Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

November 27, 2009

No Bait Black-throated Sparrow

Filed under: Birds, composition, Kearny Lake, light, technique — richditch @ 6:57 pm
Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

The Black-throated Sparrow is a bird of dry scrublands in the western U.S. whose colors make it at home in the browns and tans of desert expanses. They nest within a mile of our house, and we’ve had them visit our back yard a couple of times. But its taken me over 15 years to get a photo of one that I think does the species justice.

I made the 75 mile drive to Kearny, AZ, departing around 5:30 am to arrive close to sunrise. I didn’t have any specific subjects in mind; I just wanted to get out of the Black Friday madness to a remote place. It was January of this year when I’d had my first amazing contact with a bobcat at Kearny Lake park, so it seemed like a good time to visit again.

Alas, there were no bobcats to greet me, nor was there any rare birds on this isolated body of water (it has hosted a Red-necked Grebe and a White-winged Scoter in previous winters). But the large clan of Common Moorhens were still there, and the bushes around the lake had lots of sparrow, wren, and gnatcatcher activity.

A walk around the lake was good exercise, but the small birds were just too active and stayed too far away for any photos. I settled for some time with the moorhens and coots, then packed away the gear for the long drive home.

But wisely, I kept the D200, 300/2.8 and TC20E on the empty front passenger seat and grabbed my monopod from the floor behind my seat “just in case.” As I drove out I saw some activity beside the road and worked my Toyota into position beside this barrel cactus. The payoff of the trip was this sparrow that posed in good light on a nice perch with a clean background just beyond my car.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S lens with TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/1250th second @ f/8, -2/3rd stop compensation, monopod from car window, 79% of frame. No bait, no setup- just patience and luck.

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1 Comment »

  1. That is a beauty, Rich! Congratulations! I’ve never seen one in the wild and this has to be the best photo I’ve seen of a Black-throated. Thank you!

    Comment by Robin McEntire — November 29, 2009 @ 3:51 pm


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