Indigo Bunting singing

For those of you who do not know David Akoubian one thing I can tell you for sure about him is that he’s a bird nut!  When we went on his Spring in the Smoky Mountains workshop, I was sure that we would be chasing birds and I was not disappointed.

David has an uncanny ability to spot birds and to identify them by their calls.  There were two species that we came across in Cades Cove that David showed a lot of interest in.  One was the Orchard Oriole that I posted an image of earlier.  The other was the Indigo Bunting that you see here.  The male bunting would fly up to a high branch and sing for the females who were gathering nesting material in the fields below.

They are not very big birds and since the day was quite overcast and they were perched up high, it was hard to get a good shot.  I got a few when he came down to look for something to eat but I like the featured shot above where he is in full song best.

Smoky Mountains-3572Smoky Mountains-3601

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/500 sec – ISO 800

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Backyard Bird Watching

Since getting my latest toy, the Tamron SP 150-600mm G2, I have been spending more time bird watching.  It really is amazing the sharpness that you can get with this lens and I am loving the close-up views I get of the common birds that I normally see only from a distance.

I need to figure out how to set up more places for the birds to perch in a natural looking area.  I’m finding that I can get some great shots at the feeders but I want more like this one with a natural background.  It’s either that or I need to develop a lot more patience.  It took quite a while for me to capture a few shots with birds in the trees where there was enough light and no leaves blocking the view.  Of course, being what they are, the birds don’t like when I move around so, that’s another challenge.

In any case, I like how this worked out.  This beautiful male cardinal was perched in a dogwood tree in the middle of my yard.  The males usually find a good spot to survey the area around the feeders and keep watch while the female comes down to eat.  I was lucky enough to spot this one on a branch that was not obstructed by other trees.

Good thing I like hanging out in the yard.  Looks like I may be doing this pretty often.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/125 sec – ISO 200

Look, I found a seed

I think Bird watching is even more fun when you can see them up-close.  This image is your basic backyard Nuthatch on a feeder.  From a distance, they’re cute to watch but when you can get close like this, you can actually see what’s going on!

I watched this guy for a while and waited for a moment when he would be in nice light and was doing something interesting.  It is definitely a waiting game but, I was happy with this shot.  Apparently, they like sunflower seeds the best because he had sorted through the other choices and grabbed this one in his beak.

Hope I get some good pointers on improving my bird photography when I’m on a workshop with David Akoubian this weekend.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/10 –  1/100 sec – ISO 400

Cooper’s Hawk

There are some beautiful birds at the Chattahoochee Nature Center that are amazing to see.  This is one of the three varieties of hawks that they have on display.  I wouldn’t call this a photographer’s paradise since the enclosures block direct sight and the animals often hide in the dark corners but they are magnificent creatures.

You can see how alert and aware this bird of prey is of movement around it.  The piercing orange eyes seem to look right through you.  I can just picture this bird with it’s wings spread wide, diving to grab up a small rodent and flying away with it’s prize.

Many of the animals here come to the Nature Center as rescues that could not survive in the wild and are nursed back to health by the staff.  I am just glad for the chance to see them and appreciate the grandeur of nature so near my own home.

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/11 –  1/20 sec – ISO 400