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I love to take photographs of large powerful raptors, like the Bald Eagle and the Red-tailed Hawk that I featured recently in blog postings. However, I am equally happy to capture images of the small birds that I often hear, but have trouble spotting. This past Monday I spotted these little birds as I wandered about at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. None of the shots are particularly spectacular, but I find that there is incredible beauty in the details of these little birds.
I can’t help but be reminded of some of the words of a hymn that we occasionally sing at church called “All Things Bright and Beautiful” that was written by Cecil Frances Alexander.
“All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.”
You may be familiar with some of these birds, but in case you need a reminder, they are an Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis); a Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa); a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata); and a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis).
Eastern Bluebird
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Carolina Chickadee
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Flicker in November

Most woodpeckers are black and white in color with occasional pops of red. The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), however, has an amazing assortment of colors and patterns, like this handsome one that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The flicker spent most of its time on the back side of the tree, but I waited patiently and eventually it popped out for a moment into the light and I was able to capture this image.

In the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside for giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. I am truly blessed in so many ways. As I get older, I am growing increasingly conscious of the fact that every single day is blessing in and of itself—tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” Happy Thanksgiving.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are the most common hawks in North America, but I rarely see one. Most of the hawks that I photograph in my home area of Northern Virginia are Red-shouldered Hawks.

I was delighted on Monday when I spotted a perched hawk through the vegetation at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The hawk was perched in a small tree just above eye level. I had to work to find a visual tunnel that let me get a relatively unobstructed view of the beautiful hawk, as you can see in the first photo.

Before long, the hawk detected my presence and took to the air. I reacted quickly and was able to capture some shots of the bird as it flew away. I really like the way that the second and third shots show the markings on the underside of the hawk that I think is a juvenile.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

What a difference a month makes. When I last visited Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, it was still relatively warm and many of the leaves were still on the trees. Butterflies were relatively abundant and there were lots of other insects, including dragonflies.

Yesterday, it was cold and breezy, with temperatures in the mid 40’s (7 degrees C). Virtually all of the leaves were stripped from the trees and there were very few insects. Already I have pulled out my thermal underwear and insulated boots. It feels like winter is almost here.

One of the advantages of the naked trees was that I was able to spot some larger birds from a greater distance, like these Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) that I photographed at different locations in the refuge. The eagle in the first photo was part of a pair that I had spotted. As I moved closer, one of them who had been looking at me flew away. The other one had its back to me and I tried to creep closer to it to get a better shot. Somehow the eagle detected my presence and looked back at me over its shoulder and I managed to capture its look of disapproval.

In the second shot, the eagle was pretty far away, but it was perched in the open, so I was able to frame my shot reasonably well. As you can see, the sun was shining brightly, though it did not provide much warmth, and the skies were blue.

The eagle in the final photo was perched in a sweetgum tree and I like the way that the spiky balls of the tree provice some color and texture to the image. Like the eagle in the first photo, this eagle was also looking over its shoulder at me. This eagle’s look appeared to be more coy and curious than annoyed.

Later in the day I spotted an eagle working on what appears to be a new nest. As we move closer to nesting season, I will try to keep track of the activity at the nesting sites that appear to be in use. In the past, eagle couples have used two different sites and I am not sure if this new nest will be a replacement for the older ones or will be a new addition.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I suspect that the species is gone for the season by now, but here are a couple of shots of a female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) that I spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge on 21 October 2022, before my trip to Texas. Many of the females are tan in color, like the one in these shots, which makes them hard to spot among the fallen leaves.  Some female Blue-faced Meadowhawks, however, are male-like in color, i.e. they are red, and are sometimes referred to as andromorphs.

