Nov 23 2016 Glen Valley Abottsford BC.
Gray FlycatcherIf anyone had told me birding would have included spending a cold afternoon standing in a field of FRESH horse manure I would have said they were completely mad! But that's where I found myself, right in the thick of it.
I wasn't until later and I was driving home and the car warmed up that I realized how much of the you know what was still clinging to my boots. The aroma of horse manure permeated my car and senses..Yikes! I can now add this somewhat odorous experience to my ever growing list of smelly birding experiences.
To be fair though, most often birds are found in the most pristine of places and in the case of this gray flycatcher it has been attracted to a stinky manure pile, for this wayward bird it's a life or death situation. Unlike the ruby-crowned kinglets and juncos that keep it company, this bird is way out of its range. The manure pile is still yielding insects, even yesterday in the cold and blustery November weather there was an afternoon fly hatch and the diminutive flycatcher could be seen hawking insects. One thoughtful birder had even left some meal worms, perhaps hoping the bird will hang around for the Christmas bird count.
|Fig 1 Gray flycatcher with a nice juicy insect.|
Often with small birds just photographing them is hard enough. They tend to be on the move most of the time and with this bird, was often obscured by branches. To take a picture beyond just an ID shot, a little thought has to go into composition.
The clean background of the image below was achieved by shooting with a wide open aperture and long lens. More importantly I waited for the bird to use a particular perch that I had seen it use regularly and then waited patiently for it to return. My preference has always been for clean background for my subjects albeit a soccer game or portrait. The last thing you want in a picture is a distracting background. Both images (Fig 1 and 2) have no distractions so that the viewer is drawn in immediately to the bird and not some off-putting background.
The picture below gives a little more information about habitat and time of year (winter) with a clear division between the subject matter and the background.
|The bare branches indicate a winter shot.|
|Earth tones from the sky and trees punches up the colours in this images. All I had to do was change my camera angle and shoot toward the sky when there was a break in the clouds.|
"It's never too late to start birding"