24 October 2009

Porch Birding, Fallout-Style

i'm still in wonder over what just happened. minding my own business, i watched something i'd never seen in my forest backyard before: dozens of warblers (mostly townsend's first-winters (according to Sibley), though a few adults were mixed in), maybe 50-60 black-cap, chestnut-back chickadees, and red-breasted nuthatches, three anna's hummers, and more than a dozen ruby-crowned kinglets, all feeding together on a very few trees just off my porch. all of them were in a frenzy, rarely staying in one spot more than 1-2 seconds; you can imagine how many photos were taken of empty branches and blurred wings. it wasn't a pretty sight.

things were so hectic for a moment that, while i was shooting, i had a nuthatch land on the lip of my lens cap and stay there for about 20 seconds, apparently watching itself in the camera lens.  a few minutes later, a warbler landed just two feet away from me on the porch rail next to the suet feeder; we stared at each other, neither moving, for about 15 seconds before he decided i was too close...

also seen:  juncos, bushtits, and a few steller's jays in the deciduous trees outside the chaos.  i thought there might have been a mountain chickadee in that mix, but my photographs don't show one.  i was probably fooled by nuthatches in halloween costume...

according to the timestamps on the photos, the whole event lasted about 425 megabytes of pixels (about 17 minutes)...



and, like that, they were gone...

6 comments:

Kerri said...

Sounds like a FABULOUS experience!!
LOVE the post and the wonderful pics!

forestal said...

must have been wonderful to see. great photos

Monika said...

I found my way here through your post on Tweeters. What a cool experience! How funny the nuthatch actually landed on the lens.

Isn't it fun to go through your photos after an encounter like that? You got some nice warbler shots. My favorite is the third one.

TravelGirl said...

it was definitely a wonderful experience. warblers have always been a problem photograph for me, so to be gifted with such beauties was heaven...

WildLifeMargrit said...

Just found your blog via BirdLife. Awesome shots! What camera and lens did you use? I'm just starting into digital SLR wildlife/nature photography

TravelGirl said...

Margrit, I typically use a 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens from Canon, one of the cream lenses that are much prized, mounted (the past few years, anyway) to a Canon 5D body. Sometime in the next year, I will decide whether I will move up to a 5D mark II, or to a 7D (mostly for the HD video capability).

Thank you for the kind words :)