Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • May 29

Eastern Wood-Pewee. This small bird makes a familiar and loud "pee-a-wee!" call that is heard throughout the forest.

Brown Thrasher. Well, overcast skies are always tough backgrounds for pictures. The fact that the display on the back of the camera makes the picture look darker than it really is does not help, either. Finally, though there is a histogram feature in my camera, it is not as helpful as it could be if the bird does not take up a significant portion of the image. That is, if you have the time to switch display modes and do other camera fiddling before the bird decides to leave. Ah, the joys of wildlife photography!

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Phoebe. The phoebes are starting to sing again, so I wonder if they are on to brood number two for the season, though it may be a bit too early for that according to the New York State Bird Breeding Atlas handbook. They are probably just defending territories.

Eastern Phoebe

Song Sparrow. A fledgling! The most obvious fledgling feature is the bill. Other than that, the contrast between light and dark areas on the plumage is much lower than on an adult, i.e., the difference between the darks and the lights is much smaller. The fledgling is also overall more chubby than an adult. The behavior was also fledgling like: the bird popped up, saw me and then found a nearby perch where it could stare at me as if I was the first person it had ever seen. Meanwhile, adults in the background were calling alarms to try and get the fledgling to hide. It did not move until I finished my photography and took a step down the trail. The fledgling Song Sparrows I now see a week or so later are still curious, though are more cautious and less captivated by my presence, i.e., the "What are you?!" phase has passed.

Great Blue Heron. We are definitely in heron season along Oatka Creek, now, as they have become a daily sight. I am on the opposite bank. Even so, the heron waits until I have stood motionless for quite some time before it returns to its normal activities.

Great Blue Heron. Satisfied that I am not an immediate threat, it allows me to move just enough to get a clearer shot.

Great Blue Heron. It stealthily enters the water looking for food. I will most commonly see the herons catch and eat frogs and fish.

Great Blue Heron. After this point, it decided to hunt elsewhere and flew upstream and out of sight.

Great Blue Heron. After completing my route downstream, I returned upstream and found the heron again on a rock near the bridge.

Great Blue Heron. As long as I didn't make any quick movements, it was comfortable with my close pass as I walked along the trail.

Eastern Kingbird. The kingbirds are now trickling through the park, mostly appearing along Bluebird Trail.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird. Even under the best of lighting conditions, kingbirds are very hard to photograph well because of their black and white plumage. Against a bright sky it can be almost pointless. Having said that, the kingbird's eye stands out reasonably well here, which usually is impossible to see. (See the previous two pictures.)

Indigo Bunting

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird