American Goldfinch Feeding

American Goldfinch. Higbee Beach, Cape May NJ

It was a great few days for bird photography in Cape May last weekend. I did not get out to Higbee Beach until Sunday evening after we had closed the show and packed up the booth. (I was working the Cape May Autumn Bird Festival for ZEISS.) The late day light warmed everything, including this American Goldfinch busy feeding in the overgrown meadows at Higbee.

Sony HX400V at 1200mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 640 @ f6.3. Processed and cropped slightly in Lightroom on my Lenovo MIIX tablet. (The Surface Pro fell off the podium while I was doing a program in Cape May and smashed the screen :(  The Lenovo is an emergency substitute.)

White-tailed Curiosity

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White-tailed Deer

I got out early only one morning in Cape May, but that morning I was early enough to catch the White-tailed Deer still browsing along the boardwalk behind the Hawk Watch Platform at Lighthouse State Park. They have been clearing non-native brush and created a small opening on one side of the boardwalk. A doe and two fawns, of different ages, were feeding there. The deer at the State Park are well used to humans on the boardwalk. I stood there in the open watching them continue to feed, unconcerned. In fact,  the younger of the two fawns stopped feeding long enough to come over to the boardwalk for a closer look at me. He got close enough so that I could have petted his nose. :-)

It as really early and the light under the dense canopy was dim enough so that even at ISO 1600 I had to dial the shutter speed down to dangerously low levels, but I managed a few acceptable shots. Sony HX400V at 560 mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/160th @ ISO 1600 @ f6.3. Processed in Snapseed.

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Comma Butterfly

The Comma and the Question Mark are relatively large Bushfoot Butterflies. They are both found in New England but I rarely see either. They look enough alike so I always have to consult the guide when I do. Their distinguishing mark, and the mark that gives them their names, is a tiny squiggle on the underwing, which looks slightly more like a comma in one and slightly more like a question mark in the other. You really need the bug in hand to use that, so I go by the extra dot on the upper forewing on the Comma. This specimen is from my final walk (for this trip) around the trails behind the Hawk Watch at Cape May Point Lighthouse State Park in Cape May New Jersey.

Sony HX400V at 2400mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/640th @ ISO 250 @ f6.3. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.

White-crowned Head-and-shoulders

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Brown Variant White-crowned Sparrow

Cape May, on a good day during fall migration, provides abundant opportunities for intimate portraits of many species. This week the White-crowned Sparrow was the third most abundant patisserie, running close behind Tree Swallows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. This brown variant was.feeding behind the Hawk Watch platform at Lighthouse State Park.

Clear Image zoom on the Sony HX400V extends the reach to 2400mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f6.3.  Processed in Lightroom. 

White-crowned Head-and-shoulders

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Brown Variant White-crowned Sparrow

Cape May, on a good day during fall migration, provides abundant opportunities for intimate portraits of many species. This week the White-crowned Sparrow was the third most abundant patisserie, running close behind Tree Swallows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. This brown variant was.feeding behind the Hawk Watch platform at Lighthouse State Park.

Clear Image zoom on the Sony HX400V extends the reach to 2400mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 100 @ f6.3.  Processed in Lightroom. 

Hoping for Kinglets. Happy Sunday!

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Golden Crowned Kinglet

I do not generally go out.to photograph a.particular bird. On a trip to.a.bird place.like.Cape.May I set myself to photograph whatever will sit still long enough to get the camera on it. I come back with a lot of Yellow-rumped Warblers because.that is what is there,and.I am happy with that. That does not mean that I do not hope for more. In fact with every new Yellow-rump the hope creeps up on me. This trip it was: Yes, but a kinglet in good light would be nice. :)

There weren’t many kinglets this year compared to some. Sometimes, in Cape May, they are dripping from bushes and littering lawns. Not this year. I had only seen a very few Ruby-crowned until yesterday when I walked up on a group of Golden-crowned avidly working around the base of some saplings way out behind the Hawk Watch at the State Park. I photographed them on the ground in the shadows, but again I was really hoping to catch one in a tree in good light. They just would not perch long enough. Until, of course, one.did :)

Such a blessing! Hope rewarded. And of course I walked on full of gratitude. I mean, really, a Golden-crowned Kinglet perched just below eye-level in the late afternoon sun. It does not get any better than that.

