11-19-10 Backyard Bird Count..

Activity again around the feeders, but today I didn’t really tally any birds.  I can tell you, however, I saw 3 Goldfinches, a dozen or so House Finches, Juncos, my ETSparrows, and the Mourning Doves.  I was too busy with kids to attempt photos in the morning, and with the heavy overcast, it was too dark anyway.  For those familiar with camera settings, I had to use ISO 800, open my lens all the way up to f/5.6, and still had to use a shutter speed of 1/25 or even 1/20.  Usually, if I have to use ISO 800, I have the aperture sitting on f/7.1 and can still use a shutter speed of 1/250 – 1/400. 

The problem with using such a slow shutter speed is my focus goes “soft” very quickly.  Any movement from me (sometimes just my pulse running through my fingertips), the bird, or even a puff of wind on the feathers is enough to render the shot “fuzzy.”  It’s really amazing, and nerve-wracking, at the same time.

A couple of things I did notice yesterday, though.  The Juncos!  Boy, are they in town now.  I was parking the car, and on the side of my house, there must have been 20…give or take.  They flurried off quickly, but there were a bunch of them picking seeds from the ground.  And, I have seen a Red-Bellied Woodpecker in my yard, but haven’t had a chance to photograph him.  Yesterday, I got my chance.

Not great shots, but I like them a lot.  Very original views as he was hiding behind the branches.  He was close enough, I had to turn my camera vertical to zoom in on him.  But, I struggled to get a very crisp shot of him because it’s hard to focus on the eye/head while he keeps popping out from behind a branch, especially when I can’t see him climbing up and down.  I just never knew where he was going to reappear.  It was actually quite fun in trying.  So, here is Woody..


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