Since my return from Texas, we have had cold temperatures that have often dipped below the freezing level. This week I will be out looking for some late season dragonflies. In the past I have sometimes seen Autumn Meadowhawks in November and occasionally even in December. It is quite possible, though, that I have seen my final dragonflies of the season and will switch to photographing birds most of the time.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

Blue-faced Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Young buck in Texas

Last Sunday I encountered this young buck in the woods while I was exploring a trail in Bastrop, Texas. I think that we spotted each other about the same time and we eyed each other with curiosity. After the deer had checked me out, it slowly walked into the woods and disappeared from sight.

I believe that this is a Texas White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus texana). According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, there are estimated to be some three to four million white-tailed deer in the state.

Texas white-tailed deer

Texas white-tailed deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Dawn in the mountains

I began my drive to Texas a couple of weeks ago by traveling the entire 105 mile (170 km) length of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park during the early morning hours and was treated to scenes like these when the fog was hanging low in some of the valleys. The maximum speed limit on this road is 35 mph (56 kph), so I was able to enjoy the scenery as I drove along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There were also numerous viewing areas, where I could pull off the road and capture some shots before resuming my drive.

I tried to time my drive so that I would be there for the actual sunrise, but I arrived a bit too late. Fortunately there was still some color in the sky, so I was able to capture some of the beauty of the early morning.

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I’m back…

I am now safely back in Virginia after my 1534 mile (2468 km) drive home from Texas. My time in Texas was wonderful, especially the wedding that I attended, but unfortunately I contracted COVID shortly thereafter. As a result, I extended my time in Texas by several days as I recovered from my symptoms that were mercifully mild and short in duration. In addition to the initial two Pfizer shots, I have had three booster shots, including the new “bivalent” version, which I believe helped to mitigate the effect of the virus.

Thankfully I was not alone and was dogsitting for the happy couple’s two delightful dogs, who helped to keep me company during my five day isolation. I love the long shadows of the early morning and late afternoon and captured this first image one morning when I was walking Oscar, their English Spaniel—this is my favorite kind of “selfie” shot. Freckles, their Cocker Spaniel, requires shorter walks because of an injury and was waiting our return at home, where I captured the second image. As was the case with treats, I decided that I had better give the two dogs equal treatment in this blog posting. 🙂

For the record, a photo of Freckles first appeared in the blog in February 2013, when she was only a year old, in a posting entitled “Dogsitting on a Saturday night.” The couple adopted Oscar, who is also about ten years old, two years ago and this is his first appearance in the blog.

I will probably be taking it a bit easy for the next week or so, but I am sure that I will find some interesting recent photos of my adventures in nature to share with you all.

Oscar

Freckles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

As I begin my final preparations for hitting the road for my long drive home, it somehow seemed appropriate to post this image of a Wandering Glider dragonfly (Pantala flavescens) that I spotted on Sunday in Bastrop, Texas. Wandering Gliders, also know as Globe Skimmers or Globe Wanderers, are considered to be the most widespread dragonfly on the planet, with a good population on every continent except Antarctica, although they are rare in Europe, according to Wikipedia.

My drive will be a bit over 1500 miles (2414 km), which sounds like a long distance to travel. However, Wandering Gliders “make an annual multigenerational journey of some 18,000 km (about 11,200 miles); to complete the migration, individual Globe Skimmers fly more than 6,000 km (3,730 miles)—one of the farthest known migrations of all insect species,” according to Wikipedia. Yikes!

Wandering Glider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Black Setwing dragonfly

I spotted this unfamiliar dragonfly on 13 November in a meadow adjacent to the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas. Its shape reminded me of the Swift Setwing (Dythemis velox) that I have seen in Northern Virginia, where I live, but its coloration looks more like that of photos of the Black Setwing (Dythemis nigrescens) that I discovered while doing some research.

Was I right? I have had some difficulties correctly identifying some of the dragonflies that I have seen in Texas, but in this case I was right. Setwing dragonflies perch in a distinctive pose with their wings pulled forward, which looked to some scientist like the “ready-set-go” position of a sprinter and is reportedly the reason for the name of the species. When I spotted this dragonfly, I immediately recognized that pose.

