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All photographs by David Lilly

Tough Birds to Photograph - Sparrows

All bird photographers know sparrows are hard to photographs.

I should be more to the point - hard to get good photographs.

The Lincoln’s Sparrow and the White-crowned Sparrow to the right took some time and patience to get the photographs I was hoping for. Patience and some camouflage was what I used. I located the sparrows sat in a camouflaged position and waited. The two sparrows finally sat in the sun and posed for me. I should say they sat for five seconds.

I want to emphasize the importance of making sure you are in the right place. Also don’t try and chase the sparrows you will not get good photographs. As mentioned patience and staying quiet and still in the ready position is the key.

Finding the sparrows takes some effort. First, do some research and find out what habitat the sparrow likes to hang around.

I know the sparrows to the right like piles of dead trees. They also like to forge in wet muddy area, most likely along small ponds and moving water. I found these two sparrows along the river in a dark shaded pile on dead trees.

They were in the shade most of the time. I knew a little patience would produce results and it payed off with the two photographs to the right.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Small Move Big Difference

I explan to bird photographers move around to get better backgrounds.

The two photos of European Starlings to the right are examples of what a small move can do for your compositions.

In the top photo I did not like the tree on the left. To adjust and to get the bottom photo I move about a meter to my left. By doing so I almost eliminated the tree and got a much better composition.

Remember the bird is not going to move, so in order to get a better composition the photographer must move — it can mean the difference between a good photo and a bad photo.

These black birds are difficult to photograph, however in this case I stuck to my main principle and keep the sun to my back.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Lovely American Kestrel

I got  a hint that there might be a pair of American Kestrels nesting in a box on private land. Went and talked to the landowner and he gave me the ok and pointed me in the direction of the nesting box.

Of course I used the standard procedure around nesting birds. I keep my distance and waited for the kestrel to enter or leave the nest. After about 30 minutes one of the Kestrels emerged from the box and flew to a local spruce tree.

I keep my distance again and moved around and got the following photos to the right. 

As most of my Kestrels photos are on fence post the photo here is a relief as they show the Kestrel in a natural setting. 

I had to photograph at a steep angle. As I moved around the Spruce tree the light was good.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Down by the Bow River Today

I have written about water and birds many times before. My favorite place is by the Bow River here in Calgary. There are always a few birds - summer or winter.

My old saying "Find water, Find birds " was true again today. Birds like water and they need water to survive.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

I have seen the Northern Rough-winged Swallow before but this was the first opportunity to photograph the bird.

It was a windy wet day at Frank lake south of Calgary. The swallows fell in and were landing on the Bull Rushes. The swallow to the right posed for me. 

The light was horrible but I did manage to get a couple of photographs.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

My First Bird Photographs From New Brunswick

For those bird photographers whom have not looked at this website for a while - I now call New Brunswick my new home. It was a decision me and my wife made for lifestyle reasons. 

Since arriving in New Brunswick less than a week ago I see many opportunities for bird photography. Of course there are chanllenges as well. For example, the province is covered in forest, so the birds have more than enough space to hide. 

My approach will have to be different then the wide open Prairies I left behind. 

The three photos to the right were my first attempt here in NB. Two of the photos Eastern Phoebe and the Veery were a first for me photographing, while the Grey Catbird was common in western Canada.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Northern Waterthrush by the Water

Since I arrived here in New Brunswick I will admit photographing small birds is not easy. 

However, I am sticking to my old methods for finding birds. My most recent bird the Northern Waterthrush was found by water. I guess that only makes since given its name.

I never had to deal with the thick underbrush in Alberta as here in NB. As a result I have adjusted my camera settings. I adjusted the EV to +2 for the photo to the right. There was still not enough light, so I adjusted the exposure in Lightroom.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Common Birds from NB

The Common Yellowthroat to the right was common today in the woods around Jemseg. 

Jemseg is an important birding area here in New Brunswick. There were a lot of birds singing in the trees, but were hard to see. The American Redstart below was singing and posed for me.

The Chipping Sparrow was also sinning loudly and also posed for me.

Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.