Beyond the Backyard

Photographing Scarlet Tanagers Eating Insects

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Scarlet Tanager Chewing his Bug

I had such a great weekend at Fort De Soto with the migrant birds not too long ago, and one of the best parts was photographing the Scarlet Tanagers.  The bright red feathers and black wings of the males are very striking.  At the East Beach, I found about ten tanagers that were feeding near the entrance to the Privet Trail.  They didn’t seem to mind all the crowds and picnics that were going on.  They’d fly right up to me as they dove after insects. When I came across these images on my computer, I had to laugh.  The sequence was just too good to not share on the blog.  You see, bird photography isn’t as easy as the final images may make it look.  For every ten pictures that I take, I keep maybe one.  You may see why… Here the Scarlet Tanager spots a mosquito flying by him.  Good, he can eat it before it comes to sting me! So next he flies at the mosquito.  Of course I can’t move the camera and auto-focus as fast as he flies, so the shot is blurry and I clipped the wings.  If only the birds would give me […]

Beyond the Backyard

A Rainbow of Color at Fort De Soto

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After last weekend’s fallout of migratory birds at Fort De Soto, I so wanted to take a vacation day on Monday to go birding there.  But I was good and responsible…and I went over on my next off-Friday.  Wow!  It was my first migration experience and it was just incredible.  I had a total of 9 lifers for the day. I started out the morning with the sunrise at the East Beach turnaround, then couldn’t resist the morning light at North Beach for an hour (more on that in another post).  By 9:00 I had made my way to the East Beach woods, where most of the migrants this week have been reported.  I got out the car and immediately saw a small bird hopping around in the oak tree near my car.  That Black-and-White Warbler was the first of a bunch of fun finds.  Thrushes abounded, and within minutes I had collected two lifers: a Gray-Cheeked Thrush and a Veery. This female Summer Tanager was in the oak tree at the start of the Privet Trail.  Her bright yellow caught my attention, and then she was such a good acrobat that I spent at least twenty minutes watching her. […]

Beyond the Backyard

Preview of Coming Attractions…

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I had the most incredible day today!  I went to Fort De Soto to check out the migrants, and I finally got my first Scarlet Tanager male, along with a ton of orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, and a few warblers.  Birders kept telling me that today was a “slow” day in comparison to last weekend’s fallout…but to me, it was awesome!  I stopped at Lake Morton to check on the swan babies, and look what I found… More coming in upcoming posts…just as soon as I finish blogging about last weekend’s photography!  I love the springtime and baby birdies!