In a few hours,  I am starting my long drive back to Virginia from Texas. I suspect that I will not be doing any blog postings for the next few days. I have had a wonderful stay in Texas, with a beautiful wedding, a fun time dogsitting for two delightful dogs while the couple was away on their honeymoon, and plenty of time for exploring nature and extending my dragonfly season.

Black Setwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Opossum in Texas

I was a little shocked to encounter this fuzzy little North American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) yesterday while walking on a trail through the woods in Bastrop, Texas. The opossum, which is also known as a Virginia Opossum, was in the middle of the trail, walking slowly in my direction.

We spotted each other at about the same time, I think, and we both stopped and looked closely at each other. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to bring my camera up to my eye and take a few shots. Having decided that I was a potential threat, the opossum turned its back to me and slowly waddled into the underbrush, giving me a good look at its hairless tail.

opossum

opossum

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

I am continuing to find cool-looking dragonflies here in Bastrop, Texas, including these handsome ones that I think are Variegated Meadowhawks (Sympetrum corruptum). I spotted them yesterday as I was exploring a meadow adjacent to the Colorado River.

The first two photos show the same dragonfly on two different perches. As you can see, this species, like other meadowhawk species, likes to perch low on the ground, which makes it tough to get a clear shot.

The coloration of this species is very similar to that of the Autumn Meadowhawk that I am used to seeing in Northern Virginia. However, the dark banding on the abdomen and the red veining on the wings are quite distinctive, leading me to judge that this may instead be a Variegated Meadowhawk.

The final photo shows an immature dragonfly. I am a little less confident of my identification of this one, but I think that it might be an immature Variegated Meadowhawk. I am used to the dragonflies in my home area and feel a lot less confident with my identifications when I am traveling.

Variegated Meadowhawk

Variegated Meadowhawk

Variegated Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

This past week I managed to get some more shots of American Rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina americana) along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas. The sun was shining that day, unlike during my previous encounter with this species when the weather was overcast. This extra light helped to bring out the amazing colors and patterns on these spectacular damselflies.

The male in the first image displays well the bright ruby patch for which this species is named. Though they do not have such a distinctive red spot, the females in the second and third images are equally beautiful. I encourage you to click on the images to get a closer look at the wonderful details of these damselflies.

American Rubyspot

American Rubyspot

American Rubyspot

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I have always admired photos of Roseate Skimmers (Orthemis ferruginea), a spectacular dragonfly species in which mature males are bright pink in color. There have been a handful of sighting over the years of Roseate Skimmers at one of the parks I visit in Northern Virginia, but until last week I had never seen one.

A little over a week ago, when I spotted the dragonfly in the first photo, I knew almost immediately that it was a Roseate Skimmer, because of the shockingly pink color of its body. Later that day and on a subsequent walk along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas, I spotted other Roseate Skimmers, but did not realize that was what they were until much later.

Why did I have such trouble with their identification? When it comes to dragonflies, mature males tend to be brighter in color and have more distinctive markings than their female counterparts that have drab colors that are somewhat similar across species. Additionally, immature males often have the same coloration as the females.

So, when I posted the second photo below in an earlier posting and thought is might be a Variegated Meadowhawk, I was absolutely wrong. According to some experts in Facebook groups and at Odonata Central, the dragonfly is an immature male Roseate Skimmer.

The dragonfly in the final photo is a female Roseate Skimmer that I photographed a few days ago. Note how the coloration is similar to that of the dragonfly in the second photo. How do you tell them apart? If you look closely at the terminal appendages at the end of the abdomen (the “tail”) of the two dragonflies, you should be able to see that they are quite different in shape. Most often, those terminal appendage are key in distinguishing immature male dragonflies from females.

In a few days I will be heading home from Texas. It has been fascinating to see quite a few dragonflies, some of which have been new for me. Even here, though, I suspect that the season may be coming to a close soon. Earlier in the week temperatures were in the mid-80’s (29 degrees C), but I awoke this morning to a temperature of 41 degrees (5 degrees C) and we will drop even closer to the freezing level over the next couple of days.

Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I have been a bit befuddled by the dragonflies that I have seen here in Bastrop, Texas and have misidentified about half of them. I was therefore delighted on Wednesday when I managed to get a few shots of a familiar species—a Common Green Darner.

The Common Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius) had been patrolling overhead and I managed to track it when it came down to earth and perched low in the vegetation. I only had a little latitude in trying to frame my shot, because I know from experience that Common Green Darners can be very skittish. I varied my angle a little between shots by moving slightly, but most of the shots ended up looking pretty similar.

Common Green Darners are a migratory species and are one of the most common and abundant dragonfly species in North America. I love the beautiful colors of this species and am happy when I can get a shot, like the first one, in which you can see the bullseye marking on the “nose” of the dragonfly.

Common Green Darner

Common Green Darner

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Yesterday I spotted this really cool-looking dragonfly as I was exploring a meadow area beneath some power lines just off a trail along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas. My primary purpose for coming to Texas was to participate in a wedding last Saturday, but I am staying a few extra days to watch the couple’s two dogs while they are away on their honeymoon.

In a recent post, I featured photos of some dragonflies that I had spotted here in Bastrop last week. I identified one as a Russet-tipped Clubtail, a species I am used to seeing, but when I posted a photo in Odonata Central, an expert informed me that it was a female Narrow-striped Forceptail dragonfly (Aphylla protracta)

I believe that the dragonfly in this image is from that same species, possibly a male. I am not at all familiar with forceptail dragonflies, so I can’t tell if the terminal appendages (the “tail”) are the right shape. Whatever its identity, I love the image that I managed to capture of this beautiful dragonfly as it was briefly perching.

Narrow-striped Forceptail

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Swarming damselflies

I don’t know what was so special about this spot on the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas, but lots of couples in tandem as well as some single damselflies were concentrated in one small area last week. I love the way that the reflections in the water of the various flying damselflies makes it look like there were twice as many damselflies as were actually present.

The couple in the second image found a somewhat more private spot where the female can deposit her eggs underwater in the vegetation, while the male continues to grasp her head.

damselflies

damselflies

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Butterfly and Cactus

I spotted this colorful Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) perched on a cactus last week as I was exploring some trails along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas. This is the kind of shot that it would be impossible to capture in my home area, since neither the butterfly nor the cactus is found in the wild in Virginia.

Gulf  Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Here are a couple of shots of what I believe are American Snout butterflies (Libytheana carinenta) that I spotted on 2 November in Bastrop, Texas. Although you can’t see the butterfly very well in the first shot, I really like the “artsy” feel of the image. The second shot has a completely different feel to me, perhaps because of the coolness of the green background vice the warmth of the yellow in the first image.

American Snout

American Snout

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Last Wednesday, 2 November, I took a walk along the Columbia River in Bastrop, Texas, not far from where I am staying, and was delighted to spot a number of different dragonflies. As I have found in the past, it is difficult to identify dragonflies (and birds) when I am outside of my home area. Sometimes the species are the same, but there may be regional variations. At other times, though, I have found species that are not present at all where I live.

The dragonfly in the first image looks like a female Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus), but I must admit that I am not very confident about that call. In the second, the dragonfly looks a bit like a female Eastern Ringtail (Erpetogomphus designatus). When it comes to the third dragonfly, I am not sure that I can even make a guess, other than the fact that it looks like some kind of skimmer.

It was really nice to extend my dragonfly season by traveling briefly to a warmer southern location. By early November, there will only a few dragonflies left in Northern Virginia when I return home next week.

Russet-tipped Clubtail

Eastern Ringtail

Eastern Ringtail dragonfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I was delighted on Tuesday to spot some damselflies along the edge of the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas. I believe that they are American Rubyspot damselflies (Hetaerina americana), with a female in the first photo and males in the other two photos.

