***Weekly Wildlife Thread: May 23rd - 29th***

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,575
Lovely warm sunset light: bitterns, herons, spoonbills, etc.

Wrapping up the lovely shooting day of January 9, 2021, the final 45 minutes of the day from the golden hour through sunset provided beautiful and warm light coming from behind me and casting on the birds of the wetlands - I was fortunate to encounter some of the more beautifully patterned and colored birds during that time too. I already miss the winter hours when I could shoot until sunset and still be home by 6pm...now, I'd have to stay out there in 95 degree heat until after 8pm to try to catch this type of light! This thread will also start into the following weekend, on January 16th, with the first few shots from that day as well.

All shots in this series were taken with the A6600 and FE 200-600mm combo, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view the originals:

Starting off with a bang - I had an amazing close encounter with the gorgeous American bittern - this one in particular seemed to be enjoying the warmth of the setting sun, staying quite out in the open just 20 feet from me, showing off its amazing pattern and colors

They're relatively elusive birds, and usually pretty shy, and though I do get to see them at least a dozen times every winter and spring, most of the time they're in shadow, or lurking behind some reeds...so this one standing proudly in the open with the sun beaming right on those feathers was a joy to see

He even occasionally looked around to watch a dragonfly pass by, but didn't seem too inspired to go after them...he was just enjoying that sun bath

A tight closeup, to see those beautiful fine feathers and gorgeous coloration

This little blue heron flew by nice and low, those muted blue-grey colors and hint of red on the neck picking up the sunlight against the dark trees in the background

This little eastern phoebe was catching a ray of light - while I was shooting through some tall grasses - I had a little sliver to shoot through to the bird, but the out-of-focus grasses made for some funky bokeh look on the branch to the left - the grass is invisible but leaves its mark!

Little blue heron coming on for a landing in the nearby trees

20 minutes later, with the sun almost hidden behind the trees, I circled back to where the American bittern was - and yep, still there! And still finding that last shaft of sunlight

While the wetlands start to cast into shadow, higher in the sky the flying birds were still catching the final glow of the sunset - this lovely tricolored heron was glowing yellow in the warm light

And that red eye really stands out in the sunlight

A bird that really doesn't need any sunlight to stand out with that vivid pink color, but in the sunset glow, the pinks take on a beautiful soft warm tone...this is the always beautiful roseate spoonbill passing by

With the sun officially set, and just a faint glow still high up in the sky, this great egret soaring past is colored orange-yellow rather than his usual white

Onwards to the following weekend, on January 16th - I started out with this lovely little palm warbler hiding in the reeds

This green heron had ingeniously used a nearby branch sitting a foot or so above the water, by walking out farther and farther until the branch bowed down onto the water's surface, so he could use it as a floating island perch from which to fish

With his new island in place, he got into hunting position, extending that hidden neck and standing statue-still above the water, ready to strike

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Sony a6600 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake +21 more
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