Beyond the BackyardOakland Nature Preserve

Cold Sunset at Oakland Nature Preserve

I couldn’t resist the itch to try out my 500mm lens any more!  It was pretty windy today, so rather than going to Circle B, Rich and I went up to Oakland Nature Preserve at sunset.

Maybe I’m just very spoiled by Circle B, but Oakland doesn’t seem to have as many birds as it used to.  We used to see dozens of Ospreys sitting high in the trees, usually with fish.  We didn’t see a single one today.  But we did see little birds, especially at one point in the boardwalk.  There were tons of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, several Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, one Black-and-White Warbler, and a White-Eyed Vireo.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

I used my 500mm lens plus my 1.4x teleconverter today.  With my 7D body, that makes an effective focal length of 1120mm!!  I didn’t have any trouble locating birds with just the 500mm, since I’m using to using my 400mm plus my 1.4x teleconverter.  But when I added the 1.4x teleconverter to the 500mm, I did have a bit of trouble finding the birds in the frame.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  :)

Blue-Headed Vireo

Blue-Headed Vireo

A Gray Catbird hopped in front of me and started to devour some red berries.  I didn’t get a good shot of him eating, but I liked the one of him reaching!  “Mieu!  Go home and feed Squirt!”

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

We spotted the White-Eyed Vireo hopping around in some trees, and it hopped in front of me several times before I could finally focus on the silly bird.  But when I did, wow!  He had just caught a little spider and proceeded to eat it for the camera.  :-D

White-Eyed Vireo

White-Eyed Vireo

When we got down to the lake, the usual Common Moorhens, Great Blue Herons, and Anhingas were there to greet us.  The Great Blue Herons across the lake were starting to build nests.  I watched one couple adding branches to theirs, while another bird guarded her nest by herself just above.  I couldn’t believe I was almost filling the frame with a scene that was so far away!  Thank you, Rich!!!

Great Blue Heron Nests

Great Blue Heron Nests

As we walked back, the sun was setting.  It kept hitting patches of red and yellow leaves, making them stand out against all the dead foliage.  People say that Florida doesn’t have fall colors, but it does, if you know where to look.  They just tend to come in the winter!

Fall Colors

Fall Colors


The sun had disappeared and the light was low when this little Yellow-Rumped Warbler posed in front of me, eating some berries or nuts on a distant tree.  I’m going to have such fun with this lens!!

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler