It may not be spring by the calendar, but the plants and birds sure think it is. We’ve gotten a very early spring here on the west coast and all the local birds are busy with mating displays and nest building. The normally easy-to-shoot Anna’s hummingbirds are non-stop bundles of energy right now, chasing each other around in mating displays. The only shot I got of one this morning was of a resting male with a bad lighting angle:
The spotted towhees, on the other hand, were out in force and much less shy than normal:
Golden-crowned sparrows were numerous as usual as well. I love golden-crowned sparrows, as they are mostly unfazed by human presence, and are super easy to find once you know the type of terrain they prefer to browse for food in:
I also got a bit of a surprise finding a pair of mourning doves taking morning naps on barbed wire. While they’re relatively common birds, I hadn’t seen any in Discovery Park before. A song sparrow was hanging out next to them in full puffball mode as well.
Even a Stellar’s jay, though just as skittish as usual:
I recently picked up the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens to take over for the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 I’ve been using for the past year. It took a while to get used to it–last weekend I was out shooting and struggled to get good results–but after more use and listening to some tips from other birding photographers I know on the use of longer lenses like this, I’m really happy with how my shots are turning out. Each of the shots above is shot at 1/2000s shutter at f/9 or f/10. I can shoot at f/8, but the camera body is focusing unreliably at 600mm with an f/8 aperture (sometimes it’s sharp, sometimes soft) so f/9 it is. I’m really outgrowing the Nikon D3200, as this is the fastest shutter speed it has, but I’ll be upgrading in the next month or so, either to a used D7100 or, if it is finally announced, the D7200 (or whatever they end up calling it).