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

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
OP zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,574
More birds Big & Small, and Up Close

Picking up where I left off in my last post, on January 16th, out at my local wetlands...it was a lovely day, cooler, and with decent light, and the wintering birds were well accustomed to being close to people, so I had lots of opportunities to shoot both the local wading birds, and the small migrating or wintering birds, at a pretty close range. For the little warblers, that generally means being able to shoot within 20 feet or so, while the wading birds allow me to get right up to them. That means pretty nice feather details on many of these birds, which is always a nice thing when photographing birds - even if the ISO had to go up to account for the dark forested areas, the winter light was much more even and not as many hot spots to deal with in the shady tree cover.

All of the following were taken with the A6600 and FE 200-600mm G OSS lens, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view them in original size:

A little blue heron, too busy watching the water below for a fish to strike than to worry about me photographing him

The lovely purple gallinule was popping out of the reeds while some clouds were blocking the sun, but the nice even overcast light provided a nice look at his fine head and chest feathers and amazing coloration

He even did a little modeling - which side is best...my left or my right?

The pine warbler is one of our winter species - some pass through and carry on to the Caribbean, but a few stick around Florida during the winter and rejoin their friends in Spring to head back north

Kindly moving away from the strong sky background, against a darker background you can better see the lovely yellow feathers

The always-active black-and-white warbler, who spends all day running up down and around the branches collecting bugs

I've posted a few shots of tricolored herons doing their jump-fly-plunge fishing technique...but it's always entertaining, especially if the sun's at a nice angle to pick up the reflections. This was the moment of the plunge for a fish

When unsuccessful, these birds are often quite vocal, letting out annoyed little screams and calls - and looking for any other fish around before leaving

When they know it's futile, they fly off upset to land on a nearby shore or tree and regather themselves for a minute or two before trying again

This tricolored heron must have gotten enough to eat, as he was just standing in the shallow water, relaxing with the western sun behind my back lighting him up

Some birds still tending to their nests - already built, and already with chicks hatched - but the nests still need occasional repairs, so this great blue heron was hauling back a fresh stick to patch up a hole

The subtle beauty of the palm warbler - when not in breeding color, they're mostly just another small brown bird...but this one had a small yellow patch under the tail - and will soon grow his rusty cap

A green heron, with its back feathers raised - sometimes they may do this to dry off, and sometimes when they're frightened or threatened - this one just seemed to be standing there raising his feathers quite calmly, so may have been drying off or just getting some fresh air in there

It's funny sometimes seeing a water bird try to hard not to get wet - but often they will attempt to walk across floating plants and branches and do everything to keep their bodies out of the water - like this purple gallinule. Other times, they'll be neck deep in water and not care!

A very difficult bird to catch in flight - mostly because they so rarely do it - usually just quick flights from one patch of bushes to another. You might think this is another gallinule - but look closer for the differences - this is an invasive grey-headed swamphen - the native gallinule has yellow legs, always has a yellow tip at the end of the bill, and has a light blue forehead shield, all missing from the swamphen. But they both share the same lovely colored feathers!

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