Birds: Time to Bring on the Serious Colors (6/18/21)

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,165
Birds: Time to Bring on the Serious Colors (6/18/21)

Moving right along and wrapping up the rest of February 20th with some of the most vibrant wading birds in the country, and stepping into the following weekend on February 27th with one of the most colorful songbirds in the a few of their less colorful friends mixed in too...this post is definitely showing some of the amazing colors out there in the bird world.

All of the following shots were taken with the A6600 and FE 200-600mm G OSS combo handheld, and all are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view the original size, at either Wakodahatchee Wetlands or Green Cay Wetlands here in South Florida:

My last post left off with some of the BIF action as the sunset approached on February 20 - and this one picks up in the same spot - but back behind all the flying birds was this wonderful burst of vivid color, the roseate spoonbill with its full adult mating colors

And those mating colors stand out like a glowing neon sign in the wetlands, surrounded by lots of white and brown birds!  Helping the roseate spoonbills easily find each other to mate.  This pair seemed quite close and intimate

At that time of year, any time you're shooting some birds on the ground or in the trees, there's still action going on above you - in this case, I swung up in time to catch this quartet of black-bellied whistling ducks flying over me - with their white wing patches, pinkish feet and bill, and brown & black torso, they're pretty colorful too!

I had a glossy ibis in my last post - they were starting to gather to mate and eventually nest, so quite a few were streaming in.  The spoonbills can be seen in the background as this glossy ibis comes in to land, with the sun lighting up his iridescent feathers for flashes or reds and greens

OK - it's a white bird so not real colorful.  But it's name, little blue heron, shows it will eventually have color - this one was another juvenile flying past

Back to the lovely pink roseate spoonbill - this one flew in alone, perching on a tree across from the mating pair, still solo

And another glossy ibis about to land on the end of a branch

That wrapped up the lovely late afternoon shooting session and the last of the sunlight for that day, so now we're moving on to the following weekend on February 27, much earlier in the day starting around 1:30pm:

The first shot for the day was this red-shouldered hawk flying directly over me, very high up and circling - at that time of day, the sun was pretty high, so this hawk was mostly backlit - which gave his wing feathers some nice glow

This was my first sighting of a pileated woodpecker for this year - the giant woodpecker is the biggest in North America and dwarfs the more common downy and red-bellied woodpeckers.  This one was a female, checking out a hole from a previous resident to see if it's worth moving into

One of the most difficult birds around here to photograph, despite being very common.  Because they seem to always want to live in the shadows, and being grey and black, they don't provide a whole lot of contrast to see in the shadows.  This is the grey catbird, and probably 90% of my shots of them are at ISO 6,400 or higher!

This lovely solitary sandpiper was having a little one-legged rest - they often stand on one leg for a while, then switch to the other for a spell.  It's a black, grey, and white bird, but the sky reflections in the water made it colorful!

Now we're going full technicolor!  Popping out of all the greenery in the dark forest was this harlequin-patterned beauty - the male painted bunting.  Though it was pretty shady and the ISO had to crank up to 4,000, the colors and lovely details of this fellow still pop

When you get the chance to photograph a male painted bunting, you don't just take one shot - who knows when you'll see one again.  Even better, I sometimes only get to shoot them at feeders but prefer them in natural settings - because of the pandemic, there have been no feeders up around the wetlands, so you have to search the forests hoping to find one natural-style

This guy wasn't too bothered by me, 20 feet away, and seemed to be enjoying his perch as he looked around for where to hop to next

I decided I had gotten enough shots and started to walk on, only to hear the leaves rustling to my right - and finding that he had hopped to a new branch - seemingly following me!  So I took one more parting shot of him before moving on

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always!

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 zackiedawg's gear list:zackiedawg's gear list
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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