Strretside woodlot Kinglets
Outdoor Ontario

Strretside woodlot Kinglets

Shortsighted

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 I always associate kinglets with cold weather, even though the Ruby-crowned kinglet understands no such distinction because its appearance in the spring tends to be in May when days get longer and the sun plays a principle role in the migration saga. During the fall migration it fulfils its contribution while days are still pleasant near the end of September and early to mid-October. It is its Golden-crowned cousin that heralds cooler days, cloudy skies often with creative precipitation and other impending perils. Some of you might disagree, but I can assure you that I can handle the censure with aplomb. For me, kinglets are a gateway to seasonal change although I probably give them more credit than they deserve.
The street-side woodlot has welcomed a RCK and I was there to congratulate it for making an appearance and enhancing my day.





 


Ally

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How exactly did you congratulate this bird, because it looks so sad.


Shortsighted

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Congratulations by way of tribute ... a photograph.


Shortsighted

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Ally

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Wonderful. I just saw three deer in the ravine and ran inside to fetch some carrots. They took a look at what I had in my hand, ran all directions. Nobody likes carrots. They have antlers now, so cool!




Shortsighted

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 The Eastern Phoebe is a small, plain-looking bird that is devoid of the spectacular, either in its behavior or mating habits, although the latter has some pique. In retrospect, I admit that for some inexplicable reason it is a species that I’ve desperately wanted to photograph in the days when I first developed an interest for nature photography. That would be around 2012, when I received a 2x TC to front mount on my Canon G9 point-and-shoot camera. That camera model has a sensor about 11x smaller than my current DX DSLR and therefore extensive use of a cropping tool in PS was not an approach that yielded good results. The G9 sensor and built-in lens had a cropping factor of 4.4, with limited cropping potential, so that the 200mm-like output of the lens when translated into 35mm film equivalent offered uninspiring performance. The conversion exercise had little merit in the practical sense. The front-mounted 2x TC has a much larger objective lens than the supplied optics on a G9 and thus there was no loss in speed after the magnification effect. That installation produced a camera that had the 35mm equivalent of a 400mm lens (sans cropping potential) and even that rig was inadequate to capture a definitive Phoebe shot. Moreover, the camera uses live-view focusing, which is slow, inaccurate and drains battery power. Bird photography seemed a hopeless pursuit at the time and a Phoebe picture of merit seemed just out of reach, even though I frequently spotted one in the field. Also, a Phoebe once spotted and sighted on the my G9 screen was so small in the view-finder (even with the 2xTC attached) that the AF didn’t have a clear subject to focus on, center-weighted or otherwise, and the resultant capture was almost always out-of-focus. Despite the blurred outcome I suspected that the Phoebe was laughing and thinking … ‘what a loser’.



 
Then came an 18-135mm kit lens with a DX sensor, mighty by comparison. My success rate went up but a satisfactory Phoebe capture still eluded me. The best that I could do fell short of my expectations. That now defines me to this day.
 

 By 2014 I acquired a 70-200mm L series lens without stabilization, much less expensive an acquisition than the IS version, or for the truly sublime, the mighty f2.8 flagship version that would have needed 5th generation stabilization to subdue my shaky excitement, a dyskenesis that would have governed my performance with such a masterpiece of technology. Even now, I get pilo-erection when thinking about it. Steady now, “pilo” refers to hair follicles, you filthy-minded hue-maan.
A Phoebe generally feeds from mid-story to close to the ground and it prefers sites near water, either a pond or a creek will do. My first sightings were in and around Highland Creek in Scarborough. Getting close enough for a detailed photo with a 200mm lens meant staking-out a site and waiting for a close approach with as little re-location as possible.
 



 
The plan with the most cognitive strategy invited a Phoebe to a small pond so that I could study from afar where it preferred to hunt and then to relocate myself to that special stage under a cloak of camouflage and then just wait for the spook to fade. The Phoebe would relocate to the other side of the pond, essentially a spot near where I just made my observations. I knew that, in time, it would return to its original location. As it turns out, my closest shot of a Phoebe is not my favourite. The capture of a Phoebe perched in the rain says it all to me … a portrait of a Phoebe on a rainy April morning. What’s not to like?


 


 Sometimes a Phoebe appears where water is not nearby, especially during the fall migration when it will visit a clearing next to a woodlot, like the local incarnation of that setting. A body of water within a km is still a better draw. The Beare wetland is not far away from the street-side woodlot and the Rouge is even closer.




 
 
« Last Edit: October 06, 2021, 02:52:01 pm by Shortsighted »




Shortsighted

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