Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris – Lee Metcalf NWR; Stevensville, Montana: I hit Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge at just the right time. Breeding season was underway and marsh wrens were busily building nests and defending territories. On my second morning at the refuge I was on location at sunrise and ready to shoot. Shortly after the sun had risen, a male marsh wren climbed to the tops of reeds and began singing their hearts out.
But not all the wrens were singing, many were gathering nest material. Male marsh wrens build multiple nests within their territory and leave it to the female to choose the nest she likes. As I watched one male singing from a reed, another flew to a cattail within a dozen feet of me. Without even thinking I framed the wren in my viewfinder and started shooting. I was surprised at the wrens fearlessness, and when I reviewed the images I was even more surprised that I had captured it gathering nesting material. The bit of cattail down in the wrens beak gave the image just the spark it needed.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1,250sec @ 7.1
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/500sec. @ f8