Sunday, March 30, 2008

Webbird 2.0

My favorite bird shots are not the ones that merely document beauty and say, "Look what I saw, isn't it pretty!"
I post plenty of those.

My favorite bird shots ... or any wildlife shot for that matter ... are the ones that capture a behavior, beyond sitting, soaring, or standing.

The majority of my shots fall into that "standing around" category, because most animals spend a lot of their time conserving energy.

I like them, I just get more of a thrill when I know I captured somebody doing something.

So, I was pretty happy to find this gnatcatcher busily involved in stealing silk from the webworm caterpillar nests in the black cherry tree out back.


I think I posted about this behavior last year too.

(One thing about blogging daily is you get that deja vu feeling alot as seasonal events roll around and you document them for the universe to see ... so excuse me if I repeat myself.)

Last year, I remember I had assumed the little grey birds were eating the webworm caterpillars. After standing near the cherry tree trying to get a shot, I realized they were grabbing silk, not larvae. Since it's spring and there would not be any other logical uses for the it, I assume those silk strands are being used to weave a nest together somewhere here at PFHQ.

It's that knowledge coupled with the fact that yellow billed cuckoos forage on the webworms, that stops me from tearing down all the messy, webby caterpillar nests in my wild cherry trees.

The wild cherry trees seem to take it in stride with out too much lasting damage anyway.

So, in the name of bird welfare, I get to avoid a messy chore that isn't really necessary anyway.

Works for me.

19 comments:

Doug Taron said...

FC, that's such a great pair of photos. I completely agree with the thrill of catching something in action. I'll add my voice to those admiring the new header photo. The wave of pink blooms interspersed with spikes of (I think) grasses make the scene look very prairie like. What are the pink flowers?

thingfish23 said...

Comment eaten by Blogger, thank you very much...

Are those flowers marsh pinks?

Otherwise, ditto what Doug said.

Inspired by this set of photos, I made sure to catch our little momma Carolina wren in the act of feeding her little ones today.

Not quite as wild and exciting as your photos here, mostly because Momma and Papa wren made their nest in a boring ol' hanging spider plant.

Oh well. It's still nature being natural on some level... I love the resourcefulness of wrens, actually when it comes to where they nest. I also appreciate how fearless they are!

Susan Rose said...

Hi. I agree, it's fun to capture animal "behavior." You do a great job with your camera. I'm assuming it's a "point and shoot" because you don't make the comments that a serious photographer might make, and you catch plenty of off-the-cuff pictures. You're getting great, clear bird photos (better than my Canon Rebel XTi without a zoom lens). Please let us know what camera you are using.

Floridacracker said...

Doug,
Phlox.
The tall reddish spikes are Sorrel or down here, "Sour Weed".
Glad you liked the shots. I stand in awe of your recent beautiful tiger beetle shots.

Thingfish,
I join you in admiration of wrens for all the same reasons.
Nothing boring about a wren nest even if they choose everyday objects for the site.
It's part of their charm isn't it?

Floridacracker said...

Susan,
You are correct. I left the SLR world behind(after 30 years of SLR experience) when I switched to digital.
Technology is rapidly eliminating the need for SLR clunkiness and multiple (lose the shot while you switch em) lenses.
My Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 is two years and a couple of newer versions old and I would put it's abilities up against any SLR.
The SLR wins only in the extreme tele options available, but the unmissed shots and ability to rapidly change focal length makes the "point and shoot" I use a winner.
In my SLR days, I wore a photographer's vest full of different lenses.
Now when I go into the wilds, I carry my camera and 2 sets of spare batteries in my pocket.
That's it.

In the end it's all about getting the shot, not how expensive your equipment is.

I know "Point And Shoot" is a common term for the type of camera I use, but it rankles me a little as it implies that is all you have to do.
When I point and shoot I get crappy photos.

Whatever type of camera someone uses for wildlife photos, the key thing is to get out there with your camera and know your subjects well enough to be where they are.

Thanks for letting me expound on the wonders of the Sony!

Kimberlee said...

Wow, phlox! I have only ever seen those in tidy little planters and baskets. My mom would go nuts for a field like that.

