|Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens: Horse Cove; Gurley, Alabama|
Every time I pickup my camera I never know what birds will present themselves for me to photograph, or if I will even find anything worth shooting on a particular day. This afternoon I drove to Guntersville Dam to take a look at the nesting eagles along the Tennessee River, hoping to find something unique and interesting to shoot. While the day was beautiful, clear skies and at lest 70 degrees there was not a lot of activity at the nest. After standing around and talking with some of the onlookers for a while I headed back to the house.
As I carried my camera equipment into the house the bird feeders were ablaze with activity. Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, Goldfinches and Cardinals were zipping to feeders and snatching seeds faster than I could turn my head to follow their flight. In the flurry of activity I noticed a Down Woodpecker stashing a seed in the crack of dead pine tree twenty feet from the feeder.
Though the sun was sitting and the scene was backlighted I had to try and get a shot. I quickly set up tripod and camera and settled in to lay in wait for the downy to return. After twenty-minutes of waiting the downy returned, stuffed a seed in the crack and then flew to a small branch. The backlighting of the setting sun formed a rimed highlight on the downy, and the soft grays of the leafless trees, separated the bird from the background. Without thinking I swung the camera onto the downy and shot a burst images. Sometimes everything just seems to comes together, and this afternoon was one of those times. I am always happy when I am in the right place, at the right time, in the right light.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, Exposure 1/160 second @ f7.1, ISO800