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Old Nov 17, 2012, 9:27 AM   #1
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Default some cedar wax wings with the 70-300mm

A pair of cedar wax wings came to visit the crab apple tree this morning. Odd as usually these birds travel in flocks.


PB177242_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr


PB177243_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr

I think this is either a female or a juvenile


PB177236_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr


PB177235_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr

p.s. I also posted this in the wildlife section, sorry if you already saw it.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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RA, great images, thanks for putting them here.

I have never seen this bird that I know of unless it may have been when I was a kid, a hell of a lot of years ago, in Missouri & Iowa. The crab apples appear to be much smaller than what I do remember from those youthful, for me, times.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 3:34 PM   #3
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boB,

Thanks for checking them out, the crab apple tree is one of those fancy ornamental weeping lava crab apple and has very small crab apples compared to the more common ones. It also as the name suggests has a beautiful white pink blossom that covers the tree and brings so many bees that it literally buzzes. The small size of the crab apples make them prime feeding for fruit and berry loving birds like robins and these cedar wax wings. The cedar wax wing is actually spread throughout north america but generally travels in small flocks that move from food source to food source, similar to the way starlings can appear out of nowhere and then be gone, except in much smaller groups. Past years we have had a small group of around 20 birds come in and clean the tree off in a day and a half, then they are gone. I have nicknamed them the apple bandits because of their distinctive mask and the way they can come and eat all the apples and are gone till next year. The feeding frenzy that can occur is pretty amazing. With my apologies for the P&S quality here is a prior year with 9 or 10 in the tree at once;


apple bandits by ramcewan, on Flickr
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Last edited by ramcewan; Nov 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 5:21 PM   #4
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Nice shots and good color.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 7:15 PM   #5
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Very nice. Persuading the camera to focus on the birds and not the branches can be tricky. Well done.
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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Thanks James!

D B - yes it can be a battle getting it to focus on the bird instead of something else, that is when the ability to set the focus target box to 14x and place it right on the bird is super important. For me when I shoot wildlife I always follow a workflow of 1st putting it into shutter priority and setting the shutter to something reasonably fast like 250* or above, then I hit the magnifying glass to bring up the focus target and make sure it is center then I shoot. I've also learned to set the ISO to a max of 1200 as that is what I find tolerable on the E-PL2 and the focus mode to single point. Add all that together and some decent light and you have the best chance of getting the shot.

* some will say 250 is not fast enough, but I find that if you have the IBIS on it can be fast enough for a steady handheld at 300mm.. 400 is better but 250 is doable as I think the first two shots show.
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 11:56 AM   #7
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You did very well focusing within all those branches and getting the bird.
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