Ruby Throated Hummingbird

This weekend has been a lot of fun photographing the hummers. At one point we had as many as 4 battling for supremacy in skies over the feeders. The most interesting has been what I assume is a male Ruby Throated Hummingbird who comes in much less frequently than the others.

These birds are fiercely territorial. The hummer in my initial batch of photos has laid claim to the feeders. He will sit atop the crook that holds the feeders or in the nearby Meyer’s Lemon Tree and chases off any interlopers that venture into his domain. Sadly, the Ruby Throated gets chased off every time he shows up so we don’t see him often, and when we do see him he only stays for a few moments.

Still, I have managed to capture a few good shots as evidenced in the previous post and here are two more.

In this picture will notice how he strains his neck as he scans for the dominant hummer

Ruby Throated

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Ruby Throated

And In this picture you can see he doesn’t even land on the perch, choosing instead to hover for a better chance at a quick getaway should the Bully of Hummertown return.

Ruby Throated

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Ruby Throated

Be sure and click the above images to see a larger, more detailed photo.

I can’t say enough good things about the Sony SAL-70300G lens I have been using. Sharp as a tack and the IQ is phenomenal when using it to focus and track such small and fast moving targets.

The Honeypot

Hummingbird Honeypot

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Hummingbird Honeypot

Once the feeders have been up for awhile you get a sense of which of the perches they’ll tend to favorite. This allows me to setup the camera on a tripod, take aim and wait with the wired remote in hand.

This was shot with the flash and using the 70-300G lens

Hummingbird w/flash

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Hummingbird w/flash

This was shot with no flash using the 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens

Hummingbird w/macro

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Hummingbird w/macro

And this was with the 500mm Reflex and no flash.

Hummingbird w/Reflex

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Hummingbird w/Reflex

Backyard Birding Report – Aug. 9th, 2009

I was sleeping in on a Sunday. Cynthia was kind enough to close the bedroom door while she worked around the house and I was snoozing quite soundly when the bedroom door was flung open and Cynthia ran in, urgently telling me to get out of bed and saying “come quickly for birdage!”

There’s a tone Cynthia gets when it’s important. I respond on a very subconscious level to this tone. I knew something was up and it was important so I jumped out of bed and followed Cynthia to breakfast room.

She pointed to the window saying “It’s an Eagle or something!!”

I looked and there was no Eagle. But there was Hawk sitting on the fence that divides the back patio from the driveway. What a sight!

The blinds were down with the slats open so you could see out the window but it was not ideal for a photograph. I knew that if we were to raise the blinds the hawk would probably just fly away. If I had any hope of getting a photo of this guy I would need to do it through the blinds without moving them at all.

Fortunately for me, my camera was on the table and already mounted with my Sony SAL-70-300G lens. This lens is pretty remarkable and I was counting on it to be able to spot focus on the bird THROUGH the blinds. It was the only chance I would have.

I grabbed the camera, switched it on and quickly made the necessary adjustments and fired off two quick shots before the hawk flew off.

This is either a juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk. I am betting it’s a Cooper’s.

The blinds make the shot a little on the soft side but all in all, it came out pretty well I think. Especially considering I went from sleeping soundly to shooting this picture in probably less than 60 or so seconds.

The last time I got a shot of a Hawk was back in 2007 at West 11th St. Park in The Heights and I have been itching to get something like this ever since I noticed him flying around the neighborhood.

Backyard Bird Report – May 25, 2009

Gus (the guy over at swamplot.com who keeps “borrowing” content from baldheretic.com) has dubbed me the “Stay At Home Nature Photographer” which I suppose is in reference to the number of pics I take around the house of the birds and so forth. All in good fun, I’m sure.

This holiday weekend we had the usual suspects. House Finches, a mob of House Sparrows and numerous doves rule the day.

The Carolina Wren has been getting braver and braver, especially since we discovered his weakness for Orange Delight suet.

Mr Blue Jay continues to be elusive. He zips in and out pretty quickly. Seems awful skittish for such a well known bully of a bird.

In a revolting turn of events, a few lowly and undesirable Grackles have broken with the Westheimer tradition and have begun wandering into the residential areas and have found there way into our yard.

They seem to be raiding the neighbors dog food bowl and bringing the food to our birdbath for processing.

All of today’s shots were taken using the Sony 70-300G lens.

Stop Making All That Racket!

Sapsucker or Woodpecker?

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Sapsucker or Woodpecker?

Sapsucker or Woodpecker?

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Sapsucker or Woodpecker?

I was in my home office this morning and heard this guy outside. He was pecking to beat the band. I believe him to be a sapsucker as spotted previously but I could be mistaken. More likely a Downy Woodpecker which seems more common. He’s very high up in the neighbor’s tree, but the SAL-70300G did a fine job in the bright, early morning sun.