I'm impressed to hear that you are using a Sony Cybershot for all your amazing photos. I have been using a much older model of the same camera and have longed for something better...something with more ability to zoom without getting darker, grainier photos. I assumed that meant a bigger camera. But maybe it just means UPGRADE! :)

And REALLY cool photos!

tsiya said...

You have a great variety of birds over there, things are sort of limited here on the hammock. Keep them coming, I enjoy seeing them!
I get DSLR fever too, but then I add up what it will take to do more than what I can do now, and it's not a great deal.

freste2715 said...

Geeeeze FC,

Unbunch your tighty whities for a sec. EVERYONE is using a P/S for good nature shots now. You happen to have a beauty!!

Sony makes one great line of them which are obviously clearer, zoomier, sharper and more contrasty than SLR's in all but the professional stratosphere.

I totally agree that the "A" button should be chipped off of all cameras, without exception.

I feel much better toting around my Canon (P/S) where ever the wind blows me than risk tripping over a tree root or slipping on river slime and watching my DSLR follow a nice arc which happens to be just enough further than my grasp as it suffers from excessive gravititis and splits in two, leaving my nice investment but an aching memory.

Thanks for speaking up on Sony and your model. Excellent stuff.

You are blessed to have both the equipment, countryside and talent to get spectacular shots.
:-)

Floridacracker said...

Kimberlee,
Phlox turns the roadsides and medians pink,white, and red this time of year around here.
Sony applies that Cybershot name to alot of their cameras, some of which are not the camera this one is.

Tsiya,
No DSLR fever here, that was my point.
You should have this same bird nearby, my folks in St. Augustine do.

Freste,
I never liked boxers, too loose.
Good points and thank you for the kind words.
So is there a Freste web site? I tried to track back on your profile, but it was taking forever on dialup and I bugged out. Leave a link if you do and you want it known.
I enjoy your comments!

kathy a. said...

busy bird! i love the flowers in the header.

freste2715 said...

Sadly, there is no Freste website of any kind. I find that the wordy things get all wobbly jobbly most of the time and I find myself typing in Tourette's at pretty frequent intervals.

I do post pics on my profile and on various sites, notably:

http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/560234578ultvVV?vhost=outdoors

Wanna see it? Do ya? :-)

Jane said...

Hi. I agree. I much prefer to see any animal "doing" something. Great spot! I watched a little Goldcrest picking feathers off our lawn yesterday for it's nest. Spring is great! Jane

Rurality said...

Wow, great shots. These little guys made their first spring appearance here this week, wheezing and whining all over the place. :)

Floridacracker said...

Kathy A,
Very busy. I just happened to be walking by as it was working the web.

Freste,
I went there! Very nice.

Rurality,
Wheezing and whining LOL!
How true.

robin andrea said...

Truly great shots. I don't know how I missed this post, but I got here via Thingfish. Love that action shot. Yes, it is grand getting the perfect depiction of a particular behavior.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Robin!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Howdy, floridacracker. Your gnatcatcher shots rock. So great to see my friend Robin Andrea here. I would love to share my post about displaying gnatcatchers (photos taken with a Canon Digital Rebel XTi w/70-300 mm zoom, but who cares, yours are sharper and better!)

You are so right--the quality of the photos is mostly in the observer, not the equipment.

Found you via Jayne, one of my blogfriends. She said I'd like your blog and as usual she was right. Instant bookmark.

Here's a link to the post I mentioned.

http://www.juliezickefoose.com/blog/2007/05/if-gnatcatcher-can.html

Julie Zickefoose said...

and another one, showing a gnatcatcher singing on its nest, and a blue-winged warbler prying open a leaf cluster. I so agree that my favorite bird shots are the ones that reveal a behavior, not the portraits.

http://www.juliezickefoose.com/blog/2007/05/heady-may.html

Floridacracker said...

Jane,
Yikes! I just got home and realized I skipped you when I commented earlier, so sorry.
I have to look up Goldcrest to see what it looks like!

Julie,
Welcome to Pure Florida!
I'm looking forward to checking out those links you left me.
Thanks for the comment!