I was sitting in deep shade with the sun beginning to set, but there was plenty of soft cool light when this Tufted Titmouse landed in a bit of a thicket not far away. Initially, I sat still, then slowly raised my camera into position just as he began his evening song.
Female Northern Cardinal
It surprised me how quietly this female Northern Cardinal landed in a thicket of pointy brambles. If not for the motion, I wouldn't even have noticed her. It makes me wonder how many birds I miss because I'm not looking or miss subtle movements.
Male Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker
This male Northern Flicker was digging up ants and beetles on the ground when he flew to this branch. He didn't seem to mind me, so I'm not sure why he flew up, but I was grateful as I couldn't have gotten as good a shot of him on the ground as I did in this tree.
Black and White Warbler
This Black-and-white Warbler proved just how fast their longer hind claw and sturdier legs make them. He climbed up and down trees, circling branches like a nuthatch, fun to watch but difficult to follow with the camera. I got this shot as he paused between trees.
I remember the summer I discovered the Dickcissel with its distinct song, colors, and markings. This grassland bunting is a bit of a wanderer and may not appear in the same location each year. I haven't seen one since and wonder if anyone here observes this bird often.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is still my granddaughter's (4) favorite bird. On a recent walk with her Nana, she proudly pointed out two Red-headed Woodpeckers, explaining that "Granddaddy taught me." Something tells me it's going to be my favorite bird too.
The striking Rufous-crowned Sparrow usually calls from a high perch; this one was calling on the ground. I was fortunate to catch it foraging in the open as it prefers to stay under cover of brush. This bird doesn't migrate, so you have to go where it lives.
Male American Kestrel
I was driving back from a birding outing when I saw this male American Kestrel across the other lane. There was no other traffic, so I slowed to a stop and opened my window. With my camera ready, I leaned out the window a bit and got this shot.
Male Downy Woodpecker
I was returning from a morning walk through an open field that narrowed to the path out. I had heard some kind of woodpecker calling in the woods. Just as I reached the trees, this little male Downy Woodpecker landed nearby. I barely got this shot before he disappeared again.
I had just finished photographing another bird when this Ash-throated Flycatcher appeared in the distance. It was so far away I rarely even take the shot, but I knew it was a new bird for me, so I clicked away and was able to salvage this.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird
I watched this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird fly to flowers and a feeder in a garden. She often returned to an area which had a lot of plants. This was the best shot I could get because she always faced towards the plants, thwarting any chance of getting a frontal shot.
Abert's Towhee lives year-round almost exclusively in Arizona. Similar to California and Canyon Towhees, it's distinguished by the black patch around its beak. I had been sitting for about an hour when it came out and started turning over ground litter looking for insects.
Male Vermilion Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatchers will often rotate between a small number of trees, so when I saw this male in the distance, I waited patiently to discover his route. While he was away from his preferred perch, I positioned myself within camera range and got this shot when he returned.
Male American Redstart
West TN is just within the breeding area of the American Redstart, so I was excited to see this male flashing his wings and tail to startle up insects. Thankfully, it's easy to spot this warbler when it's bright orange and black feathers are quickly flicking.
Male Red-winged Blackbird
Every time I walk along a river I listen for the Red-winged Blackbird. Once you learn its call, listening is a surer way to find one than looking. That's how I found this male, and no wonder he was singing so proudly, his mate was nearby.
Female Blue Grosbeak
I continue to search for the male Blue Grosbeak, but this beautiful little lady is the female. Her presence gives me hope her counterpart is nearby. She was patient with me, perhaps sensing my eagerness and wanting to give me a break since I haven't seen one in years.
The Gray Catbird is the epitome of dapper, looking so formal with its tasteful yet straightforward gray body, highlighted with a stylish dark crown and dashing with its cinnamon undertail coverts. And still, it's a shy bird that comes out of the dense shrubs reluctantly.
This Common Ground-Dove is the size of a Sparrow and can quickly disappear in the grass. That can make them challenging to photograph, so I was excited to see this one hop up on a wooden plank well within camera range. I zoomed in for a closeup to show off its camouflage colors.
I spent a lot of time in the Sonoran Desert in Saguaro Cactus forests looking for birds like this male Gilded Flicker. It lives within a very narrow range of the US, and is likely to fly away at any approach. I got this one at the top of a distant Saguaro about 40 feet tall.
Male Orchard Oriole
I was having a picnic lunch in a park when I spotted this male Orchard Oriole, so I was quickly off to take a photo. It took a while to catch him in the open. When I got back, ants had claimed the rest of my lunch, but I considered it a fair trade for this shot.
The Curve-billed Thrasher usually stays 100 feet away. This shy bird has a sweet disposition and will serenade you...at a distance. That's why I was surprised when this one landed on a nearby cactus. He didn't sing, and he didn't stay, but I still felt blessed.
I was waiting for a plain little bird on the ground to hop into camera range when this Acorn Woodpecker landed on a nearby tree. I quickly turned my camera towards this more colorful bird and got this shot. He soon flew out of camera range, proving again there is no substitute for being prepared.
