A month or two ago I happened to pull out a small Tupperware type container that had cash in it from when I was selling cards and matted photographs. It’s been quite a few years since I did that and at this point, I’m not going to do it any more. There was quite a bit there and I decided I’d use it to buy a telephoto lens, which is something I’ve wanted for quite some time now. I bought a Sigma 150-600mm zoom lens and today was my first outing with it. It’s quite heavy and I had it mounted on a monopod. That isn’t quite as good as a tripod but without that it would have been very difficult to get anything worthwhile. We walked to Blockhouse Point and then drove around to Pennyfield Lock on the C&O Canal. As we were walking back from a nice walk along the canal, I got four photos of this indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea). While it may not an award winning shot, it’s certainly better than anything I’ve been able to get with my other lenses. In the past I’d have to crop quite aggressively to get anything close to this and then it wouldn’t be nearly so sharp. This picture is the full frame. Hopefully there will be more and better bird pictures coming soon.
Tagged With: Passerina
If the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are too much of a trek for you but you want flowers and birds, you could do worse than heading out River Road to the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area. Timing your visit is a little difficult because the best time to go varies from year to year and also depends on what it is you want to see. If you just want sunflowers in bloom, then you need to go a little earlier than if you’re mostly interested in seeing birds. The two ‘seasons’ overlap but there will be more birds when the flowers have faded a bit and the seeds are more ripe. For me, I think I hit a pretty happy medium. In field number 1, the flowers were a little past and that’s where I got the pictures here of the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) and lots of pictures of American goldfinches (Spinus tristis).
Then, walking further from the parking area to field 4, I found the flowers were in more full bloom. They were all facing to the east and the road to them is to the west. From the road it looked like there were no flowers. But I walked all the way to the far end of the field (about a quarter mile) and back on the other side. It was worth it, as from that side, there were plenty of flowers to be seen. They were much shorter than I’ve seen them in previous years. I’m not sure if that’s a function of the sunflower varieties planted or has more to do with how much rain we get while they are growing.
Cathy and I drove to Sunset Beach today and walked from the west end of town out onto the beach and then further west to the Bird Island Reserve nature trail. It’s a pretty good walk but not a difficult one. We had heard that there was a good chance of seeing painted buntings (Passerina ciris). As it turned out, we only saw one and he was a rather scruffy looking fellow, possibly a juvenile, just getting his adult plumage. He was singing nicely for us, though, and I was able to get a short video, as well as a handful of photos. He’s in the shadows of the twigs to the right, which makes his color pattern seem a little odd, but that’s him, anyway. There were quite a few swallows flying around, as well as cardinals and mourning doves, but we only saw the one bunting. Nevertheless, worth it and we’ll probably plan to go again next year.