwalk, but the sky was overcast and the light dim; photography was quite difficult.
     After a few hours on the boardwalk I drove next door to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge to check out the Trumpeter Swans.  Many people are surprised to discover that Trumpeter Swans nest at Ottawa.  Trumpeters are native to Ohio but were considered extripated by 1900.  In 1996 trumpeters were brought back to the state and are now considered a threatened species.  I always find a couple of pair near the refuge entrance along Ohio, State Road 2.  On the particular day I shot this image, I was fortunate to find a pair right beside the wildlife drive.  This particular bird had it long neck wrapped around its body with its bill tucked under a wing sleeping.  The composition and detail in the body feathers made it impossible to pass up the shot.
     Just in case you're wondering, Trumpeter Swans do have snow white plumage. The red coloration on the head and neck of this bird, is due to digging for food in the marshes muddy bottom.  By the way, I particularly like the feathers on the eyelid of this swan when its eyes are closed.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/125th second @ f/10

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pic of the Day

 Warbling Vireo, Vireo gilvus; Magee Marsh, Ohio

Warbling Vireo, Vireo gilvus; Magee Marsh, Ohio
     A few days after shooting the warblers in the two previous posts I was back at the same location to shoot more birds .  A number of Warbling Vireos were flitting around the area.  Finally one alighted on a branch with a nice background.  I shot a number of images with the vireo on the branch as it moved around.  These two show both the front and back of the bird.  I wish all the shots I took at Magee had these nice backgrounds.

Both images:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/640 second @ f8

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pic of a Day

Yellow Warbler, Setophaga petechia:  Magee Marsh, Ohio
     This is another of my favorite shots at Magee Marsh this past week.  Again, it is not so much the bird as it is the background that I like.  This image was shot in almost the same spot as the previous post.
     “Petechia,” in the Latin name refers to the red streaking on the breast.  Petechia, defined by the Mayo Clinic is “pinpoint, round spots that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding.
     The Yellow Warbler is most likely, the most abundant warbler in the Americas.  It breeds over most of North America, and was by far the most abundant warbler at Magee Marsh.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/640 @ f/8

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pic of the Day

Wilson's Warbler, Cardellina pusilla:  Magee Marsh, Ohio
at "Biggest Week in American Birding"
     I have had a wonderful time at Magee Marsh this week.  While the birds have not been the best I have seen, I had two great days of shooting.  This little Wilson’s warbler was one of my favorite shots.  It is difficult to get clean backgrounds at Magee, but I positioned my self for a green foliage background that blurred out of focus just perfectly for this shot.  I hoped that the Wilson’s would alight in the right place, and it did.  Wish all the shots from this week had a nice background like this.  Backgrounds can make or break an image!

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/200 second @ f/8