When I first saw this Verdin, it was on the other side of a wire fence. I wanted to get a shot of it, so I waited, hoping it would fly to a higher perch. I eventually saw another bird and was about to move on when up it flew, gave me this big eye look, and I got this shot.
Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay is typically a western resident of Pine trees, but I found this one in dense brush. While I could see him in the tangle of limbs, his head or body was often blocked from view. I finally got a shot when he hopped up on this rock within the bushes.
Little Blue Heron
This Little Blue Heron had been wading in nearby water out of camera range when it flew to this tree. The bows were thin and springy, so it took him a while to get settled. Once he did, I got this shot and then spent a little time with him before he moved on again.
I had been running errands all day but was determined to go birding. The sun was going down and after 45 fruitless minutes, I was getting discouraged. Then I heard the distinct call of the Red-winged Blackbird. I got this shot just as the sun touched the horizon.
Male Eastern Towhee
I watched as a female Eastern Towhee almost emerged from the brush. She didn't venture out, but this male did. I think he was intent on warding off potential rivals. I observed this silent ritual play out until sunset when the male disappeared into the brush.
This Canada Goose was a surprise find as I walked along a river. It was swimming with others but held back a bit watching me closely. He might have been a sentry but didn't call out. I like the way the reflections from the midday sun lit the bird from all sides.
This Mountain Bluebird is a good example of why the light is so important. The harsh light of high noon was being filtered through a thin canopy, with some reflected light from below. The rather strong dappled sunlight shows how much deeper the color is in the shade.
The call of the Common Raven is unmistakable and represents diverse behaviors, ranging from chasing away a predator, to just being social. However, their black plumage makes it challenging to photograph them against a bright midday background.
Great Blue Heron, white form
I walked up a high platform in the Florida Keys, but there were no birds in camera range. I waited and this white form of the Great Blue Heron landed below. I was about to take his photo when he took off. It was challenging, but I was able to get this shot.
Female Eastern Bluebird
Last month it was cold and windy enough to keep me inside, but clearing skies and a little sunshine lured me out. There didn't seem to be many birds stirring until I settled into a spot and waited. Eventually, this Eastern Bluebird made the rounds, and I got this shot.
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Audubon's Variety
I'm always excited to see this Audubon's variety of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. I like the extra touches of yellow and bold black, gray, and white markings. So, I was happy to find this one in western Wyoming working the branches and pausing just enough to get this shot.
Male Red-breasted Nuthatch
I've seen more Red-breasted Nuthatches than I've been able to photograph because they seem to move continuously. They are migrants in TN and rarely seen. I found this male in WY during my travels out west. They're fun to watch but challenging to photograph.
I watched from the edge of a field of tall grass, dotted with stone outcroppings. A couple of Black-billed Magpies flew from one rock to another, occasionally scaring up insects before moving on. Suddenly another Magpie flew from somewhere behind me and landed nearby.
I found this American Coot in a southwest Texas pond where rippling water reflected the green and yellowing reeds that bordered it. I got this shot just after a dive. The sky was lightly overcast, filtering the usually bright sunlight that lit the water on its back.
This Killdeer (Plover) was running along the ground in short bursts and calling as usual. These shorebirds can be found in arid places far from any beach. They don't always run away unless there is a nest or young nearby. They can swim, but I've never seen one in water.
Florida Red-shouldered Hawk
It had been recently raining when this Florida Red-shouldered Hawk flew to this perch. He had not completely dried yet as he started scanning the area of dinner. I think he knew lots of wildlife, both predators and prey, come out after a rain to catch up on eating.
I love the Sparrows that winter brings to TN, but admit a constant sea of brown leaves me wanting. That's when I think ahead to warmer days when birds like this Prothonotary Warbler will fill add their call to the chorus, and the trees will once again be dotted with color.
A small flock of Cattle Egrets in flight
I was looking for individual birds when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. A small flock of Cattle Egrets originally out of camera range took off. I panned the camera with their flight path and captured them as they flew in front of me toward the setting sun.
I scaled down a steep rock wall and set up to photograph another bird when this Northern Waterthrush complained about my presence. I didn't want to stress the Waterthrush, but let him fuss a minute. After I got back up the wall, I turned and got this distant parting shot.
As I walked across a one-lane wooden bridge, I saw this Cedar Waxwing dipping down towards the water for flying insects. He always returned to this perch. As I got closer, he didn't fly away, so I stopped and got a few distant shots before moving on.
With late afternoon sunlight filtered through a thinning overcast sky and plain background, this Northern Mockingbird almost became a work in black and white. He was initially perched on a distant brush pile but flew to this fence, and that's when I got this shot.
I found this Eastern Phoebe when I would typically have called it a day. It had been overcast, and I hadn't gotten much that day. Then as the sunset, it peeked below the clouds and warmed the otherwise cool scene in a little last-minute warm light.
Female Black-chinned Hummingbird
I got a couple of birds and was about to start rambling around when this female Black-chinned Hummingbird started working a nearby bush. I assumed she would fly away before I could get a shot, but she perched briefly before moving away. It was all over in seconds.
I like Vireos and look for them everywhere I go. This Red-eyed Vireo is common in much of the eastern and northern US, but I only see one or two a year. They seem to blend into the canopy, but I caught this one on a lower limb and was able to get this shot.
Occasionally, I do startle a bird. It's always unintentional, but so many things can do it, camera movement, etc. I think that happened with this Hermit Thrush. It was foraging on the ground and suddenly jumped up on this low branch, but not flying away.
Female Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Not wanting to spook this female Golden-fronted Woodpecker, I leaned as far left as I could to get this shot before she climbed out of sight. Her front is plain white, so I really like this side/back view, which I think is much more interesting than a frontal pose.
The Rock Wren is a western bird I enjoy watching and photographing. It has several characteristics of other wrens so you can tell pretty quickly that it's a wren. I caught this one in the direct light of a sunset, but have noticed this bird looks gray when backlit.
I discovered the Green-tailed Towhee last year in the desert southwest. Sometimes I would get brief glimpses of it, but not photos. When I could manage a shot, it was usually in the densest part of the bush with deep shadows. I really hope to get back and try again.
I saw this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in early fall foliage, but he preferred to be on the opposite side of the tree. After a couple of steps, I realized trying to keep up with him wouldn't work, so I just waited. He eventually came back into view again a little further up.
This Barred Owl was so still and quiet, I almost missed it. I would have preferred a more interesting sky, but it was overcast, and the setting sun was invisible behind the clouds. Still, I felt fortunate to catch him with his powerful claws clearly visible.
It was heavily overcast as I drove around, seeing only birds out of range. I decided to stop and wait. After a while, this Orange-crowned Warbler worked its way through low branches, briefly stopping in front of me. There's nothing like a warbler to brighten the day.
I had successfully photographed a female Western Bluebird but tried in vain to capture a male. I was about to try and get shot of this female when her mate joined her. I refocused on the male just as she was expressing her opinion about something.
The Pine Siskin is in motion about 90% of the time, and this one was no exception. I was fortunate to catch it on an open perch, with green foliage further in the background. Just before it took off, it gave me a goodbye look that completed this profile shot.