Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why Am I looking At Dead Trees?

During the summer there is an abundance of dense green foliage in the wooded areas often making it difficult to observe or photograph birds. In order to overcome this problem I took a ride out to Del Reeves swamp which is located within Meshomasic Forest. There are many trees in this area which are either dead or bare of leaves. I like this spot because it reminds me of being way out in the middle of the great north woods in Maine or New Hampshire. There is a sense of freedom I feel in places like that can't be matched by a visit to the local park.
When a bird lands on a bare tree it is so much easier to see and photograph them. This particular area is a good place to find a variety of woodpeckers like this Red-bellied Woodpecker. He was fairly distant and high up in the tree but right out in the open which makes viewing much more enjoyable.
It can be tedious sitting in my truck for two hours while waiting for a bird to land in the right spot. There were plenty of birds on the other side of the road such as flycatchers, jays, and swallows but I'd be looking directly towards the sun if I were to look in that direction. As I waited for more action to occur, I spent time watching our native bumblebees at work. What kind of flowers are these? I'm not sure, maybe you know?
How often is it that I use autfocus and a camera focuses on the bird and not the bush surrounding it? The answer is not very often. I have to remind myself that Eastern Towhees are a kind of large sparrow. It was scratching around on the ground before finally coming up for a look around. Maybe she heard me playing the weekend bluegrass special on the radio.
There are rare birds and then there are rare birding moments. This Northern Waterthrush is not a rare bird, nor is it particularly striking but I rarely see them. . This one landed right in front of me, just a few feet from my truck window. I managed to click the shutter once, and then it was gone. I was surprised to find out that the photo had come out in focus with the head facing in the right direction. All it took was that one moment to turn a slow morning of birding into a good one.
For an interesting comparison of the Louisiana Waterthrush versus Northern Waterthrush click on this link from 10,000 birds.


Glen Webber (Wildlife Photography) said...

Wow the Woodpecker is a great looking bird.

Lana Gramlich said...

What you've got there's a red-BELLIED woodpecker, hon...definitely not red-headed. (Google images of both of them & you'll see what I mean.)
Love the shot of the female towhee! We've got a pair of them here with a fledgling right now. Love to see them!

Dan Huber said...

Great shots Larry, I also am frustrated by the auto focus missing many times. Love the Towhee and thrush. superb.


Larry said...

Glenn-thanks-Maybe you were trying to give me the hint that I wrote the wrong species name in.

Lana-oops-yes I know the species well-just a slip of the brain-I generally make quite a few mistakes that I have to go back and clean up-thanks for pointing it out.

forestal-thanks Dan-the panasonic seems to hit the mark a little more often than my canon but not always.

Ruth said...

Yes...the in focus branches and out of focus birds... I have many examples. But these pictures are really sharp!

troutbirder said...

Some guys got all the luck. I've been looking for a first sighting of either species of waterthrush for three years now with no luck. There here someplace along the troutstreams but where oh where have they gone?

Larry said...

Ruth-Thanks Ruth-I got lucky on that one.

troutbirder-I hear a lot of Louisiana Waterthrushes and see a few each spring but the Northern up so close was a nice treat for me.

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, what beautiful shots of the towhee and waterthrush. I do not believe that I have a Northern Waterthrush on my Life List, so I consider that bird a real find! I agree with you, I like the wild and unpopulated places without any evidence of human existance. There is a peace there that gets into my soul and soothes me. I'm glad you found such a place for yourself.

Jann said...

Nice shot of the woodpecker! And the E. towhee; we only have the spotted towhee where I live, in W. SD...that flower looks like it's a purple loosestrife.

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-thanks-I was really pleased with the waterthrush even though it's not the most exciting looking bird.

Jann E.-thanks-so I was told bout the loosestrife.I guess I am due to get a plant book so I can make some of my own id's.