The photo below typifies the usual habitat and height at which I observe Scarlet Tanagers. The male is a stunning treetop tanager of mature eastern forests. As such, it can be somewhat difficult filling the frame and you are pretty much at the mercy of Mother Nature when it comes to good lighting conditions, especially beneath a shadowy canopy. Nonetheless, this photo, made at Point Pelee NP in Ontario during spring migration in on May 9, represents one of my better efforts at photographing a Scarlet Tanager near treetop level.
Yellow Warbler is by far the most common warbler that I see. While at Second Marsh, Ontario back on July 21, I spotted this male Yellow Warbler perched on a nearby branch and posing quite nicely for me. I made a few images and upon reviewing my photos upon returning home, I smiled when I saw the image below. I assumed that with the number of sightings I've had of this species, I must have lots of good Yellow Warbler portraits in my Lightroom library, but I was wrong.
At five inches, Black-capped Chickadees are small to begin with, but seeing a tiny fledgling chick on its first day out of its nest is quite the sight to behold. The photos below show just how small and adorable this young Black-capped Chickadee is, who explored our backyard for the first time. It’s an experience that I will remember for a long time.
While visiting Presqu’ile Provincial Park back on July 10, I came across a female Orchard Oriole. This proved to be my first time photographing a female Orchard Oriole, so I was happy to be able to make several images.
The Piping Plover is an endangered species. According to a Government of Ontario brochure I read recently, during the 1980’s loss of habitat and increased beach use caused the Piping Plover to disappear from Ontario beaches. Then in 2007, a pair of Piping Plovers successfully nested once again on Sauble Beach, Ontario located along the eastern shore of Lake Huron.
As happens more than I would expect, I find myself heading out the door for one target species and returning home with something completely unexpected. I headed out looking for a Blue-winged Warbler and decided to take along my Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens. I attached my 2x teleconverter to this lens, which combined with my Canon 7D Mark II camera body provided an effective 1280mm focal length.
Upland Sandpiper is a common breeder in central portions of its range, but it is uncommon to scarce and declining in much of the east and northeast, where they tend to be very local. I’ve had very few sightings of this sandpiper species and even less to show in photographs; however, my luck changed for the better on June 4. A few days earlier on an OFO (Ontario Field Ornithologists) field trip to Carden Alvar, I did see one in the tall grass near a herd of horses grazing in a meadow, but it was far in the distance.
Photographing life birds is always exciting. Upon returning home and editing my photos after one of these outings, I enjoy doing a little research, referencing field guidebooks and studying the key field ID marks, which helps to ingrain the key characteristics of a species in my mind for future reference.
Ruddy Turnstone is accounted among the world’s northernmost breeding species; in North America it breeds on the north and west coasts of Alaska, the artic islands north of the Canadian mainland, and the north coast of Greenland. It is found on every continent except Antartica.
If only all target species on my outings were this easy to photograph, bird photography would be a breeze. Upon arriving at the known breeding location of this Dickcissel, I barely had time to stop my SUV when my friends and I spotted a male Dickcissel flying past the passenger window about eye level. It perched on a nearby Mullein stalk and promptly started singing its heart out for several minutes. The direction of the early morning light was absolutely perfect and I had ample time to capture several good images.