The Birds of August

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

At this point the mulberries are long since past and yet I find that I can still visit the mulberry tree in the mornings and commune with the local bird population.  It seems that if I sit down there and just wait for the birds to come there is always something going on.  The Eastern Towhee was something of a surprise because I’ve only seen them a couple of times before and yet on this morning in early August he stayed around for quite a while.  They are reasonably shy birds and don’t seem to venture near the house very often.  But their coloring is really unique and you won’t forget it once you have seen one.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

On the same day that the Towhee stopped in, the Indigo Bunting made a surprise return.  I saw one male at the top of the tree.  However since then I think I’ve seen the female so it may be they will stick around…

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) returns

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) returns

Just when I was thinking that the Baltimore Orioles must have taken an early trip to the south for their winter vacation, I saw a brilliant male in the Cherry tree.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

When I zoom in on the photo it looks like a Japanese Beetle in his beak which is all the more reason to be happy to see him.

It turns out that one of the really difficult things with taking bird pictures (for me anyway) is getting the action shots of the birds in flight.  With a telescopic lens trying to both track and focus on the bird in flight for that brief moment when they are overhead is quite difficult.  It’s easiest when you are dealing with slow moving water birds that are just gaining altitude or coming in for a landing.  But for many of the birds that I’ve been photographing that ‘bird on the wing’ shot is hard to get.  I came close that morning to getting the kind of shots that I’m aiming for.

Baltimore Oriole sequence 1

Baltimore Oriole sequence 1

Baltimore Oriole sequence 2

Baltimore Oriole sequence 2

Baltimore Oriole sequence 3

Baltimore Oriole sequence 3

Baltimore Oriole sequence 4

Baltimore Oriole sequence 4

Baltimore Oriole sequence 5

Baltimore Oriole sequence 5

Sometimes when I look up I see one of the local water birds flying overhead.  That was the case with this Black-crowned Night Heron that passed by recently.  The elongated head is quite distinctive.

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

It seems, however, that my constant companions are the hummingbirds which are there almost every morning I go out to the garden, though I’m not always swift enough to capture them on camera.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) on Fence

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) on Fence