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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:09 PM   #1
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Default A few more birds

Am still way behind in sorting/pp'ing photos - busy with a number of park projects, etc. But wanted to share a few more bird photos - all taken here in Northeast Tennessee, and most taken with the Tokina 400mm.

First some poses of our State Bird. Mockingbird is the state bird of at least 4 other states. Nice one to photograph for a number of reasons. They are here year-round, so it's not too hard to learn their habits and behaviors. They are very territorial - especially when defending their berry thickets in the late autumn and winter, so it's fairly easy to sneak up on them if you move slowly. And they spend a lot of time in open places at field-edges, where it's easier to get photos without lots of twigs in the way!

Here are some shots of a Mockingbird on a drizzly day (you might see a few raindrops on his feathers). He was picking at some bits of hickory nuts left by the park squirrels. I was lying on the ground, at face level to him, and he pretty much ignored me!
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:11 PM   #2
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Here are a few more distant Mock'bird shots, showing off some typical poses...
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:12 PM   #3
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And some closer shots - showing how much detail is revealed by early morning sun, and showing a bird who likes our park signs! (Wonder if he knows how to read...)
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:15 PM   #4
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Here's another common year-round resident here in East Tennessee - the Tufted Titmouse. I am frequently amazed at the diversity of their diet. They do like the sunflowers in our bird feeders, but we've also seen them eating Kudzu seeds, insect eggs, hickory nuts, moths, etc. etc. This one found a spider egg sac for lunch!
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:17 PM   #5
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Speaking of odd lunches, our Red-Bellied Woodpeckers usually peck various insects out of diseased trees. But this one has a mouthful of hickory nut!
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:20 PM   #6
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Coots are only common here in the wintertime, but they are another very approachable bird. This pair was enjoying an algae snack close to shore. (I got some much better photos more recently, will post them later...)
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:22 PM   #7
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They almost always stare straight down for a moment before diving, so I worked to get some diving photos. Got a few good ones, plus a bonus "bigfoot" snapshot!
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:25 PM   #8
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Now for some less approachable common birds...

We have MANY Bluejays here in East Tennessee, but they definitely don't like people! Even at the bird feeder, they are aggressive towards other birds, but very shy of humans.

These photos are not the sharpest (taken through a thicket), but I like the light and the mood. Would really appreciate your honest critique!
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:29 PM   #9
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Our Pied-Billed Grebes are also very shy, or maybe they just like teasing photographers. They will swim very close to shore, just lazily circling or floating, but keeping their eye on us all the time. As soon as I raise up the camera, they dive and swim, only to reappear far out in the water!

Here are a few not very good snapshots (got some better ones more recently, will post later).
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Old Dec 16, 2012, 6:32 PM   #10
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Belted Kingfishers are common along the tree-lined shores of the home park's lake. Like the Grebes, they see to enjoy taunting photographers. Will perch close to a trail, watching passing hikers, dog-walkers, etc seemingly unconcerned. But have a camera with you, and they call that laugh-like call, and flee across the lake!

Here are the best shots I've managed so far, including one that seems to be thirsty for a soft drink...
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