I made a point of telling the next 6 birders I met that the kinglets were there. Share the blessing! And I am doing it again right here. Happy Sunday.

Yellow-rumped Practice

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Lighthouse State Park, Cape May NJ

Except for Tree Swallows, which are legion, Yellow-rumped Warblers are certainly the most abundant perching birds in Cape May this week. The trees and brush are full of them. After your 40th shot of a YRW at close range, and especially considering the shots I got in Maine just before I came down here, they really are not much good as photographic subjects…I mean, how many YRW shots does any one photographer need? And that is just this year. I have YRW shots, from Maine, Ohio, Texas, and New Jersey, going back years :)  I think I even have a few from Georgia and Florida. Still, they are good practice for when you do see something more special you would really like a picture of…so, of course, I take every opportunity I am presented….fill my SD card with YRWs…every outing in Cape May. Who wouldn’t? When you get jaded enough not to at least practice on the YRWs, you really should pack up your camera and turn in your photographers’ pass to the universe. :) Or that is what I think.

(I am really hoping the irony is coming through here…if it isn’t, please put a grin on, and reread that first paragraph ;)

Sony HX400V at 2400mm equivalent (1200mm optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom…and this is a full frame, uncropped shot). Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ IS) 160 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Palm Warbler working the grass.

Palm Warbler

Although 95 out of every 100 passerines passing through Cape May yesterday were Yellow-rumped Warblers, there were a few other species. This Palm Warbler was one of three feeding with a large flock of 50 or more YRWs, just behind the Hawk Watch Platform at Cape May Point, Lighthouse State Park. There is a picnic shelter there, with tables, and this time of year I like to sit at the end of a table nearest the brush beyond the little bit of grassy area and pick off warblers and sparrows as they glean seed from the grasses and bugs from the brush. Like all the birds backed up against Deleware Bay in Cape May during migration, the birds by the picnic shelter are so busy feeding up for the crossing that they pay little to no attention to humans. We had about 45 minutes of sun yesterday afternoon, and I spent most of it at the picnic shelter. Believe me when I say, I was just as busy as the birds!

Sony HX400V at 1200mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 125 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Cape May Warbler :)

Yellow-rumped Warbler in Cape May NJ

No, of course it is NOT a Cape May Warbler…but it is a warbler in Cape May. A Yellow-rumped Warbler like the hundreds that have been coming through Southern Maine, but here, at the tip of Cape May Point, where the migration is constricted by the Atlantic on one side and Deleware Bay on the other, the Yellow-rumped Warblers are thick, dripping from the trees as they say. It was actually raining when I took this shot, but I could not resist when the warblers repeatedly popped up on this branch maybe 10 feet from my face. I kept wiping the camera with my hand, and dried it off well when I got back to the hotel, and it survived. Not a great shot, as warbler shots go…simply not enough light…but still! :) And not bad at all for ISO 1600 from a Point and Shoot camera.

Sony HX400V at 1200mm equivalent field of view. Shutter preferred. 1/640th @ ISO 1600 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Wide on the Little for Wednesday

Sweep panorama near the mouth of the Little River on Laudholm Beach

On Sunday my photoprowl featured heavy skies over the October landscape. This is a sweep panorama taken just back from the mouth of the Little River where it crosses Laudholm Beach. I like these tall/wide shots, taken with the camera in portrait orientation. Of course this shot is all about the lowering sky, the sweep of the sand, and the curve of the water. The hint of color in the distant trees is an added highlight.

Sony HX400V. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.