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Posts Tagged ‘mockingbird’

Normally when I see a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), it is perched in a tree. This past Wednesday at Occoquan Bay National WIidlife Refuge, I spotted one foraging in a field. The mockingbird was perched on the stalks of the vegetation and periodically would bend down and grab a few seeds.

I love the way that the cooler tones of the bird contrast with the warmer shades of the vegetation and the background. That contrast makes this fairly common bird really stand out and shine.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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How long a lens do you need to photograph birds? Conventional wisdom dictates that you need a lens with a focal length of at least 300mm and ideally much longer than that. I generally use my Tamron 150-600mm lens when I anticipate shooting birds, especially small ones. If I want to get even closer, the zoom lens of my Canon SX50 has a field of view equivalent to 1200mm.

On Friday, I traveled into Washington D.C. to visit some friends using the Metro subway. I planned to walk a lot and I didn’t want to weigh myself down with all kinds of gear, so I put a 24-105mm lens on my DSLR. For those of you who are not technically oriented, this lens goes from mildly wide angle to mildly telephoto.

The camera and lens combination is less than ideal for photographing birds. I couldn’t help myself, however, when I spotted some birds in an urban park and decided to attempt to get some shots. My first attempt was with a Carolina Wren and it was a disaster—it was small and fast and so skittish that I could not get a decent shot.

Then I spied a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) perched on a bush in the distance. I took some initial shots and then slowly began to move forward. Eventually I was able to get to within about three feet (one meter) of the mockingbird and captured this image.

This incident served as a reminder not to limit myself to following conventional wisdom. It is definitely possible to take a good bird photo without a long telephoto lens. Why not take landscape photos with a long telephoto lens instead of a wide angle lens?

No matter what lens I have on my camera (or what camera I am using), I try to keep my eyes open for possible subjects. I will then try to capture those subjects as well as I can within whatever equipment I happen to have with me. It turns out that gear is often not the most critical element in making good images—simply being there is half the battle.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Birds can be very expressive, though it can sometimes be hard to interpret their expressions. It was pretty clear, however, that this Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) was not happy about something last Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Was it me?

In addition to the priceless expression on the bird’s face, I really love the limited color palette in this image. It also has a kind of sparse minimalist feel that appeals to me.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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At this time of the year, many of the birds look chubby, like this Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I suspect that the mockingbird’s appearance is caused by feathers that have been fluffed up for better insulation.

I wish that I could use that excuse.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was below freezing and windy yesterday morning when I headed out with my camera. I didn’t expect to see many birds and was a little surprised when I kept running across Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos). They are pretty common where I live, but I just have not seen very many of them this winter.

The first one that I spotted was huddled inside a bush with its feathers all puffed up, probably in an effort to keep warm.

Northern Mockingbird

Another one seemed to be trying to warm up by facing the sun.

Northern Mockingbird

A final mockingbird seemed undeterred by the wind that was ruffling its feathers and boldly sang out a happy song, greeting the arrival of the new day.

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Common subjects like this Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) have a special appeal and challenge for me. Can I photograph them in an unusual way?

The foreground and background in this image almost blend together and highlight the beauty and personality of the mockingbird. The background makes it look a bit like it was taken in a studio setting. Only the chipped paint gives away the fact that the curious bird was perched on the man-made railing of a boardwalk. I also really like the way that the color and pattern of the weathered wood almost perfectly match the bird’s feathers.

Northern Mockingbird

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Yesterday I made a trip to Green Spring Gardens and found, not surprisingly, that not much was in bloom. I used to visit this county-run historical garden often, but it’s been a while since I was there last.

While I was there I spotted this beautiful little Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) perched inside of a bush. I am not sure what kind of a bush it is, but the bright red berries add a festive touch to the scene.

I’m still celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, culminating on January 6 with Three Kings Day (Epiphany). Radio stations, alas, seem to have moved on, so I have to sing Christmas carols a cappella when I am in the car (or even at home).

Northern Mockingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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