November First Birding

Since Ann and I hadn’t been out since we got back from our wonderful Houston trip, we finally got time to get out a bit Friday afternoon.  Still not many birds at the parks around here.  Last year at this time it was pretty common for us to around 30-35 birds within a couple of hours.  This time we saw about 15.  Anyway, what we did see gave us good rewards.  First we (Ann) saw this Great Horned Owl high in a tree in Spring Creek Park.  It was in the shade and it gave me a chance to use my new Rogue Safari Flash Booster.  More about that in a blog this weekend.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Then we proceeded around the horshoe bend of the park.  At one point across the river, about 150 yards away we saw this Osprey high in a tree.  There was no room to maneuver to car for a shot, so I exited the vehicle with my Canon 7D with a 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  I approached the river bank, and using a small bench to prop my elbow, I hand-held the camera for the shot.  I was quite pleased with the result that you see here.



I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on either one for some outstanding enlargements.

American Kestrel and Western Meadowlark

I got this photo of an elusive American Kestrel near the entrance to Spring Creek Park here in San Angelo, Texas.  As I drove up, it was high on a wire off to the right side of my car.  I stopped and contemplated how I would get the shot.  I couldn’t shoot out the passenger side from where I was sitting in the driver’s seat.  I was worried that it would fly off any second.  I decided to take a chance.  I drove slowly forward a couple hundred feet and made a U-turn and came back.  Miraculously, it was still there.  I was shaking as I slowly aimed my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter out the window, supporting it with my Noodle.  I was able to fire off a half dozen exposures before he flew.  I failed to get the take-off, but I did get this handsome image.5413_web-kestrel-bob-zeller

There were many birds around that morning and I also came up with another shot of a Western Meadowlark.5425_web-meadowlark-bob-zeller

The meadowlark was beneath a tree along with several of it’s friends, and the lighting was tricky.

Both images are cropped heavily.  The kestrel was about 35 feet off the ground and probably a total of about 150 feet away.  The meadowlark was perhaps about 60 feet away on the ground.  Feel free to click on either image to see an enlargement.

More blasts from the past

Here are a few more images that I captured earlier this year.  Like yesterday’s post, this one features again, photos from a fall visit to the water treatment ponds at Eldorado, Texas.  The date was October 3, 2011.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.  Hope you enjoy.

Nashville Warbler

American Pipit

Red-shouldered Hawk

Great Blue

Camera information:

Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400mm zoom lens.  1/2000 sec. @ f6.3,  -0.3 EV,  ISO 800.  Shutter priority with spot metering.

American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) :  Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/3200 sec. @ f6.3, -0.3 EV,  ISO 400.  Aperture priority with partial metering.

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/2000 sec. @ f16, ISO 1600.  I just set the camera on Program, hoisted the camera, aimed, and shot.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/2500 sec. @ f8, ISO 400.  Aperture priority  with partial metering.

All shots with the 7D were handheld.  To see more of my photographs click on the Flickr Logo on the right side of this page.

The female Northern Cardinal

First an update:  It has been confirmed that the mystery bird in yesterday’s post was a winter Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler.  At first, I considered a Pine Warbler, but after contacting my friend Eric Carpenter in Austin, Texas, he indeed confirmed the yellow-rumped.

That was so much fun getting different opinions on the ID of that bird, I am thinking of maybe having a weekly contest.  Let me think about that. 🙂

So now, to answer Katie (her blog), who commented to my Northern Cardinal post, by asking if I had photos of a female.  Well, certainly, dear Katie, anything to satisfy my readers.  Here are three of my best.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 1, photographed July 7, 2007.  Canon EOS 20D with Canon 100-400mm lens.  1/250 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 400.  Partial metering and aperture priority.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 2, photographed June 27, 2009, Canon EOS 40D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/200 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800, minus 1/3 EV.  Partial metering with aperture priority.

female Northern Cardinal

Image number 3, photographed April 29, 2008, Canon EOS 40D with Canon 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/200 sec. @ f7.1, ISO 800. Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.

I hope Katie and the rest of you enjoyed these photos.  Anytime that you wish to request certain species photos, if I can accomodate, I certainly will, if I have some presentable photos.

Click on any of the photos to see an enlargement.

Another Northern Cardinal image

I keep going back through my old archives when I have spare time.  Today when I was adding photos to my flickr page, I came across this Northern Cardinal ( Cardinalis cardinalis) image that I had taken with my old Canon 40D back in 2008.

