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Old Nov 15, 2005, 11:06 PM   #1
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I went out with a small group on Sunday to find fox sparrows. They only come through here for about 2 weeks and this disappear until next year. We saw a staggering 18 two weekends ago, but this time we only saw one. Still, they are lovely....



There were two treats for the day though. Even better than the fox sparrow. A Norther Shrike!


Often called the Butcher Bird, they eat insects and other small birds. You can see that wicked hooked beak. They are known for skewering their food on barbed wire (I've never seen this, though.) They are usually rather afraid of people, so I couldn't get very good shots this time. I have seen one only twice. The other time I got better shots, but I haven't edited those up for the web yet.

The other surprise was 6 blue birds. It's starting to get rather cold near Boston, and almost all the bluebirds are long gone. But every few years I bumped into some late ones.


And I'll end with a hairy woodpecker. Up near me they are rather uncommon, and their numbers are declining. So its always a good day when you see one.


And then we got buzzed by a red tailed hawk, so I couldn't resist. I'd love to be able to fly like one. Hanging lazily up in the air. Looks like fun.


All were taken with the 20D & 600mm f4 (at varying shutter) f5.6 ISO200 in RAW on a tripod. Only the last shrike and the red tail hawk were with a 1.4TC. The light wasn't bright enough earlier. The hairy woodpecker & bluebird were taken with a flash.

Eric
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 11:20 PM   #2
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Eric, I see you finally got a shrike and a fox sparrow!!!! I know on Saturday you and the other Eric were really wanting to capture a shrike and you mentioned fox sparrows quite often. I really like the blue bird. Looks a bit dark on my monitor at work but, I'm sure at home thwy all will look nicer than they are. Too bad the 2nd shrike pic has a few branches in front. would be a really great shot. The fox sparrow is cute!!! gotta scoot home.

dennis
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 11:38 PM   #3
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Very nice captures Eric. I'm partial to the blue bird. I haven't photographed one yet :sad:
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Old Nov 16, 2005, 12:13 AM   #4
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I agree that the shrike would be better without the branches. But there wasn't much I could do. It would sit where it wants to sit. The other shot (smaller, but cleaner) is much futher away. Not nearly as good a shot as I normally perfer, but hey... it's a shrike! I don't get many opportunities at one. And getting in in Mass is even better (they are more common elsewhere.)

At least you can see the beak and eye.... gotta take my small favors when I can get them.

I just wish the bluebird had turned its head. The light would have been great on its face... if it had only turned. But it ever did, the entire time I saw it.

I like bluebirds a lot. I know a place where they nest that I wanted to photograph them at this year. Turned out that none nested there! Darn! Here is hoping for next year.

Part of what makes this a fun and challenging persuit is you never know what you'll find, some times for the worse, or on this day for the better.

Eric
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Old Nov 16, 2005, 11:03 AM   #5
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eric s wrote:
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I agree that the shrike would be better without the branches. But there wasn't much I could do. It would sit where it wants to sit. The other shot (smaller, but cleaner) is much futher away. Not nearly as good a shot as I normally perfer, but hey... it's a shrike! I don't get many opportunities at one. And getting in in Mass is even better (they are more common elsewhere.)

At least you can see the beak and eye.... gotta take my small favors when I can get them.

I just wish the bluebird had turned its head. The light would have been great on its face... if it had only turned. But it ever did, the entire time I saw it.

I like bluebirds a lot. I know a place where they nest that I wanted to photograph them at this year. Turned out that none nested there! Darn! Here is hoping for next year.

Part of what makes this a fun and challenging persuit is you never know what you'll find, some times for the worse, or on this day for the better.

Eric
A wonderful series indeed. My only fault is that you apologise for the branches, whereas I would refer to them as my "brown filter."

Dave
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Old Nov 16, 2005, 3:19 PM   #6
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Eric, the more I look at the shrike behind the branches the more i kinda like it. I'ts like it's playing peeka-boo with you. Bluebirds are one of my favorites. I just don't see them often. I was told by a couple of birders that the cold and wet spring we had may have killed them off because of lack of food. Some of them would check their nests and find them dead. Hopefully next year they will be around.

dennis
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Old Nov 16, 2005, 8:07 PM   #7
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Outstanding images here Eric. You must have had a wonderful time that day with all these choices of birds. And you met the challenge superbly. And like Bob, I'm kind of partial to the Bluebird. They are so pretty to me and I don't think I've ever posted and image of one. Just haven't had one good enough yet. Year before last I had a pair of them raise 3 sets of chicks in a nest box on a fence post in my b.y. I guess it could have been a different pair though. But still, three sets of chicks in one box in one season. I thought that was amazing. And last season the bluebirds were back but a Red bellied woodpecker took over the box and raised her chicks in it. And back to your stuff here lets hope you have many more of these "better days".

Regards

Houston
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