Beyond the Backyard

A Shrike and a Kestrel

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Loggerhead Shrike

Birding is starting to pick up again after a long hot summer.  The first day of fall was officially on September 22, although temperatures in Florida continue well into the upper 80s and 90s.  But there’s a hope in sight: the lows are forecast to dip into the 60s this week!  I’ve been working crazy hours again, so it’s been hard to find time for shooting.  But I’ve been working on a project out by where my Burrowing Owls grew up.  When I was last out there, I found two birdie surprises: a shrike and a kestrel! I haven’t seen an American Kestrel out this way since early this spring, when Dyeyo and I first visited the owls to see if they were building their burrows.  They are fairly skittish, flying away as soon as I approach.  It’s a little surprising, given that they are small falcons.  The image above was taken with the Beast and a 1.4x teleconverter, and it’s still pretty heavily cropped.  I love the red, white, and blue colors of the kestrel.  This one is a male (the females don’t have the blue on the wings).  The kestrels are so pretty that you can almost forget […]

Beyond the Backyard

The Sun Finally Came out at the Circle B Bar Reserve

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After a long weekend of rain, the morning started out cloudy at the Circle B Bar Reserve. I set up The Beast on the Heron Hideout trail and positioned myself in the flight path of the Bald Eagles who were flying in circles over the marsh, retrieving nesting material and taking it back to their tree by the lake. I dialed in exposure compensation and used my flash with Better Beamer, but I still had to lighten the images considerably in Photoshop. This was my favorite. I like how it shows the birds grip on his branch in those strong talons. I think I stood waiting for the eagles for an hour and a half. By 9:00, the sun started to come out. It turned into a very nice morning, with cool temperatures and a little breeze. Some Palm Warblers and other small birds were hopping in and out of the vegetation along Heron Hideout, and I kept hoping some of the wrens and sparrows would make an appearance out in the open. But only the Palm Warblers obliged me… I took the Marsh Rabbit Run trail through the marsh and didnt see a whole lot. I heard lots of […]