Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

September 11, 2010

Western Flycatcher

Filed under: backyard, Birds, light, technique — richditch @ 5:44 pm
Western Flycatcher

Western Flycatcher

This Western Flycatcher* was a welcome visitor to the yard today. We might see one every 2-3 years as fall migrants but they are very difficult to photograph in our yard.

We have a very large mesquite tree on the west side of the house – only a few feet from the windows. Color balance is a mess here from the light filtered through the leaves and bounced off our cream adobe walls and the similar color of the house on the other side of the tree. This is one of the few situations that I find the “auto” option of a levels adjustment layer in Photoshop to be helpful, and I used it in post processing to get me closer to proper color balance.

When I went out to try for some shots the bird didn’t come close, so I ended up shooting from inside. At least our two indoor-only cats (Bert and Ernie) stayed in another part of the house and missed the wide open window. With a limited shooting position I couldn’t avoid the branch across the breast.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/160th second at f/5.6, 76% of full frame.

* Western Flycatcher is an older name for one of the empids that has been split into two species: Cordilleran Flycatcher and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. The completely yellow-orange lower mandible and the teardrop shaped eye-ring are good field marks to separate this bird from the other very similar empids, but the final ID requires seeing the bird in its distinct breeding range and/or hearing its song.

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