Normally I prefer natural perches vice manmade ones when photographing wildlife, but I really like the texture and color of the rusty corrugated drainage pipe on which the damselfly chose to perch for the final photo.

American Rubyspot

American Rubyspot

American Rubyspot

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Barred Owl in Texas

I was thrilled yesterday afternoon to spot this Barred Owl (Strix varia) as I was walking on a trail along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas, within walking distance of my friends’ house where I am staying. The owl  appeared to be busy eating something when I first spotted it, as you can see in the second photo below, and may have been a little distracted.

I am not at all certain what was in owl’s mouth. Any ideas?

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Dragonfly and shadow

I have arrived safely in Bastrop, Texas (just outside of Austin) for a family wedding after a long drive from Virginia that turned out to be 1560 miles (2510 km).

I don’t have any new photos to post, but thought I would feature an image of a female Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) that I photographed a little over a week ago. I spotted this beautiful dragonfly at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was delighted to capture the shadow that the little dragonfly was casting on a colorful fallen leaf.

Thanks to all of you who responded to my recent request to subscribe to the YouTube channel of young UK-based wildlife photographer Toby Wood. He has now surpassed the required level of one thousand subscribers and his channel is now presumably eligible for monetization on YouTube.

Autumn Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

On Thursday I visited Shenandoah National Park with a friend and we drove a section of Skyline Drive to see the colorful fall foliage. I love the patchwork pattern of colors that we observed on the slopes of the  mountains. The predominant color seemed to be a bright rusty orange, with only small patches of bright yellow and red. In some directions, the sky was hazy, so the successive layers of mountains gradually faded out, as you can see in the final photo.

My blog posting schedule will be a little erratic during the next two to three weeks. I will be driving from Virginia to Texas for a wedding and don’t expect that I will be doing any posting on the days when I will be traveling. I hope that I will be able to do a few postings while I am in Texas—I will be just outside of Austin for about a week or maybe a little longer.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Warbler and persimmons

I have been pretty lucky recently in capturing images of birds in settings that include colorful fall foliage. On Tuesday I photographed a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Steophaga coronata) perched in a tree in full of persimmons at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I am not sure if the warbler was interested in the persimmons or if it was more interested in the poison ivy berries that you can see in the upper left portion of the image.

I do not know much about persimmons and can’t tell if the ones in the photo are ripe. I have been told that persimmons can be very tasty when ripe, but are very bitter when not yet ripe. To the best of my recollection I have never tasted one, but I know that the raccoons in another local park love to feed on these fruits.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Rabbits in October

I saw lots of Eastern Cottontail Rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Usually I see the rabbits during the early and late hours of the day, but these ones were active at midday. There is something really gentle about these creatures that really calms and soothes me.

In the first photo, one of the rabbit lifted its head to check me out and stared right at me. Deciding that I was not a threat, it returned to contentedly nibbling on the grass. I love the way that the rabbit’s ears look like mini-antlers, making it look like a cross between a rabbit and a deer.

In the second image, I captured a view of two rabbits contentedly chewing on the grass in an area adjacent to the parking lot. Perhaps they were used to the presence of people or perhaps they were less alert because they were eating. Whatever the reason, I was able to get my shots without disturbing them. The two rabbits were too far apart to get them both in focus, so I chose to focus on the nearest one and like the effect that I achieved.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Catch of the day

I was amazed on Tuesday when I saw a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) snag a really large fish in the shallow waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The heron carefully made its way to a secluded area of the shore where it was hidden from view to enjoy its big catch. It might have been a bit of a struggle for the heron to swallow a fish that large, but I have seen Great Blue Herons swallow fish almost that big in the past.

I had been observing the heron for quite a while and had seen it catch numerous tiny fish as it waded about in the shallow water. Gradually the heron moved to slightly deeper water and continued to look for fish. All of the sudden the heron extended its neck and plunged its head forcefully into the water, extending its wings as it did so. The third image shows how committed the heron was as it submerged its entire upper body.

