Monday, July 16, 2012

Pic of the Day

     Kirtland’s Warbler -- Grayling, Michigan:  When I was at Magee Marsh in May I saw and photographed a Kirtland’s Warbler.  This was not the first time I had seen the bird; back in 1979 my wife and I drove to Grayling to see the Kirkland’s on its nesting grounds.  We saw many birds, especially males singing on their territory.  The birds were easy to see, but a little too far away for good photographs. 
     Over the years I have made a number of trips to Grayling and Mio to photograph the Kirkland’s; spending many mornings on the warbler tours trying to get good images.  With each trip I saw many birds, but was never happy with the images.  Birds were always too far away for good images.
     On June 3, I was on another tour.  There were three of us, plus the guide the morning started out great.  No sooner had we hit the trail into the jack pines a male Kirtland’s pop-up on a limb and began sing.  The day was young and the sun was still behind the clouds on the horizon.  The light was dull, but I shot a few images, I wanted more….what photographer doesn’t!
     As we walked along the path Kirtland’s were singing all around us, but they are all to distance photograph.  We walked half a mile, and the sun had broken through the clouds, but no luck with any birds close enough for photography.
     As we headed back our guide stopped where we had heard a male singing earlier.  She said, “we should wait here a while, this birds territory is on both sides of the tail.”  As we stood listening to the bird, we glimpsed a female moving through the lower level of the jack pines.  A moment later the male followed in her path, then climbed to the top of a small jack pine and began singing.  Within minutes the male flew past, almost hitting me, then it landed in a leafless willow a dozen feet in front of me.  Alighting in the willow the Kirtland’s climbed upward and began singing its territorial song.  In full sunlight the bird put on quite a show as I shot frame after frame.  The turn of events was very pleasing!
    As I continued my walk out of the jack pines two more males put on a show.  I posted those images soon after they were taken.  Click here to see the previous Kirtland’s post:

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/2,000sec. @ f5 

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