Sunday 17 March 2013

Bitter Cold But Worth The Wait....Almost!

Sunday March 17th 2013. Burnaby Mountain. Clear skies, windy and by Lower Mainland B.C. standards very cold!
It was still dark when I dragged myself out of bed Sunday morning. I was to meet up with fellow birder Raymond on Burnaby Mountain. A small flock of five female Pine Grosbeaks did arrive about 8.30 a.m and over the following fours hours gave us numerous opportunities to photograph them. They mostly perched on the pencil thin cherry tree branches, gorging themselves on the succulent and obviously nutritious buds, descending to pick up pieces that had fallen into the moss laden boughs below. Occasionally the flock would fly off and re-appear 30 minutes later. Pine Grosbeaks seem to ignore most human activity which makes them very approachable. A Peregrine falcon flew over a few times, a Red-tailed hawk used a thermal to glide high above us and a pair of Ravens looked like they were had courtship on their minds. The male never did show which I suppose makes a perfect excuse to try again.

Most shots were taken with available light except for those in the shade. I used a Better Beamer on my Nikon SB800, a D300 at ISO 640 and tripod mounted 500 F.4
The flash gives a nice catchlight and brightens up the underside of the birds.

A type of small finch, the Pine Grosbeak (Carduelis pinus) visit parks and gardens during the winter

Female Pine Grosbeak: Fill flash set at -1 SB 800 TTL 640 ISO
This created added depth of field, a nice catchlight and pleasing exposure.

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