This male Bushtit was a new bird for me. I caught him gleaning insects from this evergreen tree, but he flew away as soon as I pointed the camera at him. I would have loved to spend more time with this cute little bird or his mate, which had pretty pale eyes.
This Pine Siskin was one several in the area chattering away when it flew to this open branch. They seldom stay still, so I had to click the shutter quickly before it was gone. I've always liked their simple yellow adornment that flashes when they explode into flight.
I was waiting for another bird when this Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay landed nearby, but at an unfortunate angle. I couldn't get a shot. As if he read my mind, he jumped up on this rock and gave me a backward glance before flying away, leaving me with the best photo of the day.
The Phainopepla is a lovely bird of the desert southwest. I noticed a pair in a small garden feeding on Mistletoe and chose a position nearby. I waited patiently for this territorial bird to check me out and was rewarded with this shot of the male peering at me across the fence.
Male Summer Tanager
The first male Summer Tanager of the season is always a shock to me. The mottled yellowish-olive and red pattern of spring molting is stunning. I had to shoot this in near dark conditions, so it's a bit noisy and doesn't do justice to this typically all red always beautiful bird.
White-tailed Kite with prey
I initially saw this White-tailed Kite as a white speck bobbing up and down on a tiny tree in a large field of tall grass and weeds. The wind was relentless as I slowly approached. When I got close enough to see he had fresh prey, I took a few photos and retreated the way I came.
Male Northern Cardinal
This male Northern Cardinal was one of three in the area. There was also a female, so I was surprised the males were not harassing one another. This one tended to stay still and keep a low profile, which allowed me to capture him looking unusually relaxed.
Male Indigo Bunting
The Indigo Buntings have returned. Even though this beautiful bird doesn't jump around as much as others, it can still be difficult to photograph because it likes to hide out in the dense brush. I had to wait several minutes for this one to move to an open branch.
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
It's important to capture migrating birds ASAP as they may be gone the next day, so I knew I had to focus on this and another male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. They seldom landed in the open but I eventually captured this one in good light.
I spent a year looking for the Ruby-crowned Kinglet without really taking the time to study it. When I finally researched it exhaustively, I started finding it everywhere. So, I wasn't surprised when I saw this one in the desert, but I was delighted.
While traveling, I was excited to see this Spotted Towhee of the west feeding on the ground with sparrows. I was even more excited when it hopped up on this rock so I could capture it in isolation. It didn't stay long so if I hadn't taken this shot I would have missed it.
This Red-bellied Woodpecker was a pleasant surprise as we traveled back towards our home area, but I'm not sure what to make of the ruby red spot in the middle of the forehead. I'm not sure if it's a female or a male that has not filled in completely in red.
Female Ladder-backed Woodpecker
I was amazed at how much is going on in this photo with this female Ladder-backed Woodpecker lapping up insect eggs, bracing herself as woodpeckers do with her tail against a thorn below and dingy from spending time in trees and bushes involved in an earlier fire.
Juvenile Piping Plover
This juvenile Piping Plover looks like a lazy bird until it moves, and then it's all darting energy in search of food. I could only follow it with my camera and wouldn't attempt to keep pace as it outstripped other birds down the beach. I got this shot in a rare pause.
Dark-eyed Junco - Oregon variety
The colors of the Oregon variety of Dark-eyed Junco are very different from the Slate-colored common in the east, so I was excited to see this one hopping around on the ground. I waited for the perfect moment to get a photo and took this shot when he jumped up on a rock.
I'm always looking for more and better to share with you, so when out of the corner of my eye I caught this Broad-winged Hawk landing, I was both excited and disappointed. He was gone in seconds, and all I got was this sideways glance between the branches.
Is it possible this Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was singing even more passionately because he was in a blooming Dogwood Tree? He was so intent on his singing that he paid little attention to me, but it was impossible to ignore him with his bright and high pitched voice.
I wasn't sure I would ever see the Black-crested Titmouse because it lives primarily in Texas and Mexico, so I was pretty excited when I saw one for the first time. Dense foliage initially obscured him, but I was able to move slowly to the right a few feet to get this view.
When I stopped to ponder my next birding move, I noticed this Killdeer (plover) drop down behind a concrete barrier. I got my camera ready in case he returned. A minute or so later he hopped up on one end and ran to this spot. That's when I captured him in such lovely light.
This Barred Owl was a challenge to photograph because she was in such low light. While I was taking photos, she slowly closed her eyes and took a nap. It was wonderful to see her so relaxed, and this is how I left her.
little Blue Heron
This Little Blue Heron was hunting for food when it froze in this position for a couple of seconds. That's when I got this shot. While it looks bluer in cooler light, I love the way the golden reflected light of the setting sun gave him a warm glow.
Canada Good Gosling
This Canada Goose gosling was away from the others and chose to nestle in lovely light. Happy Easter to all who celebrate and thanks to each of you for encouraging me with your likes, retweets, and kind comments. I know I'm supported by the nicest people on Twitter.
This Lesser Goldfinch was in a nearby tree with dense foliage when something startled it to this tree with more open branches. It was early afternoon, and the sunlight reflected off the sparsely covered ground, lighting up its bright yellow feathers underneath.