Another small bird in poor light, but a nice silhouette with the dried berry in his beak. I thought he might stay to eat more but moved into a tree with more cover. Maybe that dried berry wasn’t satisfying.
A pair of Great Blue Herons have started a nest in the “skinny tree.” On December 28 I posted that this tree hadn’t sparked much interest among the nesting birds.
These were shot with the Sony Alpha 6500, 55-210 mm lens at 1/1000 sec, 129mm.
The leafless trees in the background reflect a very harsh light which I toned down with Lightroom and Color FX Pro.
The male had a successful landing but the female had to brace herself to keep her footing.
This pair may only be testing each other out as mates. Despite bringing sticks for the nest and some attention to the female, the male flew off to take a stick to another tree. The female didn’t look pleased and eventually flew off and came back with her own stick.
Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the Sony Alpha 6500 for landscape images I’m spending some time working with the 55-200 mm lens for bird photos. Making adjustments is less intuitive than the Canon gear I’ve become accustomed to, but these Ibis were just hanging around which gave me some time to think about what I was doing.
In addition to the poser above, several Ibis were pecking at the edge of the pond. Their blue eyes are one of these birds’ claim to fame.
I don’t usually do this but in this last image I did edit out the poop on his back side. The White Ibis are so white that it just bothered me.
I’m making progress but more practice is definitely in order!
The sun was going down behind me and cast a pink glow in the east that reflected on the pond. The Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets were still sorting out their roosts for the night and a number of Cormorants had settled into the trees on the island.
The Yellow-rumped Warblers are elusive, raise the camera and zip, they are gone. Like most photographers of small birds I have plenty of shots of their “butter butts” disappearing into the underbrush.
On occasion they land in a twig free zone, and may even flip directions in the same spot, providing multiple views.
This one was a little puffed up to meet the cold of the day.
I had wandered away from the heron rookery when not much was going on. When I returned about an hour later this Great Blue Heron nest building action was unfolding. It was much darker in the shade than I anticipated but I didn’t want to risk loosing the stick presentation so didn’t change camera settings, ending up with underexposed images.
I liked the artsy silhouette look and look forward to another opportunity to get brighter images.
After the female gave the stick her approval the male lined it up for the pass off.
The female turned the stick…
…nearly wacking her mate in the head.
The female placed the stick in the nest while the male got a closer look and gave her a gentle nudge.
The male stood back as the female poked the stick into its proper place.
Click on any photo for larger view.
Hoping to look its best to a potential mate this Great Blue Heron spent considerable time preening, his breeding plumage fanned out in the wind.
The herons have considerable flexibility and stretching ability.
Primping done, he was ready at last to make the call.
There are small numbers of Teals, mostly Blue-winged, at the pond and there is plenty of duck weed to keep them fed. This pair decided to try the other end of the pond and took a low flight to get there.
Blue-winged TealsThe white line on the far shoreline is ice, the final remnant of our snow storm and cold snap.
This nest didn’t require as much updating to get ready for this years’ nesting season. It’s position in the V of solid tree branches may have helped it survive the summer and fall storms with more of its bulk intact. It’s always surprising how flimsy some of the successful nests look.
This was one of the first nests with serious Great Blue Heron activity a few weeks ago and now there is just a lot of waiting.
Click on photo for larger view.
Today had none of the brilliance of my last images from these spots: it was grey and few sprinkles of rain had graced us. But the pond was just as still and the reflections as clear.
Our recent cold weather has slowed the nesting activity with only a few herons tending to nests today.
Click on photo for larger view
Taken with the Sony Alpha 6500, 18-105 Lens, Processed in Lightroom and NIK Color FX Pro 4.