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More Birds from Last Week

While I take a break from shovelling the snow from around the car -at least one foot of it – I would like to share some photos of the birds that I saw near the feeders at Hawrelak Park in the last week.

The first few were shot using Aperture Priority, the woodpecker in Shutter priority and the squirrel in Manual mode. I have been experimenting  with modes, departing from using  my usual manual mode because sometimes the birds move so fast or the light changes so quickly that one less button to adjust might come in handy. It is nice to have a narrow depth of field but more likely that parts of the bird will be out of focus when it is moving so much so better to shut down the aperture somewhat from f/6 to f/8.  I find too, that being zoomed- in totally gives me a better chance of losing parts of the planned composition.When I need the fast shutter speed I turn up the ISO. Live and learn.What mode do you shoot birds in?

Mostly I like to get a shot of a bird when it lands on a branch before or after going to the feeder but in the case of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, it was too well-hidden in the branches and very evasive.

There was a White-breasted Nuthatch.


as well as a Red-breasted Nuthatch. I once had one of these land in my hand while I was feeding the chickadees.


Some Common Redpolls:


and a few  Black-Capped Chickadees. Although I can not see this one’s face, I like seeing how it holds the seed between its feet so it can break the husk off.Image

Here is a different view of a Hairy Woodpecker feeding at the suet feeder:


and one with a Chickadee flying away that has no still, in-focus parts, but I like the action:


And of course, though it is not always welcome,  I had to include a Red Squirrel. Took this shot using manual mode and do admit is is somewhat over-exposed in spots:


I am looking forward to going back to the park but first need to dig myself out. Usually there is lots of activity at the feeders after a big snowfall.

White-breasted Nuthatch

 I saw a white-breasted Nuthatch  recently while chasing the warblers and it was not in a tree where I usually see them but was feeding on the ground.These creatures are smart; observed one take a peanut, wedge it in between the ridges of the bark of a tree trunk and once secured, broke the shell open.This photo is getting posted because it appears to be the best. We had a couple of days of rain which mostly kept me indoors and am looking forward to getting out birding again but need to take my car to the garage . If I get it in early it may allow me time to go to the park. No more procrastination. 

©Jane Chesebrough

My Definition of a Good Day

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My definition  of a good day for me is being outdoors and getting close to the creatures of the wild, even the smallest ones.It is a very good day when I see a few species that I don’t always get to see. This one day I took a small bit of birdseed and my camera to a bird feeder in a  local park and saw a red breasted nuthatch, a white-breasted nuthatch, chickadees, a red squirrel, a downy woodpecker and a piliated woodpecker all in the same area!  I say a small bit of  birdseed, because, while it is a thrill to have these small creatures land in my hand to take a seed or two, they are wild and I don’t want to enable them to rely on humans so much that they forgo their natural abilities. Besides, it is impossible for me  to take a picture when they are flying right at me, too close to the lens to get a shot. Some photos were taken with a 18-55mm lens, others with a Sigma 70-300mm lens.

It is great to combine my love of photography with my love of birds and a priority for me once I bought my DSLR a couple of years ago was to buy a zoom lens to get closer shots of the  birds-I did buy the lens- a cheap one- but it works for me. I can reduce camera shake by using high speed shutter settings or will “cheat” sometimes and take photos in the sports mode. I am so grateful to get out for walks in nature and get close to the inhabitants of the land, as well as to enjoy the land itself, to breathe fresh air, to get exercise and practise seeing the world in a different perspective. I am truly living ” in the moment” and feel free of all the distractions and stresses of the  rest of my world.

It is a moment with my Creator, other creatures and with my self. Whatever the weather, I come back from a trip to nature feeling refreshed and happy.