I’ve been looking and looking each and every day. Migration season is the flavor of the week and I kept hoping and exploring in hopes of finding some of those visiting feathered friends. The cooler temperatures that we had along with days of rain kept the migration at bay. And then BAM ! It’s as if the flood gates were opened.
There have been some amazing birds appearing that we don’t usually get in large numbers. Everyone was sharing beautiful images of Rose-breasted grosbeaks and all I could do was enjoy them with deep envy. I’ve only seen one in my garden only once before and one distant look in a local park. So I was really hoping one would visit this time.
I was packing up my car for an overnight trip to Virginia and wouldn’t you know? Just as I was getting into the car to leave one was there !! With great thanks for all of the hours, days, weeks, and months of practice I was able to quickly pull my long lens and camera body (always attached) out of its packed bag and dial in the settings I needed for where he was getting a drink of water. Only a few clicks and off he went. But certainly a gift from above.
But this wasn’t the only amazing surprise in my garden. Earlier in the week a stunningly brilliant Yellow Warbler appeared and graced us with his presence for just a day.
Someone had mentioned on Facebook that he had bird envy with the birds that we have visit in the Manor. It made me think about it, and it is true. Because of the location and the mixed habitat being on the water, I see a wide variety of bird species ranging from waterfowl to warblers. So first I looked at my ebird reports with Cornell University online and saw that my first bird report with them was back in 2012. In six years I have seen 124 species of birds in my garden. Mind blowing ! Actually, I didn’t know this little fact until just now when I looked it up.
So this comment by this Facebook friend motivated me to create a photo book to showcase some of my images of these visitors. With the help of the very user friendly BLURB website I created my bird book in about two hours. Blurb connected directly to my Smugmug and Flickr accounts so I was able to quickly select the images I wanted to include in the book. As a first time customer I received a good discount and am looking forward to seeing the book in person.
And so I digress…the purpose of my overnight trip was to head to Charlottesville, Virginia to be a judge for a Bird Photography Contest that was held by the Monticello Bird Club and the Charlottesville Camera Club. It was a wonderful experience and I meet quite a few special people there.
One of the points I commented on is that bird photography is tough. Really tough and it takes a lot of practice. Even so, with all of the time in the field, getting a bird to sit in a perfectly placed perch with beautiful light and soft and clean background is nearly impossible. Especially with warblers. But let me tell you, I have a few friends that knock this out of the park fairly frequently. Not sure how they do it as all of the natural habitats I see them in are busy with twigs, etc. As with anything in life, it is good to have a goal. But in the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy our feathered friends however they present themselves to me.
With my visit through Shenandoah National Park today, I probably heard about 200 warblers all throughout Skyline Drive just taunting me “You can hear me, but you can’t see me!” Sigh…warblers. Here are a few of the beauties I enjoyed today.