A Pleasant Feathered Surprise

If I was a pressure cooker I’d be whistling up a storm about now.  More like a “perfect” storm from trying to prepare for a practice run to help friend learn the course for our upcoming relay marathon, working on Project Auuunold, trying to resolve some difficult architecture issues at work and most stressful of all, being two posts short on the last week of the month.  I’ve come too far this year to blow my quota so I will officially give up sleep and try and get through it.  The good news is this post topic literally fell out of the sky into my lap.  Umm, that might be a slight exaggeration, it actually did not land in my lap, rather in a tree about 30 feet from where I was sitting on our porch.  As luck would have it, I was actually out there photographing some of the many hummingbirds that have made our porch feeders their regular stomping grounds.  The ones I was focusing on ended up getting startled by something and split for the woods.  Not a big issue since they find their way back after about 15 minutes of calm.  During this delay I was fiddling with the Beast settings when something darted by and took up perch in a clump of nearby leaves.  Hello there greenish bird I’ve never seen around here before!

A quick flip to my user setting for bird on stick and I was snapping away.  By the way, I need to commend our friends at Nikon for adding the U1 and U2 Manual modes to the D7000.  This has been a godsend for quickly moving between stationary bird settings to bird in flight mode.  A quick flip of the dial brings my ISO to 400 and shutter speed to a slower setting for the perch shots and when it decides to take off all I need to do is flip it again to get my ISO up to 800 and shutter speed doubles – from that base I can quickly adjust the exposure setting to capture the moment.

Since I had not shot this bird before I was concentrating on getting a variety of poses and views to help identify it – head shot, breast shot, wing shot, tail shot etc.  This turned out to be very helpful during the identification phase.  Based on a discussion with John at work and a hefty amount of research both in my reference manuals and Google, I narrowed it down to a Vireo and then specifically either the Warbling Vireo or the Red-Eyed Vireo.  Both of these breeds have compatible ranges so that checked out good.  Both have a greenish hue and display a white to blush yellow  breast.  Initial indicators made me lean to the Warbling type.  There were some reservations regarding the fact the Warbling has as smaller stature than what I witnessed and the beak looked smaller on them than on this specimen.  The National Geographic North American Bird guide threw me with their illustration of the Red-Eyed Vireo – their graphic indicated a much darker green to grey wing coloring which did not match this bird.

Hit the jump to read more about this new bird to the Blog

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