FE100-400mm in the Pool: Jays, Squirrels, Cardinals, Doves, BIFs

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 31,483
FE100-400mm in the Pool: Jays, Squirrels, Cardinals, Doves, BIFs

A slight break from my wetlands wildlife and birds, just to slightly change things up.  Not that there aren't still birds and wildlife - just that they weren't shot in the wetlands.  Instead, these were all taken in my backyard, from the relaxing and cooling perch of my swimming pool after hot days out in the wetlands.

These shots were taken over multiple weekends - just a handful of shots of the various backyard critters...I usually jump in the swimming pool to cool off after the wetlands - and I like to bring by the poolside my camera bag, a Bubba Keg of lemonade, and a floating drink raft.  I'll swim around and dunk for the first 30 minutes to hour, then once all cooled off, I'll bring out the A6300 and FE100-400mm, lay it on the drink raft square, and see what birds and other critters come out to feed in the backyard.  I can pick up the lens to shoot BIFs, or steady my elbows on the float in the water to support the lens for still birds and beasts...it seems a little dangerous using the combo just 5 inches off the water's surface, but I avoid splashing around or making big waves, and there's enough space around the drink float (about 16 inches square) to keep the lens safe...the birds and animals usually congregate about 30-40 feet away from where I shoot, to clean up the fallen seeds from the feeders or drink from the bird bath.

Anyway, here are some of the backyard critters - all posted at 1400 pixels on the long side if you click the originals:

A grey squirrel, enjoying the sunflower seeds

A blue jay, perched in my hibiscus tree

A female northern cardinal, bringing a seed back to the hibiscus to eat

A blue jay, putting up his hairdo and puffing up to look threatening to another bird getting too close to his spot

A common grackle with his own seed - showing off some of his iridescence in the sun

Closeup of a blue jay on the bird bath, getting a drink on a hot day

Another common grackle, eyeing the seeds on the ground and deciding if it's safe to move in and get some

This curious female cardinal landed on my chaise lounge at poolside to check me out - wondering just what this creature in the pool with the long white tube on a float was up to

This grey squirrel was very comfortable, lying down on the hot surface on top of a planter pot where he could chase away any birds that moved in on his pile of seeds below

Right above the squirrel, the blue jay and white winged dove appeared to be having a conversation about how to deal with the rodent guarding the seeds below

The common grackle decided to just to have a drink at the bird bath, rather than try to deal with the squirrel

Another bright day, another blue jay

Mourning doves are very difficult to catch in flight, especially up close - as they go from standing calmly to 25MPH flight in about 1/4 second, with their whistling, fluttering calls and wing flapping - I was pulled back to 166mm as he was coming directly over the pool and about 15 feet from me

Here's a younger mourning dove on the ground...this is what they look like a millisecond before they're in full-speed flight!  Just little to no warning they're about to launch

And where there's prey, there's usually predators.  In this case, a stray cat trying to sneak down my backyard wall behind the clusia hedge and ambush the birds...of course, when I saw him hit the opening, I let him know I saw him and was there as a bird bodyguard - he sat in place watching me for a bit, then disappointingly slinked away

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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 zackiedawg's gear list:zackiedawg's gear list
Sony a6300 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Sony DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 Voigtlander 35mm F1.4 Nokton +22 more
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