Saturday, May 19, 2012

Photographing Birds

I've had a pretty good birding year so far, having already seen 251 species in Texas. I've also managed to get some pretty good (by my standards) photos of many species of residents and migrants. However, what I haven't managed to do is to get good photos of migrant warblers and vireos. I have seen a lot of both kinds of birds but it has generally been when the birds were too far away, or the light was too bad, for my camera equipment to cope with. So these are the kind of pictures I've been getting.


Tuesday at the CyFair campus was a good day for birding but terrible for photos. At 7:30 a.m. behind the nature trail I was surrounded by a flock of warblers: three Blackburnians, three Yellows, three Tennessees etc. The birds were fairly close, too. But it was heavily overcast and it was raining, so I didn't get a single sharp picture. Very frustrating! And particularly frustrating because this year's songbird migration will be ending any time now.

I knew Wednesday was going to be better, though. The forecast was for slight northerly winds, almost guaranteeing a fallout of birds at the college. So I charged my camera battery and headed out early to the campus. I was right. There were migrants everywhere. Blackburnian and Yellow Warblers were posing on treetops. Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers were right by the trail, some only feet away from me. And the light couldn't have been better. Everything had finally come together!

Where are the photos? Well, it's impossible to take good photos - or indeed any photos - if you forget to load the battery into your camera. And that's what I had done. 

Note:  To offset my disappointment at not getting photos on Wednesday, I saw my 250th species of the year: Mourning Warbler. 

Another Good Day

The north winds persisted until Thursday and so that was another good day for migrants on the campus. First up were a Baltimore Oriole and an Olive-sided Flycatcher, closely followed by this Blackburnian Warbler.

Red-eyed Vireos and Black-throated Green Warblers have been numerous this spring and Thursday was no exception.

My final sighting was of a Magnolia Warbler that fussed around in the bushes in front of me for several minutes.



Matthew Sim said...

Great photos of these warblers

Jeff said...

Thanks, Matt. A bit disappointing but warblers are tricky. Got some good shots of the college's Purple Martins, though. I'll post them next week.