Birthday Bird

I had my 50th birthday back in May. Usually, Dayna and I go day-tripping on my birthday, looking for birds and a good place to eat. But this year found me out in the Powder Mill area, documenting flood damage.
At one stop, I saw something large and shiny in a little clearing back in the dense bottomland cover. I made my way to it and as I got closer it resolved itself into a 500-gallon propane tank. While photographing the itinerant tank I realized I was hearing a familiar song coming from nearby. I stopped to listen and realized I had a Swainson’s Warbler almost on top of me.
Fortunately, I was carrying two cameras. My D7100 with a 150-600mm lens was hanging from my shoulder, so I was properly equipped for this unexpected opportunity.
I was standing in a small clearing that actually had a bit of light, but the bird was back in the deep, dark cover. Taking a decent photo there would be essentially impossible so I needed to bring him to me.
I also had a Bluetooth speaker clipped to my belt loop and it was soon hanging from a low limb on the edge of the clearing. I was only planning to use playback for 30 seconds or so, but I only needed half that. By the time three repetitions had completed, a small brown missile came tearing out of the woods.
I tapped my phone to stop the playback, got the camera up and started shooting. The light still wasn’t great, but it was the best situation in which I’ve encountered a Swainson’s. He hung around for a couple of minutes and I kept the camera firing at its full 5 frames per second, ending up with over 200 photos.
Many were near duplicates of course, but I still had a veritable gold mine to dig through. This was my favorite shot:

The others are on Flickr if you would like to see them. Links are below. And Happy Birthday to me!


Organized by Collection

Organized by Album

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