Labor Day Weekend Observations

September 03, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Most of this Labor Day weekend was overcast, dreary, and very humid here in western Pennsylvania.  Once the clouds cleared and the threat of rain disappeared, I spent some time with a camera in hand.  Some of the following photos are taken in my backyard.  The Tufted Titmouse is a courageous little bird as it will come in close to humans to visit a feeder.  It has even been known to pull hair from sleeping cats and dogs to line its nest.

Tufted Titmouse

Tuffed Titmouse (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/500, ISO 400)

 

The House Finch is native to western North America.  Prior to the 1940's, the "Hollywood Finch" was brought east as an illegally captured bird.  Pet store owners released their birds to avoid fines, the birds adopted eastern North America as their new home, and we now get to enjoy the descendants of those released birds.

House Finch

House Finch (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/320, ISO 400)

 

I was sitting on the back porch watching two male American Goldfinch picking seeds from the Coneflower plants.  They didn't come into clear view; they always kept vegetation between us.  Here is a shot of one American Goldfinch with a mouth full of seeds shot through some blooming Phlox creating a purple vignette.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/400, ISO 400)

 

Throughout the summer I listened to the energetic song of the House Wren.  If you search this photo blog for the post entitled "On A Warm Summer's Eve", you will find a video that contains the bubbly songs that I heard all summer.  I have to wonder if this is one of the juveniles the summer songsters were protecting.

House Wren (Juvenile)

House Wren (Juvenile) (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/100, ISO 400)

 

Weighing in at about 1/8 of an ounce, this juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbird takes a break on the stem of a Bee Balm plant.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Juvenile) (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 2X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 600mm, 1/800, ISO 400)

 

If you've ever watched a Belted Kingfisher fishing for food, you will realize these birds are super fast.  I was lucky enough to have sufficient lighting to photograph this Kingfisher "fly by" at 1/1600 second.  The panning was a little off causing some blur but overall a successful shot considering their speed.

Belted Kingfisher

 Belted Kingfisher (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1600, ISO 320)

 

The Great Egret, the symbol for the National Audubon Society, is a dazzling sight in our wetlands.  Slightly smaller than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans.  They possess the same hunting characteristics as the classic heron, wading through wetlands to capture fish with their bill.  Migrating through western Pennsylvania in spring and again in the fall, this Egret was found in Lake Arthur (Moraine State Park).

Great Egret

Great Egret (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/1250, ISO 200)

 

My morning at Lake Arthur was very active.  Besides watching the Kingfisher hunt for breakfast amongst the many Cedar Waxwings hovering above the water catching insects, I watched an Osprey dive twice into the water (distance prevented me from getting shots that I'd want to share), and I got to watch the elegant Great Egret leave its hunting grounds for a flight around the lake.  To see more photos of this Great Egret view the Wading Birds gallery.

Great Egret

Great Egret (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/400, ISO 200)

 

Thanks for looking,

Dan


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