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All photographs by David Lilly

Don't forget about European Starlings


European Starllngs are the one of the first spring birds we see here in Alberta, Canada.


When they arrive they are in their breeding plumage. When photographed in the right light they are a beatiful bird. Interesting note about the Starling is they don't mott like other birds.


Some times they need to take a bath. The Starling to the right just took a bath in the river and he or she looks like they had a bad hair day.


The best light to photograph Starlings is in a light overcast or a sunny day. Under expose the bird about -2 and adjust the exposure in post processing. If you expose as per the meter you wil blow out the highlights.

Red-winged blackbird Returns


Every spring I look forward to the return of the Red-winged Blackbird. The males return first to establish a territory and then wait for two weeks for the females. 


Some of the males I have seen this spring are first year birds - as in the bottom right photo. They have not developed the distinct red on the wing as in the bird in photo1. They also look rusty and not pure black as a mature bird.


Red-winged blackbirds are difficult to photograph because of their black feathers. On sunny days the feathers reflect the sun causing it to be overexposed. 


The best light for photographing these birds are in early morning or on overcast days - both photos below were in overcast light. 

Reflections make the Bird Photograph


After photographing in the same geographical area for many years I have photographed most of the ducks. In order to keep the creative juices going I always look for different ways to photograph. I photograph ducks in flight, early in the morning, late in the evening, pairs of ducks, baby ducks etc.


My favorte photographs of ducks are the reflections, for me it adds another deminision to the photograph. In order to get great reflections everything has to be perfect. There cannot be any wind, the light has to be good and most of all the duck has to cooperate.


You should try to get low to the ground as possible. Wait for the Duck to stop making waves. One duck is easier to photograph then many, it just makes for a simple composition. Try for a side view if possible.


In order to get good photographs you will need a long lens - ducks will not come near you even in a blind. For the photographs below I used a Nikon D 500 with 500mm F 4 lens. Don't forget you can switch the camera to one-third crop instead of using a tele-converter.