Readers’ wildlife photos

June 1, 2014 • 5:32 am

More bird photos have arrived this weekend. The first two are from reader Stephen Barnard, who lives in Idaho. Click all photos to enlarge.

Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius):

Spotted sandpiper

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). You can hear its lovely calls here:

RT9A5505 (1)

Diana MacPherson, who sent a note, enclosed pictures of a male and female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). Since I posted a photo of the female the other day, I’ll put up two pictures of the male.

Here are a couple pictures of the male (in the first one he is in a weigela next to some cobwebs, guarding the feeders). He dive-bombs the poor girls and I have  a picture of one of them cowering in the weigela as he does so. You can see their pretty green feathers in the dusk sunlight.
I think I saw an interloper male. He outmanoeuvred the regular male and dashed to the feeder to get a quick sip before going on. 🙂

Hummer 1

Hummer 2


12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I love the reflection in the first picture and the kildeer looks like he/she is doing some sort of military march but with backward kneecaps! They are usually scattering when I see them so I never see them this way.

      1. Thanks! I didn’t expect the weigela one to turn out because I was shooting at 420mm (300 mm +1.4x telextender) and at 1/250. I figured I’d get camera shake but I guess I can push it harder with the IS and I still have a steady hand.

        1. With “regular” technique, you should be able to shoot that combination at 1/125. With careful breathing, bracing of elbows, and the like, you should be able to get that down to 1/60 at least.

          Of course, hummingbird wings are going to blur at anything less than at least 1/2000 (depending on where in the wing stroke you catch them), unless you use a short-duration flash. I happen to like blurred hummingbird wings, though….


          1. Yeah those were at 1/2500 I believe. Probably the flash I have wouldn’t be powerful enough for the lens focal length and I suspect would not allow me to snap as many frames per second. It is all a toss up I guess.

            1. For feeder shots, you’d want to set up off-camera flash. You can get cheap wireless remotes that’ll work with your existing flash, though you’ll have to set the flash in manual mode. That’s okay; you want the lowest power from the flash that you can get that still shines some light onto the subject. The lower the power, the shorter the flash duration, the more motion it stops. So, you’d set it up, set your camera to 1/125 – 1/200 (since you’re not likely to get the wireless remote to sync faster than that), fiddle with aperture and ISO until the background is as dark as you can tolerate, and then fiddle with flash power and location until the feeder is exposed the way you like. Then, just snap away.

              A lot of birds like to perch somewhere in sight of the feeder. You can stake out that location similarly. And, you can also set yourself up such that there’ll be something suitably colorful (or not or whatever) for the background, especially if you can use a bit of avian psychology to entice the bird into perching on your preferred guardpost.


  2. Nice hummer shots, Diana. I’m starting to get an occasional black-chinned, but they are not here in force yet.

  3. Birds, birds, & birds! Can’t get enough of ’em. Thanks Stephen & Diana for today’s fix.

  4. Wow look at how different those beaks are! It’s as if some intelligent designer made a different one for each species just so it could eat its favorite food!

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