Monday, October 10, 2011

Vermillion Flycatcher

More than any other, except maybe for the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, this is the bird I've been wanting to see again and photograph. Most of my photography has been spent capturing images of birds I had already seen before I got my camera. The camera made re-seeing old birds much more exciting and challenging, and also allowed for me to more generally share my experiences with others.
The last time I saw a Vermillion Flycatcher was in 2009 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona. I had seen one once before in Harlingen, Texas, and let me tell you every time you see this bird it's just jaw dropping. It's to vivid and sanguine for any birder to ever become jaded, and so seeing it with camera-in-hand was twice the excitement.
That all being said, it's an uncommon bird, and I wasn't fully prepared.

The Vermillion Flycatcher has about the same attention span as a warbler, and tends to alternate between super sunny and super shady perches, so while I'm fiddling with my ISO and f-stop and EV compensation and all other manner of improvised human attempts at capturing nature, the Vermillion Flycatcher has already eaten lunch and moved to the other side of the pond.

It was great to see a female around too. I've never been able to count on a constant Vermillion Flycatcher population, but maybe here nature will take its course and I can return for more...
The pond where these Flycatchers seemed to have set up shop was teeming with other avian activity, but I did get one more pass at the male, and while I can't say I am 100% satisfied with the pictures, I'm ecstatic about the experience!

I don't think the sparrow here has ever felt so dull. 

Even though these birds are very transient, they seem to prefer the liminal space between arid landscape/desert scrub and water, or at least this has held true every time I've seen the Vermillions. 

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