For a number of years now, at least since I’ve started taking pictures of birds, the American Kestrel has been one of those birds I’ve not had a lot of luck with. The smallest of the North Americas falcon species I see them all the time. Around where I live you’ll see them on electrical lines overlooking farm land. Now it’s one thing to see them from the quiet confines of your car, and it’s another to sneak up on foot to get a picture. They typically fly away if anyone gets close.
Today I was visiting Fernald Preserve to check out the ponds for waterfowl. And while I was driving through the preserve I noticed a American kestrel teed up on a small tree with the sun hitting it almost perfectly. So I pulled my car over and crept closer trying to get a good angle on the Kestrel. Now if I was on foot I never would have been able to get close, but being in a car awarded me with some really good looks.
If you’re not aware of this fact, I really dislike the summer we have here in the Ohio Valley. The heat and humidity will keep me indoors more than I prefer, however birding during these times can be challenging. Also I’ve been out of town helping my youngest get settled into his new apartment in Atlanta, which has put me on road 4 times so far this season. However fall migration is in full swing and good birds are showing up. As a matter of fact 6 American Aveocets were sighted at Caesar Creek just 2 days ago, alas they were gone the next morning.
However all is good with my Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that always keep me entertained as I try to capture them at my feeders. I have loads of pictures, but these few turned out the best. The only thing I’ve done to these pictures was crop them, and I think they’re pretty good.
Well it finally looks like the Ohio Valley is in for a nice warm up this coming week, however with this warm up we usually get some rain. It was during this deep freeze we were experiencing I was only able to go birding a couple of times. For the most lakes and ponds were still frozen over and finding any waterfowl proved to be pretty difficult.
As is the case when it becomes really cold, my feeders were very busy. So I kept my camera close at hand, and whenever the feeders started to draw a lot of birds I would sneak into the dining room and snap a few shots of my visitors.
Nothing unusual, just your normal feeder birds. But it’s so satisfying.
Female Northern Cardinal
The beauty of retirement is revealing itself as I start to take advantage of some of my favorite pastimes, like birding anytime I want.
I drove to Caesar Creek State Park to check the beach and the local gull flock to see if anything might show up a little unusual. To my surprise the beach was void of any gulls. They were all roosting on a temporary dock located a couple hundred yards off the beach. So I started to scan the beach and pick through all the Killdeers when I noticed 1 lone “Peep”. This one bird had my total focus for about 30 minutes as I positioned myself against the glare of the rising sun.
It may be only a Least Sandpiper, but the fact that it was all alone on this near empty beach drew me to it. I took dozens of photos, but I choose this one because of the way the sun hits it, and the contrast between the bird and the green stuff it was feeding in.
Granted, I normally don’t do a ton of birding during the Summer months because of the heat and humidity. However when the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feel comfortable with your presence when your just 8 feet from their feeder, well………..it makes for some pretty clear photographs.
As promised the remaining 5 of my top 10 bird photographs of this last year. Now to select which one I like best is like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most. However if someone was to twist my arm a little I would have to say it’s the last photograph of the lot.
f 8.0 1/1,600 ISO 640
f 6.5 1/640 ISO 800
f 6.5 1/640 ISO 500
f 6.5 1/640 ISO 1250
f 6.5 1/500 ISO 400