Winter Birds Return

Two weeks ago I had a frustrating leg injury, so I had to take a few days off from walking. When I returned, I noticed a number of winter residents have arrived from their migration.

New are Myrtle (or Yellow-rumped) Warblers (the cover image for this post), flocks of Robins and Chipping Sparrows, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and today: Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-throated Sparrows.

Here is a pair of Ruby-crowned Kinglets I saw this morning.

I like the female’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” look. The male usually keeps his crown secret, noticeable only when looking straight down on the top of his head. However, when the female is around, he likes to keep the crest a bit more visible. As I’ve said before, Kinglets are the smallest birds we have, apart from hummingbirds.

At the other end of the size scale, is today’s Great Blue Heron. This one deserves a picture, because it modeled for me. As I walked around the pond this morning, several people asked me if I had seen the Great Blue Heron. I hadn’t at that point. After doing one circuit of the pond, I decided to take a look along the bank near the shelter, where some had reported seeing it last.

I was about to give up when I noticed a familiar shape through the shrubs. I watched it for a while, looking for a good gap in the vegetation so that I could get a clear shot. It looked like I wouldn’t get that shot, when to my surprise the Heron turned toward me and walked straight up the bank! (It was probably looking for a better way around the shrub. But I can still think it wanted to show off for me.) I used the opportunity and got a few shots, including the one here.

If you’re wondering about the borrowed lens, I decided not to go that direction. Although the 600mm reach was really nice to have, focusing (even with auto-focus) could be a real pain. Also, when looking through a narrow tube at trees, it’s often very hard to figure out exactly where you’re looking. At least with a zoom lens, it’s possible to zoom out a bit, establish your location and zoom back in again.

Verdict: fun and powerful lens, but not for me right now. I’ll write about the choice I made in the next post (if I remember).

More winter birds to arrive; I’m keeping my eyes open for the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season.

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