Pygmy Nuthatch, Sitta pygmaea: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
It was my second visit to Rocky Mountain National Park that I overnighted at the Moraine Park Campground. During the night a fierce storm raged through the campground, a driving rain poured in such torrents that I began to wonder if my van was going to float away. Not having weather information available I wasn’t sure if I would see a sunrise the next morning or not, but by dawn the storm had passed and the clouds began to breakup shortly after dawn.
On my way out of the campground that morning I noticed some small birds flying between pine trees near the campground entrance. By the jizz of the birds I suspected them to be Pygmy Nuthatches, and as soon as I got my bins on the birds, my suspicions were confirmed. I quickly pulled off the road, grabbed my camera and headed toward the birds. No sooner had I reached the nuthatches I discovered that the birds had a nest in an old pine snag. The birds were busy feeding and among the pinecones and making trips to and from the nest cavity. I took this shot as one of the birds poked its head from the cavity and stopped briefly before launching itself into the air. By the look on its face, it doesn’t appear too happy to have its picture taken.
This picture appeared on the back cover of the Autumn, 2013 issue of Living Bird Magazine.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/200 second @ f/6.3