Northern Cardinal

We were sitting in the bird blind at San Angelo State Park, when it flew in and perched atop a desert sumac.  I had my Canon 500mm with a 1/4 tele-converter attached, mounted on a tripod with a Wimberley II gimbal head.  Exposure was 1/500 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 500.  Center weighted metering with aperture priority.

I love the flashy color of the cardinals.  They are one of my favorite birds to photograph because they are naturally photogenic.  Click on the image to see an enlargement.  Also, click on the Flickr logo on the right side of this page and have a look at some other work of mine.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Happy July4th everybody!!!

On July 1st I posted photos of the Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Today I will show you some of my images of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

After publishing that post, Cindy Kilpatrick commented about the sharpness of my photos at such high ISOs.  I use a noise-reduction software called DeNoise, made by Topaz Labs.  It reduces noise without any loss of detail.  It sells for 79.95 and it is some of best money I ever spent.  I also use, in conjunction with that, another software called Focus Magic.  Between the two, I get these great results.

Click on any image to see a beautiful enlargement.  Enjoy.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 teleconverter – tripod mounted
  • 1/500 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – center weighted average
  • Aperture priority
Ruby -throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens – hand-held
  • 1/60 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – not recorded

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird at feeder

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/200 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-conerter – tripod mounted
  • 1/250 @f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Tale of the Take – Hawk Hatchlings

A friend of mine, Ken Coley, told me of a Red-tailed Hawk‘s nest that was on private property out near Dove Creek.  Fortunately, he knew the owners  of the property and he arranged to take me out there to check it out.

We arrived late in the afternoon and the temperature was about 95 degrees.  We drove in and parked near the peoples’ house.  Ken says that we can walk to the tree, and we’ll be able to see the nest.  I decided to just carry my 100-400mm lens setup.  It was about a 500 yard walk, but when we got there, I discovered the nest was about 70 feet high up in a pecan tree.  To get the shot, I needed to get about 100 feet away in another direction to get in the proper light.  The 100-400mm wasn’t going to do the job.

I hiked back to the van and this time I decided to drive in a little closer.  I was able to get within about 50 feet of the tree and park near other trees so it wouldn’t be a distraction.  I then was able to set up my tripod to enable me to mount my 500mm lens on my Canon 7D.  This particular shot that I have posted here was taken with my 1.4X teleconverter attached.  I also took a few exposures with the 2X teleconverter.  I must use manual focus with the 2X because of aperture restrictions with that setup.  Also, because of the shade over the nest I had to adjust the EV to +2/3.

But I must say, that 2X done an amazing job.  After printing two 8x10s, I could not tell the difference between the photo taken with the 2X and the cropped version with the 1.4.  These Canon L series lenses continue to amaze me.

Anyway, as you can see, those little hatchlings are real cuties.  I intend to go back in week or two and see if they are large enough to be standing on the edge of the nest.  You can click on the photo to see an enlargement.

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens w/1.4 teleconverter
  • Aperture Priority
  • 1/1000 sec. @ f10
  • ISO 3200
  • EV +2/3
  • Partial metering

Love those Hawks

I have this love of hawks and other raptors, regardless of the species.  I was riding around yesterday and spotted the top two birds.  The first is an American Kestrel. They are a cute but ferocious little bird.   He was perched in the top of a tree.  I hand-held my Canon 7D with a 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter attached.  Exposure information,1/1600 sec at f7.1, ISO 100.

American Kestrel

Later, out by O. C. Fisher Lake we saw this Red-Tailed Hawk sitting atop a sign.  I am especially fond of this image, as he was posed so naturally and I was relatively close to him.  Canon 7D with Canon 100-400mm lens, 1/1600 sec. at f6.3, ISO 150, -1/3 EV.

Red-tailed Hawk - jevenile

This Osprey was photographed two years ago near Lake Nasworthy, here in San Angelo.  There will be a story about this photograph this coming Thursday, as the Osprey will be the subject of my Bird of The Week series.  Watch for it. 

Osprey with catch

The all photos were edited in Photoshop Elements, but with the first two I also used Focus Magic, and Topaz DeNoise, and OnOne PhotoTune.  Three very good plug-ins.  Click on any image to see an enlargment.  Enjoy.

Happy Birding!!