Monday, November 17, 2014

A Morning Out Birding as Winter Approaches

Yesterday, I joined a bird watching walk at my nearest wildlife preserve, which is called Banshee Reeks. The walk happens monthly, and is sponsored by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. (Click Here) to read about the organization. They host quite a number of interesting events.
I realized that the walk was happening at 7:35 AM; it started at 8:00 AM. I quickly grabbed my Lumix GX7 and 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS lens and headed out the door. A quick stop at Peets for my Saturday morning coffee, and away I went. I arrived just in time to join the group.
I really am a telephoto guy at heart. Though I've expanded my skills to include normal and wide angle lenses, from the start I've loved shooting long lenses. The 100-300 Lumix lens is a fantastic combination of long reach (600mm equivalent) and compact size. Because of the OIS vibration isolation, it's even more reasonable to use handheld.
Considering that it's winter, and the majority of migratory birds have already gone, we saw quite a range of birds: white throated sparrow, bluebird, fish crow, American crow, flicker, hawk (didn't get a good identification, but probably either red tailed or red shouldered), an immature bald eagle, mockingbird, plenty of robins. It's always great to go with someone like our tour leader Joe and his sidekick Del, who can spot and identify birds well beyond my capabilities.
Knowing that I had to get back home, after about an hour with the group I just wandered off into the forest and sat down. After a few minutes, I heard a single bird call. Then, I heard a different bird answer, much closer to where I was sitting. Within a few minutes, a small group of tufted titmouse had been drawn to an old hay bale, rolled off into the woods next to me.
I sat and enjoyed watching them for another ten minutes or so, and then got up, got the blood back into my legs, and began the walk back to the car.
I shot a few more pictures on the way back.
I think that telephoto lenses get underrated for their use in landscape photography.
Finally, coming around a corner in the trail, I got a quick shot off of this Mockingbird, against the blue autumn sky.
It was a very nice way to spend just a couple of hours on an autumn Saturday morning.