Once it had grabbed the fish underwater, the heron flapped its mighty wings, as you can see in the final photo, to generate enough force to pull the large fish out of the water. The first image shows the moment when the fish first came out of the water. The second image shows the heron as it slowly and gingerly walked to the shore—it apparently did not want to take the chance of losing its catch.

Tuesday was overcast and cool and up to that point in the day I had not had much success in finding subjects to photograph—this encounter priduced the catch of the day for me and probably for the heron too.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Osprey in October

I thought that the ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) in our area had already headed south, so I was pleasantly surprised to spot one last Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was thrilled to be able to capture this image as it zoomed by me. During the summer there are multiple pairs of mating ospreys throughout the refuge and the ospreys are vocal and visible, but it had been at least a month since I had last seen an osprey.

Osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Goldfinch in October

I haven’t seen an American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) for quite some time, so I was happy when I spotted this one last Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The vegetation was mostly dried-out, but the goldfinch had no problem finding lots of little seeds. I love the way that the dull colors of the goldfinch were a match for those of the seed heads that surrounded the little bird.

American Goldfinch

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I enjoy watching videos on YouTube about all types of photography, especially about wildlife photography. Some of the channels feature well-established professional photographers with expensive gear who produce mind-blowing images. These photographers inspire me, but they are in such a different place on their photography journey than I am that I don’t feel a personal connection.

Increasingly I am drawn to small YouTube channels run by young wildlife photographers who are just starting out as professionals. It is hard to make a living as a photographer, but these photographers are passionate about photography and are energetically trying to turn their passion into a profession.

A while back I started following a young British wildlife photographer named Toby Wood. On his channel page he describes himself in these words, “I am a Photographer based in the UK who is passionate about turning memories tangible with photographs. On this channel you will predominantly see wildlife photography as this is where my true passion for photography began. Since turning photography into my job I also do events, portraits and business shoots to make ends meet.” Toby has an engaging personality and he takes his viewers along in many of his videos as he searches for wildlife subjects to photograph.

Over the past year, Toby has produced several hundred videos and is on the cusp of reaching a major YouTube milestone. In order to be monetized, a channel much have 1,000 subscribers and have a total of 4,000 watch hours during the past 365 days. When a channel is monetized, the content creator receives a portion of the advertising revenue for the ads shown by YouTube. Toby recently met the requirement for watch hours and currently has 963 subscribers.

Toby needs only 37 more subscribers and I wonder if I can get some of you to check out his channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TAWoodPhotography and consider subscribing to his channel. It would mean an awful lot to this talented young photographer. Here is a copy of his request on Instagram for help in reaching this milestone.

 

I am also embedding a link here to one of Toby’s recent videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBdFd3iWnoI) in which he takes on a challenge to take wildlife photos using a 50mm lens. This will give you a glimpse into his style of videos and I encourage you to explore some of the other videos on his channel. You can also check out his work on his website.

Thanks in advance for any on you who are willing to jump in and help Toby reach this significant milestone.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

House Finch

As we move to colder temperatures, I am taking fewer photos of insects and more of birds, like this cool-looking House Finch that I spotted last Wednesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. From a distance, I though that this perched bird might be a sparrow, judging from its basic coloration. When I got a little closer, I could see the conical-shaped bill and reddish tinge on the bird’s head and breast, so I immediately was able to tell that it was definitely not a sparrow.

At first glance, the two photos may look identical, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the bird’s head is in a different position in each image. Although the second image is a better profile shot, the birds’s face is in the shadows. In the first image, the bird had turned its head a little bit and the light was shining more directly on its face and produced a nice catchlight in its eye.

When I am taking photos of birds, I usually shoot in short bursts, because even perched birds around a lot and each movement may result in a different expression and pose.

House Finch

House Finch

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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