Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Birds


I decided to get out my 55-300mm lens the other day, figuring that it's a good time of year to practice bird shots. I was hoping for more reward for my effort since there's less cover.

Look at what I spotted near the top of a sweetgum.



A pair of goldfinches sporting their winter olive drab.



In a nearby tulip poplar roosted a male Eastern bluebird,
almost the same shade of sapphire blue as the winter sky.


I tried to get a shot of a yellow-rumped warbler in the wax myrtle next to the driveway -- there's always one or two, although the warblers and cedar waxwings have nearly stripped the tree of its berries. I kept going around and around the tree with the warblers going around and around just ahead of me, but I did get this picture of a warbler on the driveway in mid-hop. They are very dapper even in their more subdued winter garb.


This female cardinal was half-hidden in the tangle between the myrtle and the neighbor's pasture.


Here's really what I stalking, having seen him in the Buddeleia next to the back porch before I got the camera:



An almost clear shot of the diminutive ruby-crowned kinglet.


Ruby-crowned kinglets are often heard before seen, as they characteristically emit a liquid husky chirp and chatter as they feed. The male also often utters some wispy high-pitched calls that as spring approaches will cresendo into a loud burbling singsong chant, which he typically sings with his red crest raised and at which point his cuteness factor goes off the charts.

Hermit thrushes overwinter here. These thrushes look like they wish that they were somewhere warmer.
We hear wood thrushes singing in spring and summer: We also often here the subsong of hermit thrushes before they migrate back to the north in the spring, so we get a taste of what they sound like. Subsong is typically sung at low volume and slightly warbled by young birds and adult males in pre-breeding season mode.

The words "ethereal", "flute-like" and "haunting" are often used to describe the songs of the wood and hermit thrushes. There is nothing more beautiful that the sound of the songs of one of these thrushes floating through the woods in summertime.


25 comments:

  1. So beautiful. Thank you för showing some of your local birds. Hope they sing for you all day long!

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  2. Your gorgeous, gorgeous sapphire blue sky made me lose focus and I had to go back and look at the birds again.

    Enjoy the sweet bird songs.

    donna

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  3. SweetBay ~ Having a good camera and lenses are part of your success with photography. The other part is 'you' behind the lens. Those pictures are a real delight.

    FlowerLady

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  4. SweetBay,
    Oh my Hermit Thrushes, very nice. Guess who has not seen Hermits in years, I'm so slack.... I used to see them 4-5 times a year. Cute Ruby-crown Kinglets.

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  5. I think I have some of the Ruby-Crowned Kinglets ---do they have a yellow spot at the base of their tail? I have somebody at the feeders who looks like that and when he flies off you see this yellow spot.
    Wonderful photos!! Love the remains of the tulips in the Tulip Poplar.

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  6. Janet those are Yellow-Rumped Warblers. The Kinglet is well named -- he's even smaller!

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  7. Thanks Sweetbay!! He is sure a tiny one.

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  8. Hi Sweetbay,
    I love your birdshots. I have such a hard time getting good ones. It is on my list of things to practice with my camera.
    We don't normally get red cardinals here on the Island but last week someone got a nice photo of one in their yard. I would be so excited to have one in our garden.

    Carolyn

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  9. Amazing photos, Sweet Bay! Interesting to see all the different species of birds you have in your part of the country. I've never seen a bluebird here, but I keep hoping. I'm impressed by your ability to identify them, too; I have to use my bird book, and even then I'm often not sure about the i.d.

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  10. Loved seeding your birds. You have some we never see in this area.
    Marnie

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  11. Beautiful shots Sweet Bay. I love the Cardinal half hidden one. I'm so disappointed that we haven't had any birds this winter. I thought we got a few but maybe not. Not this year anyway. ;-(

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  12. Hi Sweetbay, I love birds and am just learning more about them. You are right about the cuteness factor - I can't help but smile at these photos.

    Thank you for your very kind comments on my blog.

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  13. We only see the Ruby Crowned Kinglet here, the rest are mostly new to me. You took great pictures! I love seeing pictures of birds from other places.

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  14. It is amazing how well the birds are camouflaged with their winter foliage. I am amazed you were able to get such good pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  15. I love watching the birds at the feeder during winter. It's one of the few signs of life in New England this time of year.

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  16. What a splendid day - the blue sky was a perfect backdrop to those lovely birds & many thanks for the link to the Cornell site.

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  17. Now I know where our summer birds go :)

    The female cardinal is lovely - we have cardinals here but they are rare.

    Lovely pictures!

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  18. You have so many birds wintering there! Great captures.

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  19. Wonderful, Sweet Bay! I love seeing these shots, just like National Geographic. Learning the bird songs and chirps is something I have been trying to do for years. Sounds like you have mastered a few yourself, kudos! :-)
    Frances

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  20. I love birds, esp. that ruby-crowned kinglet. Not one I'm familiar with here... white pine is my fave tree, though, and they look so nice together!

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  21. I am so glad you got your 300mm lens out...these photos are wonderful. Thanks for the intro to the Ruby Crowned Kinglet...a sweet bird. gail

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  22. I love that shot of the Yellow-rumped Warbler Sweet Bay! Looks like he's hunkered down. I think you managed to get quite a nice variety of photos for your efforts. I wish I could go out and find as many "good" birds. We have lots and lots of house sparrows this year ~ which makes it easier to handle when the hawks take out one. The birds must love your yard/garden with everything you have in it.

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  23. Hi, Sweetbay;
    What lovely photos. I have never seen a Ruby Kinglet before. These are very special! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  24. That first shot is spectacular. I also like the one of the warbler in mid-hop. I had to look twice to see he was hopping. Nice birds!

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  25. Such a wonderful post! I especially love the female cardinal shot, and oh, how marvelous to get shots of the ruby crowned kinglet! Well done! I've only ever seen two, and one of them was a victim of a barn cat, poor wee thing. The other was briefly on the front porch rail.
    I'd dearly love to hear the song of the thrushes. Thanks for such a lovely description and for sharing all these wonderful pictures.

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