Tag Archives: Audubon Oriole

March 19, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Tomorrow it all Ends

Hard to believe that five months here have passed so quickly, but with the recent heat, I would have to say, I am ready to head for cooler climes.

Salineno Birding Area

Salineno Birding Area

It dawned on me that I had never shown you the bird feeding yard here at Salineno, the scene of all these small birds in flight shots. So the image above shows you where all the action takes place and where 80 % of all the shots shown on this blog were taken.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

The other 20% were taken next to where my motorhome is parked, just a hundred feet or so from the the feeding yard shown above.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

On many of my two days off, I haul my portable post (feeding) prop over to my site and set up a small feeding area of my own.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Here I have no overhanging branches and shadows to contend with, as I do in the main yard. Also have a completely different type of background where I can get some nice soft pastel colors to show as a backdrop for the birds.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

You can probably tell I kind of liked the interaction of this White-tipped Dove and the Great Kiskadee, set against that wonderful watercolor wash background.

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Great Kiskadee and White-tipped Dove

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

The Dove was not the only other bird to contest the Kiskadee for the peanutbutter/lard/cornmeal mix concealed in the top of the post.

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay

Long-billed Thrasher and Green Jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jays

Great Kiskadee and Green jays

Great Kiskadee and Green Jay

Great Kiskadee and Green Jay

Great Kiskadee and Green Jay

Great Kiskadee and Green Jay

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

It’s that time of year and the males are fighting.

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

” What you doing down there, Shorty !”

Northern Cardinals and Green Jay

Northern Cardinals and Green Jay

Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Northern Cardinals and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

A Couple New Closeups

Female Northern Bobwhite

Female Northern Bobwhite

We have two coveys of Northern Bobwhites that come in several times a day so I thought I ought to make some effort to get a couple nice ground level shots of these neat little birds. Above a female and below the male.

Male Northern Bobwhite

Male Northern Bobwhite

Ladder-backed Woodpeck

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

A male Ladder-backed Woodpecker with a nice soft green background. The background, up until this last week, would have been bare branches with bright sky holes, but now the mesquite trees are displaying their spring green finery.

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

Female Black-headed Grosbeak

And finally, a rare South Texas visitor, one female Black-headed Grosbeak, visiting us regularly over the past three weeks.

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March 12, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Audubon Oriole and Northern Cardinal

Audubon Oriole and Northern Cardinal

Eight Days to Go !

Northern Cardinal and Long-billed Thrasher

Northern Cardinal and Long-billed Thrasher

We have had our first serious rainfall over the past two days, the first in four plus months to be exact. So that allowed me to catch up with some image processing, thus, yes, still more bird shots from Salineno.

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

Altamira Oriole and Female Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Cardinal

Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

Audubon Oriole and Green Jay

Audubon Oriole and Great Kiskadee

Audubon Oriole and Great Kiskadee

Green jays

Green jays

Green jays

Green jays

Green jay and Great Kiskadee

Green jay and Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher and Female Northern Cardinal

Long-billed Thrasher and Female Northern Cardinal

Long-billed Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher

Red-winged Blackbirds

Red-winged Blackbird Harassing Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird Harassing Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbirds are a very real problem here as elsewhere that birds are being fed, they want their share of the handouts, and obviously feel that their share is about 99% of the food put out.

Red-winged Blackbird Harassing Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Red-winged Blackbird Harassing Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Their constant, relentless attempts to mob the feeding area have admittedly gotten to me over the four months of attempting to keep them at bay. Their shrill trilling from the treetops around the yard and from their hidden perches in the bushes within the yard are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Red-winged Blackbird and Green jay

Red-winged Blackbird and Green jay

Red-winged Blackbird and Green jays

Red-winged Blackbird and Green jays

My absolute disgust with these birds has made me reluctant to include images of them on this blog, or anywhere else for that matter. But they most certainly are part of the “action” shots I have been taking, for they are the central characters in most of the conflicts over food here.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds and Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

They arrive in numbers the second I turn my back or whenever I have my eyes locked to the back of my camera, driving off the birds we are trying to attract through sheer force of numbers.

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

Red-winged Blackbirds Harass Altamira Oriole

The Altamira Oriole is normally the yards dominant bird, not really backing down to any other bird when challenged, but even they are eventually forced to yield when the Blackbirds descend in numbers.

An Unusual Red-winged Blackbird

An Unusual Red-winged Blackbird

Lastly, this rather different Red-winged Blackbird showed up a couple of weeks ago and I have no explanation for the odd coloring. Anybody seen anything like this or know the reason for it?

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March 8, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Finally Getting Some of the Good Stuff Posted

My Nikon D810 camera died and was sent back to Nikon for warranty repairs a couple weeks ago now. Since then I have been concentrating on getting a serious backlog of image processing done.

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinal and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Female Northern Cardinal and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

I still have hundreds of nice action shots to sort through and process, even though I haven’t shot anything new in two weeks. As I go through these images, and think back to where I started this action shot business three months ago, I can’t help but think I have made some pretty decent progress. My time here in Salineno has proven to me that you actually can teach an old dog new tricks.

Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Long-billed Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher

Turns out that camera technique is only half the secret. Paying attention to how the props are constructed, where they are placed for bird flight paths, selecting the proper backgrounds, and knowing what time of day will yield which type of shot best, are every bit as important as knowing how to use the camera.

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal

The images in this post were shot over several days with varying light conditions. Most of my favorite shots from here were taken between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning or in the very last hours of useable light in the evening. All of the above shots were shot at that time of day, where the dark backgrounds and brilliantly lit subjects produce very dramatic images. Yet those are also the shots that require the most patience. Because of the dim light,  it becomes difficult to maintain the shutter speeds necessary to freeze wing motion and it takes an awful lot of shots taken to get just a few good images, but I have found that when all the conditions are just right and the subjects catch that golden light just so, well, the results speak for themselves.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal

Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Two Female Northern Cardinals

Two Female Northern Cardinals

Great Kiskadees

Great Kiskadees

Another very different lighting condition, foggy mornings that yield very diffused light, produces  an entirely different type of image, these soft, pastel like shots.

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Green jay

Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher

Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher

Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher

Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher

Audubon Orioles

Audubon Orioles

Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal

Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal

Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal

Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee

Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee

Altamira Oriole and Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Northern Cardinal

Altamira Orioles

Altamira Orioles

Altamira Orioles

Altamira Orioles

Altamira Oriole and Audubon Oriole

Altamira Oriole and Audubon Oriole

Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Midday produces the best light for freezing motion and thus some of the sharpest shots are taken then, though the bright backgrounds add little to the images.

Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Altamira Oriole and Green Jay

Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal

Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal

Green Jay and Female Northern Cardinal

Green Jay and Female Northern Cardinal

The weather here at the start of March has me itching to head north for a change of scenery , routine, and some more comfortable temperatures. March 20th has been announced as the closing date for birding at Salineo, so I begin my countdown to departure, hoping that Nikon gets my camera sent back to me in time to leave on schedule. I hope to be able to catch some of the Texas springtime wildflowers as I head north and west from here.

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February 17, 2016 Salineno Birding Area

Altamira Oriole andNorthern Cardinal

Altamira Oriole andNorthern Cardinal

A Month to Go ( Yet More Birds )

Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee

Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee

My four and a half month stint volunteering here in Salineno is now into it’s last month and yet I remain fascinated, and challenged by this small bird in flight photography. Looking back at my first attempts three months ago, I am going to say that months of practice have most certainly improved my images.

Green Jay and Female Cardinal

Green Jay and Female Cardinal

I now find myself concentrating on images with at least two individuals interacting in some interesting manner with at least one of them in flight.

Green Jay and Great Kiskadee

Green Jay and Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadees

Great Kiskadees

My latest photo prop helps make this happen by being just large enough for two , and sometimes more, birds to be able to land and feed. This is an old fence post I found near my campsite that I was able to cut down to about three feet in length and then drill and chisel out the top, hollowing out a two and half inch deep cavity where I can conceal a fair amount of our peanut butter/lard/cornmeal mix. I then screwed a 16″ X 16″ piece of plywood to the base and actually attached a carrying handle to the back side of it to make moving it around a little easier. Because of the overhanging tree branches arching over the feeding area here, moving the prop around to escape the branch’s shadows is constantly required. This prop has worked out so well that I am going to have to make room for it in one of my basement storage areas and it will be traveling on with me.

Northern Cardinal and Long-billed Thrasher

Northern Cardinal and Long-billed Thrasher

Altamira Oriole and Female Cardinal

Altamira Oriole and Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal and Great Kiskadee

Female Cardinal and Great Kiskadee

Two Female Cardinals

Two Female Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinals

Early morning light …

Female Northern Cardinals

Female Northern Cardinals

AltaAndKiskadeePostVertDARK

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals

… and late afternoon light continue to produce some dramatically lit shots. The limited light available makes it impossible to completely freeze the action, but the dramatic lighting I believe more than makes up for that.

Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

A Few More Still Shots

Altamira Oriole

Altamira Oriole

Altamira Oriole

Altamira Oriole

Audubon Oriole

Audubon Oriole

Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal

Green Jay

Green Jay

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

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When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !