It’s that time of year when going out birding is a challenge and I’m not meeting the challenge very well. So here’s some Northern Mockingbird fledglings currently in our yard. They’re very vocal and insistent as well as cute and fluffy. Parents keep vigil in between feeding the demanding babies:
Stripey: “Yes, I’ll admit I would like to eat one.”
And a few more front yard beauties:
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Maybe about next Thursday I can head out during the cool spell…
American Kestrel, male
Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, male
Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male
Gilded Flicker or Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male
Gilded Flicker, female
Rosy-Faced Lovebird, juvenile
Anna’s Hummingbird, female
House Finches, female and male
*Note to birds: When posing for photos, please make sure there are no branches, leaves, cactus needles, string, or other obtrusive objects between you and the camera. Thank you.
House Finch, male
Less than a year ago, I got a new camera lens, a Nikkor 18-300mm that I love for its broad focal range, from wide angle to close-ups. I thought the 300mm would be such an improvement from my 200mm for birds and that I would never need another lens.
Wrong! I need a longer focal length for birds. So, while my 18-300mm will remain my main lens, I’ve now added the Sigma 150-500mm to my lineup~the Bigma! (Technically Sigma’s 50-500mm is the lens referred to as the “Bigma,” but this one is almost as long). Weighing in at a petite 4 pounds plus 1.5 pounds for my camera plus battery and straps, I can still handhold it because of its image stabilization feature…but after a couple of hours, it’s heavy.
The first two shots as well as these below were all taken with the Bigma at 500mm or close to it last week. Click photos to enlarge for detail.
Ring-Necked Duck drake
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
I’m pleased with the sharpness and there is a big difference, to me, between 300mm and 500mm when it comes to shooting birds. Anything longer than 500mm, I don’t think I can handhold so I think this will be my birding lens for a long time.
A few cat shots with the Bigma:
And I certainly don’t want to forget Ebony but his photo, below, was taken with the Rokinon 800mm Mirror Lens, also handheld. But that lens is much lighter because it’s a mirror lens.
And just because Marbles, Google, and Jessi didn’t want to be left out, here are some recent photos of them taken with my main lens.
The boys love to soak up the sun in front of an open door.
Jessi loves her bed and does not love the boys.
This Neotropic Cormorant was on the Arizona Canal that winds through the Phoenix area. Fortunately, although Phoenix is very urban, we do have a lot of parks, desert preserves, and riparian areas where wild animals can still hang out in a natural environment but many are just adapting to what we leave them. I don’t know what it is about shopping carts that makes people want to shove them in a canal but it’s a pretty common sight in the city. Some people are pigs.
He’s cute, though, and he can fly away from all these eyesores if he chooses.
“Why are you ruining my environment?”
One general feature of bird species that adapt well to urban environments is they tend to be the species with bigger brains, perhaps allowing them to be more adaptable to the changeable urban environment (BBC).
Ladder-Backed Woodpecker (my first)
I guess that means pigeons must have big brains inside those tiny, bobbing heads?