Birds of Edmonds, WA. 2020

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
This mystery finch appears to be a Daddy.

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I later caught what I believe to be a house finch "sharing" the feeder with a junco. Notice how much more orange this finch appears than the one in the photos above.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I missed getting a shot of the two finches perched together on the bird feeder, but I did get some separate shots.

The more orange of the two.

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The more red of the two.

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The red one flew down to the ground to forage for dropped safflower seeds.

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Sampling a seed from a plant growing under the feeders.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The neighborhood crows have been exhibiting some puzzling behavior of late. They have been harassing squirrels in my backyard, but I have not seen any signs of a nearby nest. Earlier Saturday morning I saw two of them carrying sticks. I thought this odd as it seemed a little late in the season for nest building.

Later Saturday two fledglings spent the afternoon on the branch of my backyard neighbor's fir tree. Periodically one of the parents would fly in with food. Barely evident in the photo are the young crows' blue eyes.

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Stretching a wing.

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Begging from its sibling.

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More wing stretching.

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Patiently waiting for a handout from Mom or Dad.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A female pileated woodpecker paid a visit that morning while I was eating breakfast. She was too high in the tree for a good shot after I retrieved my camera from the back room, but she returned later that afternoon. I suspect she is one of the nesting pair in nearby Pine Ridge Park.

When the pileateds land on the two Doug firs closest to the back deck, my best shots of the birds are taken with the 1DxII + 100-400L II telephoto zoom.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
These two uncropped shots, taken with the 5DIII + 600L telephoto + 1.4x teleconverter, barely include the entire bird and very little background.

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It does, however, get the bird close enough to do some creative cropping to highlight its various features, such as a powerful bill to penetrate the bark.

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Sharp claws to grip the bark.

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A tail structure that supports the bird so it can remain upright for a period of time while drilling into the bark.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Most photos I have taken of the bushtit pair have been while they were at the suet feeder. These are difficult shots to take with the 5DIII + 600L telephoto + 1.4x teleconverter. While this package gets me very close, there are lighting and depth of field problems inherent with its use.

I got lucky lucky and caught the male perched on my shed with my 1DxII + 100-400L II telephoto zoom.

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Back to the super telephoto combo for the female at the suet feeder.

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The 5DIII can handle high ISO settings quite well, but the shots start getting soft even at 1000 after close cropping. I have to start out with +1 exposure compensation before I even begin to tweak the photos during post processing on my computer.

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That's it for Saturday's session. Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!
 
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Terry O

Well-Known Member
Thanks, Bill. Great series of shots and lots of technical info...you are really fortunate to live so close to Pine Ridge park!
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
During times like these it is nice when the birds come to you.

Note: I feel that a one purpose of this website is to share and learn photography techniques. Many times I don't post up the photo techno info (cameras, lenses, settings, etc.) as most folks who view these photos are friends and relatives who not photographers.

If any members have questions along those lines, feel free to ask me by responding to this thread or sending me a PM. Just be sure to reference the specific photo or photos as closely as you can.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Happy Memorial Day

It looks as though it will be too rainy and cold to set up on the deck, so I will make do with grab shots as I check the back yard throughout the day.

A female flicker was hunting bugs in my neighbor's yard. As usual, I spooked her as soon as I approached the edge of my deck.

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A Bewick's wren was singing and hunting in the trees of my other neighbor. They have a very loud song for such a small bird.

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Terry O

Well-Known Member
Happy Memorial Day, Bill!
I like the flicker shots, especially. Beautiful colors with those red shafts showing. We had an ant problem. The flickers made short work of their ant hills. Btw I also really liked your previous juvie crow shots too.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
There was nothing exciting or unusual in the backyard Wednesday afternoon (6-6-2020), but it was nice to be out in the sunshine on the back deck.

A spotted towhee pair has been hanging out in the backyard this spring. I hope they nest somewhere nearby. The male was calling from a shrub.
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As much as I would like to see a purple finch, I think this is a male house finch.

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Juvie dark-eyed junco.

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In just a week nearly all of the rhododendrons have lost their blooms. No more pretty backgrounds for birds or squirrels on my back fence.

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A chestnut-backed chickadee on the Douglas fir closest to the deck.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I keep hoping one of the mystery finches will be a purple finch, but it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two. Here are comparative photos from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, an excellent website to help ID birds.

 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thursday afternoon (6-4-2020) from (where else) the back deck.

Pine siskins. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pine_Siskin/id
Pine siskins can be very aggressive and will scare off other birds from a feeder. These four were content to share the bird feeder with the resident house (?) finch for a few minutes.

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It appeared that this junco had a hook (?) attached to its head that was trailing some kind of filament. It shows the importance of properly disposing of things like fishing lines that may imperil birds and other wildlife.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
More from Thursday.

Flickers are very skittish, so I felt fortunate to get these shots of a female perched on one of my "habitat" trees. I don't know what this "yawning" behavior is. She did it several times.

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Scratching an itch.

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She grabbed a bite at the nearby suet feeder.

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Practicing birds in flight shots on a swallow. I do not recall swallows flying around our neighborhood in the past. I wonder if they are nesting at the nearby elementary school, which has seen no activity since the Covid-19 shutdown.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have not seen Dexter, my resident backyard Anna's hummingbird, in quite some time. A new hummer may be taking over my next door neighbor's back yard. My son had no sooner set out my my super telephoto setup when I saw what appeared to be a a young male Anna's feeding on my next door neighbor's flowers. I hastily got the camera in position for some grab shots.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The hummer checked out my hummingbird feeder twice, but did not land. I don't know if that was due to my close proximity or if the sugar solution had spoiled, so I cleaned the feeders and added new solution.

My location on the back deck was a bit too close to the feeder to use the 1DxII + 100-400L long range telephoto zoom, so I got out my 7DII + 70-200L midrange telephoto zoom. This is the "cheapie" f/4.0 model that I picked up used for a good price at Kenmore Camera. I seldom use it, but there are times when it is the perfect lens for the situation.

These shots were taken from the same location as the ones above taken with the super telephoto package. The 1.7x crop sensor of the 7DII helped me get "closer" even though I was shooting at 200mm focal length.

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The hummer spent a few minutes at the cleaned up feeder. I am definitely out of practice taking hummer at the feeder shots., as this is the only one that turned out halfway decent.

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Terry O

Well-Known Member
Looks like a tough angle for your feeder shots. Most of my shots have been through my office window - feels like ‘cheating’.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The hummer made more trips to the flowers, which I photographed with the super telephoto setup.

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I mentioned that the hummer was staking out my neighbor's back yard. Between trips to their flowers, it would fly to a corner of their back yard and call out. Twice it strafed other birds that were perched on a fence or bush in much the same way a mature male will "J" dive another male Anna's.

In this photo, taken with the 7DII + 70-200L zoom, it was hovering above a black-capped chickadee perched on one of my shrubs. It strafed the chickadee twice, but the chickadee took no notice.

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I hope this guy takes up residence as it will be fun to photograph a hummer in action once again.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Looks like a tough angle for your feeder shots. Most of my shots have been through my office window - feels like ‘cheating’.
It was tough switching among three camera + lens combos and several positions depending on the hummer's location. I got some shots of the hummer approaching the feeder, but the bird was out of focus due to the auto focus setting I was iusing on the 7DII. As I said, I am out of practice shooting hummers at the feeders.
 
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