Maine! Red-tail close overhead

Red-tailed Hawk: York County, Maine, USA — I have seen this Red-tailed Hawk in our neighborhood three times now, enough to think it might have a nest somewhere close-by. On Google Earth our neighborhood looks like pretty much unbroken forest so it could be anywhere. This hawk was circling close overhead, and apparently circling me, so I got good looks at it…but only saw the mouse when processing the photos. I don’t know what its interest in me was. It already had its breakfast. OM System OM-1Mkii with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and Photo quality.

Costa Rica! Violetear acrobatics

Lesser Violetear Hummingbird: Batsu Gardens, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — a few more shots from the flower set-up at Batsu Gardens, on the mountain- side high above Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa. On the day we visited, in the misty rain, it was mostly Talamancas and Lesser Violetears. The Lesser Violetear is probably the most common hummingbird in Costa Rica at all elevations up to Cloud Forest. They are super active and aggressive defenders of nectar sources. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 570mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Maine! More of that bluebird attitude

Eastern Bluebird: York County, Maine, USA, April 2024 — The male Bluebirds are getting bright and a bit feisty as breeding season starts here in Southern Maine. They are a bird that always shows a lot of attitude. This one is pretty obviously full of itself and all puffed up. OM Systems OM-1Mkii with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Florida! Rosey preening in the early light

Roseate Spoonbill: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — Sometimes it is just (mostly) about color and light. Unless you know you might not even recognize one of these shots as a Roseate Spoonbill for sure. The second shot is more obvious but it is still really more about what the early morning backlight does to the feathers and to the colors, than it is about the bird. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800 and 454mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds in fight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Maine! Song Sparrow Season

Song Sparrow: York County, Maine, USA, April 2024 — When the Song Sparrows return to the back side of dunes at our local beach it is a sure sign of the advancing spring. You hear their songs as soon as you get out of the car and they are not hard to track down for a portrait. This one popped up and sang right beside me as I was watching one further off the other direction. Nice bird. OM System OM-1Mkii with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Costa Rica! Talamanca in the rain

Talamanca Hummingbird: Batsu Gardens, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — Batsu Gardens, high on the mountain-side above Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa in San Geraldo de Dota, was specifically designed for bird photography. There are two permanent metal roofed awnings for shelter from the rain when it comes…one primarily purposed for Hummingbird photography and one facing the moss covered structure against the backdrop of the mountains across the valley designed for the fruit and seed eaters. Generally Felipe Chacon, grandson of the original settlers in the Savegre Valley, and the garden’s creator, picks you up at the Hotel in a 4 wheel drive van for the sharp climb to the gardens, and then sets out an array of fresh flowers from the gardens to attract hummingbirds against a backdrop of the slope behind. You can have a cup of coffee or use the clean and pleasant rest rooms close by while you wait. He also puts out fresh fruit in front of the other pavilion, so you have your choice. There will always be hummingbird action near both awnings. We drew a partially rainy day with not the best light, but it is still possible to photograph the hummers without flash. This the Talamanca coming in to the set-up flowers in the rain. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 506mm equivalent (the hummingbirds are close!). Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. In the low light I was shooting at ISO 25600 to 32000 to get a shutter speed of 1/1600. I would, of course, have preferred a lower ISO and even higher shutter speed but we work with what we are given. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Maine! Pioneer

Piping Plover: York County, Maine, USA, April 2024 — I went down to the beach yesterday specifically to check to see if there were any Piping Plovers yet. A Maine Audubon post said they were back and reminded folks to give them space, but it seemed very early to me. On a long stretch of beach with two breeding areas I found only this one Piping Plover…maybe a pioneer or a forward scout. He will find the beach much changed since the winter and spring storms, but hopefully it will not impact the breeding sites. They are not taped off yet, and indeed, with the beach so changed, it is hard to determine exactly where the plovers might nest. As always these shot were taken at 800mm equivalent and cropped in to at least 1600mm equivalent. I was not nearly as close to this bird as it looks, and I did not walk through the area where it was feeding. Give them space. 🙂 OM System OM-1Mkii with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Still early morning light. Processed in Photomator.

Florida! Snowy

Snowy Egret: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — After my active session with the frenzy of Snowy Egrets dancing on the water it was nice to find this one quietly feeding the shallow pools. Another aspect of Snowy Egret beauty altogether. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 732mm and 570mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Maine! Nutty

White-breasted Nuthatch: York County, Maine, USA, April 2024 — We see the White-breasted Nuthatch on our back deck under and on the feeders every day…but I like to catch them away from the feeders when I can. This one flew in and landed on the bittersweet vine (the biggest bittersweet vine I have ever seen) that grows up the pine at the edge of our lot while I was sitting in my camp chair waiting on the birds. OM System OM-1Mkii with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Costa Rica! Flames

Flame-colored Tanager: Feathers Garden, Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — I am not sure either the male or female Flame-colored Tanager is exactly flame-colored. Certainly very orange and very yellow, but I think of flame as having a bit more red to it, along with the orange and yellow hews from the flame tips. Still, I learned long ago not to expect precision, or even logic, from bird names. Whatever, the Flame-colored Tanager is a striking bird of the foothills and highlands of Mexico and Central America. In Costa Rica it is a bird of the Cloud Forests and is one of the most common birds at feeders at all elevations in Savegre River valley. And always a welcome addition to any afternoon. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator.