Birds on my Walk

Less rain and occasional sunshine these days. I have been ready for migrated wild birds to come back since March, but as of today, I barely see any, only the long-term residents, stellar jays, juncos, flickers, robins, and sparrows. I heard house finches singing but they were hidden, I only saw them twice at a quick glance.
It was a sunny morning. Planning to shoot at 5th Street Marketplace, I wandered around and ended up at Delta Pond. I love to walk along this river path. It is so refreshing and relaxing. We ride bikes on this path when the weather is warming up. Many bikers and joggers come through here winter and spring, rain or shine.  They are inspiring to me.
I am happy with the 70-300 mm lens that I just procured a couple of months ago. It is a bit heavy for my regular walk, but this is the place where I spotted my favorite Cedar Waxwings. I dreamed of them and hope to see them again here.  Besides, if there are herons or egrets around, they will be pretty far away from the path. I have also been thinking to challenge myself to carry only one lens for the shoot. So it’s my choice for the day.

The moment when I stepped onto the path, I heard a bird chirping on a berry tree. Cedar Waxwing loves berries. My heart almost stopped beating. I looked up, two birds up there were switching their places but they were not Cedar Waxwings. It is still exciting to me because I have not seen them before. There was plenty of light, but they hid among the branches. This bird has black stripes on the eyes, black eyes blend with black stripes.
black-throated gray warbler
The image was downloaded, but I can barely find its eyes. This gives me an opportunity to do a little bit of post-processing, the creative process that provides me much excitement and contentment. I am impatient and the process trains me to be patient.  It is not just about better photography skills and pictures. I am benefited from taking pictures.
For comparison, I also included the original shot I took. Lots of green and spring brightness, but I like it to be a bit softer and surely I want to see its eyes.
I don’t know if it is by coincidence or it is my receiving heart that I suddenly saw so many birds around at the same time. I shot a bunch, but not all turned out. It is challenging to shoot birds.
Wilson warbler
They are constantly moving and moving fast, and I ended up with blurry pictures. If I am lucky to have a few clear shots, then the composition is mostly screwed up, and cropping reduced photo quality significantly. Migrated birds are not local and they tend to be more sensitive. They either run fast or they stay up high. It is unlikely for me to carry a 500mm for a walk. 300mm is doable, but I need luck and I have to be quick.
I also realized that I need to be a serious birder to take better bird shots. I need to know more about their inhabiting habits, and locations and be able to stage the shots, not shoot along walking. But honestly, I have enough fun from my discoveries.
Western yellow-rumped warbler
Not just knowing what your friends and family do on Facebook, I came out to find out what the birds do around us and who they are. I know Warblers are popular in the northwest region, but I have not seen them before. Somehow they are having a convention here today that I captured the shots of three different warblers at one walk.At least 2-3 different types of sparrows inhabiting my neighborhood. I also saw a lot of sparrows growing up in Taiwan. They are ‘just sparrows’, little brown, and the plain-looking things that I believe, most of us, do not give a second look.

Ever since I identified Song Sparrow’s crisp and beautiful voice, I began to appreciate their existence. They don’t have striking color or features, but their earnestness and persistence in singing us a beautiful morning have put them on my favorite list. I probably saw 6 sparrows on the path and 3 of them seemed eager to sing.
song sparrow
Check out how this little bird sang. It appears to me that he had his lung wide open and gave out his best effort. They were singing along and I was marching in the rhythm they composed. My heart is light and my steps brisk. I came here ‘hunting’ and mindlessly I walked the whole path.
Just before I was ready to make my U-turn, I spotted this Heron. I have had quite a few Heron shots now, but not from this angle and in this morning light. And, it is not too far away.
I should have cleaned up the background, but I decided not to. This is his habitat, I like the image to be authentic.Thought it can be better if I used a 500mm lens, but I also admit it is good enough that I’ve got something that I would not have otherwise. I know I will always want to look out for the better, but I also want to put a stop and enjoy whatever I have been already given.

Great Blue Heron

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